AT a time when most of his contemporaries were resting in bed, one of the pioneers of the running community celebrated his upcoming 70th birthday by completing his 100th marathon in the recent Cardimax Clark Ultramarathon.
"Masaya! Nakuha ko rin 'yung centennial, pang 100th marathon ko na ito. Ito yung goal ko," Victor Ting told SPIN.ph after he finished his 50km portion in the 100km relay and was just waiting for his 60-year old teammate.
The septuagenarian is 34 years removed from his first marathon, a Johnson & Johnson's mary. He has since got 65 full marathons and 35 ultramarathons under his belt.
"Noong araw madalang ang marathon. Once a year. Minsan dalawa, tatlo. Hindi gaya ngayon, isang buwan ang daming marathons."
The spry retiree from Caloocan is popularly known as 'Master Vic' among his fellow runners and is a popular fixture in the long distance circuit because of his friendly and ebullient nature, drawing a lot of fans who have their selfies taken with him and talks about his running experiences.
"Inipon ko iyan since 1981 until now. Napadami ako (ng races) last ten years ago," he said.
To reach the magic number before he celebrated his 70th birthday on September 16, Ting admitted he joined at least 30 races starting last year - an accomplishment he quickly attributes to a higher power.
"Nagpapasalamat ako sa Itaas. Kung hindi dahil sa kanya palagay ko bitin ako... tiniis ko na lang para makatapos ako," he said, recalling the difficulty posed by the challenging terrain of the sprawling former US Air Force base.
He was forced to walk uphill stretches before picking up the pace on level ground.
Ting said his primary purpose in running is to maintain his health and not to compete.
"Ang mga takbo ko enjoy-enjoy lang. Sightseeing kita mo yung view, kung saan-saan ako nakakarating. Last week nasa Bohol ako at Caliraya."
The peppy senior said he plans to run as long as he can but admits that he will be taking it easier now that his goal of finishing 100 races has been realized.
"Once a month na lang na 42K."
When SPIN.ph asked Ting what his secret in longevity is, he said he didn't have any.
"Wala naman akong sikreto. Kumakain ako kung ano ang meron. Minsan nga - huwag niyong gagayahin ako ha? - minsan before the race umiinom pa ako. Red Horse! Pero ng huling race nadala na ako."