Learn from the Master: An Interview with The Oldest Active Ultramarathoner

Victor Ting

“Wala kayo sa lolo ko!”

Does this expression ring a bell with you?

At the age of 69, Victor Ting, is considered the oldest active ultramarathoner in the Philippines.

Oops, you must be used with the word marathon which is 42kilometers. And I bet you already have an idea on how hard it is to finish one, right?

But just to give you an idea on what ultramarathon is, it is a footrace that extends beyond 42kilometers. Ultra races typically begin at 50 kilometers to 200 kilometers. That means being on your feet, for up to 24 hours or more.

Crazy?? I would say, it’s up for you to imagine. 😉

Master Vic, as he is called by his co-runners, is a man who knows no boundaries. He started running at age 35 and has since ran 92 marathons and ultramarathons combined.

To date, he is still active in running and plans to take on more challenges down the road.

No wonder he has reached this golden age still fit and healthy.

This great legend must have a lot of wisdom to share, not just for the runners in general, but also for those who plan to include running as part of their lifestyle.

Let’s all learn from the master himself, the oldest active ultramarathoner in the Philippines, Victor Ting.


Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

My name is Victor, I will be turning 70 years old this September 16, 2015. My peers in the running circle fondly calls me “Master Vic”.
I am a retired businessman and photographer. My passion includes running, music, classic movies.

Can you share with us your journey as a runner? What urged you to run? How long have you been running?

I have been running for 35 years now. I started running in the year 1980 at the age of 35.
My father passed away at a very early age due to high blood, thus I vowed to have a healthy lifestyle through running and exercise.
I started with jogging only, joining fun runs (5, 10, and 20 km) and started doing marathons 2 years after (1982) with Johnson and Johnson’s 42k marathon as my very first. I finished it at 3 hr 26 mins. In 1983, I joined 2 other marathons finishing sub 3hrs. And it continued every year until year 1992 when I started to get into mountain hiking and this became my interest until year 2000. I frequented to climb Mr. Banahaw. In year 2001, I resumed running.

Have you encountered any struggles and difficulties when you were starting out? How did you overcome them?

When I was starting out, I was giving it all from the very start of the race, running fast, then I realized that this is not the right way because then you will easily feel tired and might not finish the race. I learned that one should take it easy and relax, to not think about the distance or difficulty, but just concentrate instead on sightseeing and enjoying the view and the race.

How was your first marathon (of half marathon) experience?

I had cramps in my thighs during my first Marathon (Johnson and Johnson 1982 42km) though luckily I was able still to finish it with the grace of God.

What was your most memorable experience as regards running?

Bataan Death March BDM 160km Year 2012 – at 67 years old– because it is a very long race under very hot weather conditions.
North Face 50 km Year 2013 –Trail Track – at 68 years old – because this is under trail conditions, not so long but the roads are very unpredictable and uneven, it is quite a challenge.

What does your training look like? Do you have any special preparations especially when running marathons? 

To prepare for a race, I do Protein-loading 1 week before, for 3 days, followed by Carboloading for 3 days. I run everyday, doing 10-20km each day. But I rest 2 days before the race (no run, just stretching and exercises).

What was the longest run you’ve conquered so far?

My longest run is the ultramarathon during 2011 (Bataan Death March BDM 160km), I did not finish this race because of the intense heat. But I came back the following year (2012) and finished the same, Bataan Death March BDM 160km for 29 hours at 67 years old.

What advice can you give those who want to start to run and to all the runners in general?

My advice to all those runners starting out and generally:
a. Have discipline
b. Healthy lifestyle – avoid vices such as smoking and drinking and other bad habits
c. Sleep 8 hours a day, and sleep early
d. Run every day / every other day
e. It’s never too late to start. You can start now.
f. Don’t forget to drink water
g. Nearing the race day, do preparations such as protein and carboloading, rest before the race
h. On the actual day of the race, it a mind game. Don’t think negatively, that its far, always think that you can do it
i. Find a running partner or running mate to enjoy your pace/ game
j. If you feel cramps, don’t push yourself, pause for a while, take it easy, just walk first. And run again, If you feel cold sweat or dizziness, better to not finish the race, because then you will be prone to stroke. Remember that there will always be other races in the future.
k. Don’t cheat – because this will shadow your achievements. Better to declare DNF (Did Not Finish) because there will be other races in the future.
l. If you win, don’t boast, be humble.
m. Challenge yourself, the competition is with yourself, no with other runners.

Any key takeaways?

My goal is before I reach 70 years old this Sept 2015, that I can reach my 100th marathon / ultramarathon (42km and up). I had ran 92 marathons/ultramarathon so far, so I have 8 more to go. With God’s grace hopefully I can conquer this! LETS ALL KEEP ON RUNNING!!!

You read it right.

At his age, Master Vic is showing no signs of slowing down. He plans to complete 100 marathons before he reach the magical age of 70 on September 16, 2015.

Now, how cool is that? If his story doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.

Have you always wanted to embark on a journey to making yourself fit and healthy?

It is never too late for you to start!

It always seems impossible until it's done. - Nelson Mandela Click To Tweet

See you at the finish line,

March Nacino
Founder, TheRadicalRunner.com
P.S. Watch this short video of Sports Pilipinas featuring the ultramarathon master, Victor Ting


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March Nacino

March Nacino is known as “The Radical Runner” in the running community. He basically loves to join marathons. When he’s not training for his next big race, he works as a freelance Digital Marketing Specialist helping his clients with their Digital Marketing needs. Follow March at theradicalrunner.com.
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