I have called myself a runner since I first ran my first 3k in April 2010. Since then, I have run distances longer than 3k. In fact, I ran my first half marathon (21k) barely 4 months since I started running. Since my half marathon debut, whenever I join a race, I would always sign up for a half marathon or longer distances.
More than 5 years since I took up running (with some hiatus in between), I have encountered and befriended runners, males and females, in all skills and levels. However, what I am most impressed with are those seasoned runners, the super veteran runners, those runners aged more than 50 years old or those who are old enough to be my dad or grandpa, who run faster and stronger than me. Every time I get sped by a super veteran runner in a race, I would always feel challenged and secretly wish that I would grow old to be a strong runner as they are when I get to be in their age.
In many races, those who took a podium finish are usually younger runners, either in their 20s or 30s. I have yet to see a super veteran runner take the podium and acknowledged in a race when in fact some of these super veteran runners run stronger and faster than the younger ones, even the well trained ones.
One particular runner that I really look up to and admire for his discipline and dedication to running is Mr. Sandy Oxales. He is my “Dad” in the running community, and he runs 10k every day. Impressively, he could finish a 10k race in sub-50 minutes, something that I’m still dreaming of achieving. Younger runners eat his dust when he runs a half marathon in an amazing sub-2:30! How cool is that for a 66-year-old!
In the Milo Marathon Finals, the most prestigious and most awaited marathon in the country, where probably only the elite runners, the ones who met the time requirement to qualify to run in this race, I see a number of these super veteran runners joining the race. These super veteran runners are fast and strong enough to qualify for the Milo Marathon Finals where some younger runners even fail to beat the qualifying time of 2:30 cut off for the 21k category. During the Milo Marathon Finals or any other major running events, these super veteran runners, unfortunately, do not make a podium finish as naturally the younger and the stronger ones those who are usually more than half their age steal the podium from them with youth being an advantage in this kind of race.
Hopefully, in the coming races we would see that these super veteran runners be given their spot in the podium. I believe the organizers should also acknowledge winners, podium finishers, from the 50s and up category. I believe that acknowledging these super veteran runners would not only challenge the young to become better and stronger runners, but also inspire the running community and prove that running is not only for the young but for everyone.