LORNA Orno-Vejano is proof that it’s never too late, and one's never too old, to take up running.
At 56 years old, Orno-Vejano remains an active participant, not just in casual fun runs but also in competitive races. In fact, she even competed in the National Open Athletics Championship at the Philsports Complex earlier this month.
And she didn’t just compete just for the sake of competing. Orno-Vejano topped the 100-meter run in the women’s masters category, beating competitors a few years younger than her.
Interestingly, Orno-Vejano never had any athletic background. She fell in love with running by accident after she was lured into joining several fun runs that were held at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, which is near where she lives.
“Nag-start kasi ako 50 na,” Orno-Vejano told SPIN.ph. “Nagtapos na ang aking mga anak. Nagtatrabaho na sila. Sumali ako sa fun run.”
Orno-Vejano said she joined fun runs primarily because of the freebies for finishers, regardless of placing. But as she began to join fun runs, Orno-Vejano, an entrepreneur who owns an auto supply store, became hooked and eventually excelled in it.
“Malapit po kasi ako sa BGC, laging may patakbo. Nakita ko na may mga freebies. Natutuwa ako na may mga freebies. Sumali ako ng sumali,” said Orno-Vejano.
“Nagkaka-medal naman. Ang target ko noon 100 medals,” said Orno-Vejano.
Even after reaching her 100-medal target, she kept running and began to live her dream of traveling to different places in the Philippines through the many races she joined.
“Narating ko ‘yung mga pangarap kong mapuntahan,” said Orno-Vejano.
Her progress didn’t go unnoticed as she got selected for the Philippine team in the Asian Masters Championship in 2012, where she immediately made her mark as a late replacement for legendary trackster Elma Muros-Posadas and won the bronze in the 4x100-m relay.
“Siguro po tsamba sa edad ko,” said Orno-Vejano. “Pero pinagsikapan ko ‘yun.”
Orno-Vejano has indeed gone places, and this year, she is set to fly the Philippine flag once again in two international competitions: the Asian Masters Championship in May and the World Masters Championship in Australia to be held in the last quarter of 2016.
“Marathon ang event ko sa world masters. Sa Asian, kung ano ‘yung pinakamahabang event, ‘yun ang sasalihan ko,” Orno-Vejano said.
Aside from leading an active lifestyle and making the country proud in her field, Orno-Vejano has more importantly inspired others to take up running. That included one of his two sons who is now into triathlon.
“Ineencourage ko sila. It’s never too late. ‘Yun ang lagi kong sinasabi,” she said.