Interviews

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running Is Empowering Women

by On Jun 24, 2020

"I want to be the best. It's not about the ranking, it's about being consistent." - Saina Nehwal

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment

Having a hard time getting back on track? Don’t worry, we are introducing our three skilled women marathoners from the Philippines who are constantly motivating others to be the better version of themselves.

So let's hear their valuable tips and tricks on how to conquer your marathon race.

BONUS: Read other inspiring stories of women marathoners from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

1. Mary Joy Reyes Tabal

Bio: Filipino, 30-years-old, National Athlete

Mary is the first Filipino to qualify for the marathon in the Olympics and the first Filipino marathon Olympian. She is the current national record holder in both half and full marathon.

She also hold the winning titles in the Milo marathon and Milo marathon Queen record holder in the Philippines.

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment
Marathoner: Mary Joy Reyes Tabal

RS: What got you started running marathon in your life?

Mary: I started at the age of 12, during grade school, when I joined the school's intramural in a 100m dash. After winning 100m, our school PE teacher sent me to different inter-school competitions, where I kept winning till I realised that I do run fast. But in that one year, I was able to represent our school, then represented the city and then the entire region in a national competition.

But then, during high school, I sacrificed my running to focus on my studies because our family is poor, and I wanted to finish my studies with flying colours, so I could get a scholarship for college, which I achieved as I finished a class Salutatorian, both elementary and secondary. During college, I was offered two scholarships, an academic and varsity scholarship.

During this time, I used sports or running to finish college. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce Major in Management Accounting and a Master’s in Public Administration as an athletic scholar. It is also through running that I was able to send my younger sibling to college and let her finish a degree, which is one of my biggest trophies.

I then devoted all my time to work and achieve my dreams at the same time. One of my dreams is to be the top marathoner in the country, to compete in many international races representing our country and to be an Olympian, which I all achieved.

RS: How do you train yourself to focus physically and mentally?

Mary: In my profession, being a female athlete is hard, and as women, we have different challenges. But still, in my profession, I see this as a positive challenge, that's the perks of being a woman, and we have to face this positively.

Thinking about this, I always go back to my goals and my dreams to keep me motivated and fuel my everyday living. Running is something I do, something I love with every fibre of my being. 

RS: How do you overcome those challenges throughout your running journey?

Mary: : I always put all the challenges I encounter as a positive challenge, which helps me to grow. All the struggles, disappointments, adversities, failures and mistakes have sharpened my personality as a person and an athlete.

All the struggles I faced in running, the disappointments I experienced from the high expectations I set for myself, the injuries that forced me to learn patience, all of these go way deeper than the road and are pieces in the puzzle of my life.

I have seen so much growth in myself over the years, and I get excited to learn more about who I am because, with every setback, a new strength has surfaced.

RS: For a female marathoner, what is the most important factor to complete a marathon?

Mary: As a female marathoner, it is important to have endurance for running and all physical aspects, but over and above all, it's all about motivation and perseverance, your passion for the sport.

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment
Marathoner: Mary Joy Reyes Tabal

With the right dedication, perseverance, patience and courage, you will finish and reach your own finish line.

RS: As a female runner, how do you empower more women to join their first marathon?

Mary: To all female runners, it's all about you, your goal for doing your first marathon. It's not just conquering the 42.195km distance; it's more about conquering fear, limitations, unlocking your strength and endurance from within. It's more about believing in yourself, what you can do and what you can achieve.

After doing your first full marathon, you will love to keep going on to sports. You will love yourself more and will be challenged to do better next or do something more amazing.

RS: What advice would you give to new female marathoners on their first race?

Mary: Do not expect so much from doing the first marathon,. It’s better to enjoy your first because whatever the results will be, it will be your PR, your best run on a full, and it is important to enjoy it because maybe during your second or next marathon, you will no longer enjoy it for you will set new goals, and one them will be to break your PR, then you'll keep improving physically and mentally.

RS: What does running a marathon mean to you?

Mary: I once dreamt of becoming one of the best athletes in our country, and it is through running that opened the door for me. Running has given me both the highest highs and lowest lows, and I am thankful for everything it has taught me. From resilience to training my mind to never give up and proving to myself that I am capable of anything, as I am dedicated, committed and patient.

Running has brought friendships worldwide together, and I’ve met so many people along the road, along the way. I have been through what felt like hell too many times to count, but it is those times that have helped me to become better and prepare me for more of life's curveballs.

Running is not just in sport. As you master running, you'll understand that life is just the same as running. You will have your own starting line, and as you go along, it's that flat course all the way; there will be bumpy roads, hills, downs, detours and sometimes, you'll get lost, but with the right dedication, perseverance, patience and courage, you will finish and reach your own finish line.

It's conquering your own limitations while enIt's conquering your own limitations while enjoying the view from within.

You can follow Mary on Instagram: @maryjoytabalofficial

2. Rosalie Lloreco Serrano

Bio: Filipino, 40-years-old, Retail Supervisor

An Overseas Filipino Worker, working in a sports retail company as a supervisor, standing 8 hours a day is not easy for Rosalie. In spite of standing the whole day, she does love her job. Running is her outlet to face her everyday life.

She started her first marathon in 2015. She was curious about how to run a marathon, so she joined without any knowledge and less training. Besides running marathon, she slowly became an ultra-marathoner fan. She did her first ever 100km in 2018. She said it was difficult, but it was fun after the race.

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment
Marathoner: Rosalie Lloreco Serrano

RS: What got you started running marathons in your life?

Rosalie: Actually, it was not my intention to be a marathoner; at first, I just wanted to reduce my homesickness, as I was far away from my family. As overseas Filipino worker in a foreign land is hard without a family, and my job is also stressful too.

Being a retail supervisor, every day we face different customers with different attitudes. Sometimes, we encounter tough customers. So, when I started to run, slowly I became addicted. Generally, I feel lighter, so I can continue running, and it became my daily routine.

After a long day at work, I would run a few distance more, and after that short run, I am ready to face anything with a smile on my next day. First, I run 10km; then my first marathon started in 2015.

RS: How do you train yourself to focus physically and mentally?

Rosalie: I train myself to focus physically and mentally by having proper training before the race. For physical, you need to run longer distances during training, workouts for core and muscles and eat proper food.

Mentally, you need to be positive when you feel upset and want to give up. Working in retail is tiring, but if I make an excuse that I can't train and my brain says stop and just sleep and also train your body to run under the sun thinks that is your race day. We need all of this because it’s the key to finish or being successful in marathons.

RS: How do you overcome those challenges throughout your running journey?

Rosalie: Through a positive attitude and training hard because, without a positive attitude and training, you won't be able to finish any marathon. And, it's okay to fail your first attempt at timing because you will learn. 

RS: For a female marathoner, what is the most important factor to complete a marathon?

Rosalie: The most important factor to complete a marathon for a female is having patience and time while doing the training and physical activity to prepare your body before the race and discipline too. 

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment
Marathoner: Rosalie Lloreco Serrano

I am a confident person in everyday life because running gives me that confidence. 

RS: As a female runner, how do you empower more women to join their first marathon?

Rosalie: To empower more women to join their first marathon, show your passion in your first marathon and be confident to start. It's not too late to start and face or conquer your fears to do marathon, and there is no age limit to do a marathon because finishing your first marathon is awesome. After that race, you will say I'm strong, and you’ll be brave enough to face the next marathon.

RS: What advice would you give to new female marathoners on their first race?

Rosalie: For the newcomer, first do training before the race and just enjoy your first marathon race. Don't think about your timing because you will feel nervous and uneasy during the race. It's okay to fail when you can learn from it, and when you start your race, and you feel that it’s difficult, don't stop, just continue because starting is not easy. 

RS: Being a female marathoner, what does running a marathon mean to you?

Rosalie: Running a marathon keeps me sane and challenged because it is a timely way to connect with my surroundings, to think and clear my mind when I’m stressed and tired. Also, I am a confident person in everyday life because running gives me that confidence.

You can follow Rosalie on Instagram: @_rozzzee_

3. Maureen Louise "Mauichang" Lopez

Bio: Filipino, 26-years-old, Personal Banker

"There is nothing more powerful than a woman determined to rise." Never be ashamed of being a breadwinner of the family. Prefer to struggle and work hard for everything rather having someone tell you, "You wouldn't have that if it wasn't for me."

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment
Marathoner: Maureen Louise "Mauichang" Lopez

RS: What got you started running marathons in your life?

Maureen: Four years ago, my weight was 65kilos (144lbs). I was often embarrassed when my chubby tummy would show through my clothes. My confidence level was at its lowest. I was naturally an athlete growing up. I've been a varsity of Badminton from grade school until college. I realised I could turn things around, and I decided to enrol myself in a fitness gym and adopted a 360° lifestyle change.naturally an athlete growing up.

One day, I came across an ad for a 5K run, signed up, and that's where it all began. I started with just a short distance run, which was 5K, which then turned to 10K, 18K to 25K, and then levelled up to a much higher distance of 50K.

Then, I started to step back and run my first Full Marathon about 42.195K. I tried it because I hadn't experienced it yet, and I know that running a full marathon gives you a different pressure, and I love that kind of challenge.

RS: How do you train yourself to focus physically and mentally?

Maureen: It definitely isn't easy, especially with my tight schedule at work and family. But I always keep in mind my main purpose of joining the race and how costly it is. But to be more specific, mileage is very important in joining any race, no matter how long the duration or how short the distance your training is.

The important thing is to move and burn those calories up. You still need to train as it will help you to be ready to improve your physical and mental health. You are far better off than someone who just sits on the couch all day.

RS: How do you overcome those challenges throughout your running journey?

Maureen: Challenges are inevitable in running, same as in life. You will always appreciate these challenges as it will make you a better person because it will teach you lessons on how to conquer difficult situations.

Whenever I am struggling, I always keep in mind the purpose of why I am doing it and to have faith in God, as I know He will always guide me everywhere I go and everything I do.

RS: For a female marathoner, what is the most important factor to complete a marathon?

Maureen: The most important training tool needed for a marathon is pure dedication. If you have that, you’ll be just fine.

Philippines Women Marathoners: Running is a fulfilment
Marathoner: Maureen Louise "Mauichang" Lopez

Running will lead you on a journey to uncover the deepest parts of you and the world.

RS: As a female runner, how do you empower more women to join their first marathon?

Maureen:I will empower women by sharing and inspiring them on things that women can do, such as opening opportunities on how they could gain strength and confidence, and running is another way of showing how tough women can be.

RS: What advice would you give to new female marathoners on their first race?

Maureen: Don't ever lose that motivation and dedication. Don’t worry about how fast or slow you are, just keep your pace. The idea is to finish the race and just get off that couch.

It may be hard during training and the race, but it will surely give you a lot of joy and fulfilment the moment you reach the finish line. It’s also great to take time for yourself and celebrate training with your girlfriends.

RS: Being a female marathoner, what does running a marathon means to you?

Maureen: Running is a challenge and an addiction for me because I am obsessed with being so in-tune with my body that I can compete, giving everything I can and be amazed at what my body can do. It stretches my patience and my mental toughness to my fullest extent.

It is challenging, and I am always hungry for personal development. The emotion and the adrenaline that keeps me going is incomparable to anything else.

Not many things make me emotional like running does, especially with my last race (Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019). The fact that it immediately moved me to tears the moment I reached the finish line.

Running will lead you on a journey to uncover the deepest parts of you and the world; the parts you never knew existed.

You can follow Maureen on Instagram: @mauichang

Are you ready to compete in the upcoming marathon with our ladies? If you are, end your finish line strong by completing the Floral Women Online Race Series 2020 to inspire more women to be fearless in every way.

Do you know that you can run an online marathon anywhere, anytime around the world to 12 amazing cities too? Learn now about the first World Cities Online Challenges at Spacebib now.

In these stressful and uncertain times, getting updated with accurate and useful information has never been so critical. No matter how unsettled the future feels, RunSociety will remain with you, delivering high quality news for free so we can all make critical decisions about our lives and health. Together we can overcome.

What we can do to help the situation is to keep our body and immune system in peak condition. If you are allowed or able to run outdoors, please do so cautiously but not panicky. Join our free online race to motivate you and pay tribute to our frontline heroes.

Samantha is an editor at RunSociety. A digital expert with a focus on the research and development of thought provoking and resourceful content, Samantha love Yoga and incorporate running in her weekly workout whenever she can.

Location
Singapore
No. of Posts
97
Join the Discussion