Hallasgo facing tall odds to qualify
Christine Hallasgo, the country’s marathon queen, is staring at a 23-minute difference between her personal best time and the Tokyo Olympics.
But the 27-year-old Southeast Asian Games and Milo Marathon champion appears undaunted by it.
Right now, she is back in her old stomping grounds in Malaybalay, Bukidnon province, after spending months in quarantine at PhilSports Arena as transportation were halted.
She feels that training in the countryside—with her family close by—is ideal for her because she doesn’t have as much restrictions compared to when she’s in the city.
“I plan to do it little by little,” Hallasgo said. “I’m used to hardships and this is something I can do.”
Her best time is two hours, 52 minutes and 23 seconds, established in January upon winning the Milo Marathon. The Tokyo Olympic cutoff has been pegged at 2:29.30.
Hallasgo captured the SEA Games gold by running 2:56.56 last December.
“It’s far, but it’s not impossible,” Philip Ella Juico, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president, said. “In marathon, there are days when you feel you can do it depending on your [body] conditions, the conditions of the weather and the track.”
After all, Hallasgo came out of nowhere and made the national team just five months before upstaging defending champion Mary Joy Tabal in the SEA Games.
“Her advantage is her speed,” Olympian and coach Eduardo Buenavista said.
Juico said they are looking at possible training camps abroad for Hallasgo, but the restrictions due to the coronavirus limited their choices.
“We are talking to Japan but it has recently became stricter,” Juico said. “That’s also the case In Europe. Unlike EJ [Obiena] who has been there [in Italy] for years, we’re not sure if they will allow us to send athletes to train.”
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