Do you remember the critically-acclaimed Hollywood film, Forrest Gump? This 1994 movie follows the journey of an intellectually-challenged man who makes a name for himself after running 15,000 miles across America. It earned numerous recognitions from different parts of the world, including six Academy Awards.
Now, a 70-year-old man in the Philippines has seemingly appeared to be the country’s version of Forrest Gump. Adolfo Camello may be different in some ways from the movie character, but his undeniable strength and skills in running have inspired people around him to keep going— much like Tom Hanks’s character, Forrest Gump!
My Pope Philippines sits down with Adolfo to know more about his life and what motivates him to keep his body fit and healthy. (Read: How I Lost 50 Pounds Before I Turned 40)
When did you start running?
I started running in 2006, after I got laid off from the small sewage factory I was working for. A friend of mine who was a former boxer initiated a running group called North Road Runners Club. I joined the group out of respect.
We were only five in the group back then, and we ran for a 10K — my first long run ever. The experience turned out to be fun for me, and I started to want to run more. And so I ran with them from 15k then moved to 20k until we made it into 100k.
Now, I feel happy every time I look at my medals and other awards at home. At least I got my own record in running, even until now that I’m already old.
What was your life like before you became a runner?
I used to work as a conductor in a Transit Bus company in Bacolod in the 1970s. But because of industrial competition, a lot of us got fired from the company. (Read: Alberto Orillo, 102yo WW2 Veteran, Reveals His Secret to Long Life)
While I and my workmates were out looking for a new job, we met a man in a uniform and asked him if he knew of any job openings at his work. He answered our questions and the next few days, we were under military training. I became a military for four years and event went to war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Marawi.
At age 70, why do you still like to run?
Looking back when I was young, I couldn’t imagine how abusive I was in alcohol. If not every other day, at least my friends and I had a drinking session every weekend. When I joined North Road Runners Club, I felt something different in my breathing. It was clear and straight that I need to live healthier. (Read: We Asked a Fitness Coach: What’s the Best Way to Stay Fit at Home?)
Now, I run because I want to advocate that living a healthy lifestyle is a gift for yourself and a gift to your family. I also want to encourage old people like me to beat life’s challenges and find a reason to live more.
What is your next goal when it comes to running?
Right now, my friends and I are on our individual practices. We plan to run the 560-kilometer route that covers almost the entire province of Cebu in seven days. Soon, in the month of May when my retirement benefit is released, I hope to finally make this record. This is the biggest dream I have so far.
To whom shall you offer this run?
I’ll do it for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. I’d like them to see my awards at home and I wish they would see how much I love them. (Read: Hidilyn Diaz Inspires Children to Dream High With New Book About Her Life)