Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Percy Ostonal: The Michigan fun-runner

“26.2 Miles/Michigan.”

You're not looking at the mile clock of a car.

That's what a fellow Mambolaoan covered when he ran at the full-marathon run in Michigan, USA, covering 42km.

The mere fact that Percy Ostonal was 60 when he plunged into the grueling dash on October 18, 2009 across Flat Rock and neighboring cities in Michigan, his feat was something Pinoy senior citizens back home and elsewhere would explode red with envy.

For all you know sweating to the bone has become a rare commodity they have yet to grab.

"Padre ... I covered the distance in just 6 hours, 56 seconds ... but no sweat..." Percy, now retired, bragged in his recent FB buzz to me.

It was the culmination of his previous small runs in Michigan, which covered 3, 5, 6, 20 and half-marathon races (13.1) miles.
Fun-runner Percy Ostonal, 60, conqueror of the Michigan Full -Marathon (2009)

Well, what do you expect? The young man has been running since 1971 after jettisoning himself from UE, where ran into each other on occasion at the Quadrangle, the hang-outs of radical insects and pests and lovers.

But his eking out of the mighty dollar in the States promoting a product to American consumers was something that benefited much from his morning runs.

Sprinting as his early morning coffee, Percy had worked the last 26 years for Home Depot & Lowe's (World's largest home improvement sales center) where he was the sales and designs associate for kitchen cabinets, countertops and bath innovations project manager.

Married to the former Tess Avena who is currently working as RN in a Michigan hospital, the couple has only one child, Larah Faye O Barcelon, now 35 years, also a nurse with one child -- four-year old Jonah.

Funny thing is that 40 years ago, when he was a young sales rep of a food processing company assigned in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and Marinduque to chase clients for their bulk orders and later, payments, running for sweet sweat was not in the equation.

The motto "never say never to night life and good times" had kept him and his sales rep-buddies up all night, as they marinated their lungs and guts in booze. But it was no big deal; drinking was part of their sales-making.

It was a shame, however, as they had realized during one night of beering gig that their company's area sales manager in Laguna whom they fondly called Tatang Greg, then 50, was a great runner. He normally dashed from his hotel in Calamba to Pansol, in Los Banos, Laguna to do some office matters.

The big news was that he was no drinker. And the bigger news to emerged break was that Tatang Greg had sales-talked them into running with him.

Before the drinking buddies would realize it, the voice of the old man had become a recorded nuisance inside their heads, saying: "Give it a try, the joy of running speaks honestly on how much you can be in life emotionally, psychologically and most of all physically."

Now at 62 and officially retired as of June 2011, Percy is still running; he still got the same zeal and octane that has powered him for 40 years as he ran along jugging routes in his community in Flat Rock.

Know what? I have seen a number of my contemporary Mambulaoans in Facebook pictures; would you believe that they were no match to how Percy looks, who is a Batch '66 fellow.

My better guess is that more and more of them are now making regular trips to the heart docs, wondering how their BP could go south, and be like Percy who for sure, has no problem with his heart.

Don't you think our Senior Citizen kababayans should consider taking the road for a morning brief jog so that those pores that have been clogged up by minuscule of dusts would be dislodge by sweat that would come off their system?

"I think they should ... Mambulaoans - and all 60s and beyond for that matter - should consider," Percy said, and urged me to do the same.
He knew that early this year I turned 63 and had not done any sweat-squeezing  weights or sprinting since I came back from Parang, JP for a holiday.

And his message to Mambulaoans?

"Perhaps, this (his story) would be a good way of creating awareness sa mga tulad nating "seniors" na nothing is impossible if anybody's will and spirit ay intact pa rin ..."

 "Why wait for the time when your family doc tells you of a scary life-threatening disease/sickness that could have been avoided and prevented by simply indulging into physical wellness and fitness program?

"Unless restrictions apply, medical experts and professionals have one common and basic recommendation - do exercise."

True to his words, Percy runs 5 miles three times a week, his secret means of chipping away from his system the wrinkling effects of pushing 62.

There you are ... and Percy, be sure to show off that form at the 2012 JPCHS alumni homecoming.

You know... seeing is believing.

- By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ, MWB administrator

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