Podcast #9: Running Pastor Ferdie Cabiling

It’s been a long time between podcasts! I’ve given up on trying to host a solo show because as a podcast listener I get very bored with only one person talking.

Interviews, however, always have me interested because they just feel more natural and are easier to listen to. So whenever I have the chance to interview someone interesting and doing great things in the world of endurance sport, I pounce on that chance.

This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Pastor Ferdie Cabiling, also known as the Running Pastor in local ultrarunning circles. He is turning 50 years old and will soon be making his dream come to reality when he runs across the Philippines from south to north. Dubbed “Run50”, his target is to run 50 kilometers every day (except Sundays) for 50 days starting September 5 for a grand total of 2,180 kilometers.

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With a fundraising goal of P1,000 per kilometer, he is running for the benefit of Real Life Foundation, a Christian non-profit organization that helps give marginalized Filipino youth access to education and transform their communities through community service. You can read more about Real Life Foundation here: igivetolife.org

The Running Pastor

Pastor Ferdie (in red) and his pacer during the 2013 Bataan Death March Ultramarathon 160

I’ve never covered ultramarathon and ultra-distance adventure racing at great length in this blog, but that’s just because I feel out of my depth when talking about the people who undertake these feats. They are a different breed; they wholeheartedly seek out the distances that would have someone like me running away.

In this podcast we discuss how Pastor Ferdie got started running, why he started doing ultramarathons, and ultimately why he runs.

Show Notes:

  • How did Ferdie Cabiling get started running?
  • What was his first marathon?
  • Who got him into doing ultramarathons?
  • What ultramarathons and multi-day races has he done?
  • How did his pacers keep him on track during those races?
  • When did he begin to dream about running across the Philippines?
  • What drives him to run even if he doesn’t have to run?
  • What else will he do aside from run during Run50?
  • How can we turn our love for endurance sports into something that helps a good cause?

He did his first Bataan Death March Ultramarathon 102 fundraising for Real Life Foundation scholars with four other ultramarathoners. He says, “You get motivated seeing the kids cheering, parang nahiya ka umangal, ‘di matapos. Ang laki pala ng impact noon.

Aside from raising funds for the Real Life Foundation, Pastor Ferdie finds motivation to run when he thinks of his son. “My son can’t even walk straight because he was born with Sturge-Weber [syndrome] and it affected his brain. It affected his motor skills… I realized that’s another reason I run. I run for my son. He’s my inspiration.”

Only a handful of Filipinos have accomplished the feat of running across the Philippines, and Pastor Ferdie has already met with a few of them to pick their brains and help refine his strategy. He has also gathered around him a team of dedicated individuals, many of whom have already accompanied him in previous races.

Run50 will start in Maasim, Sarangani on the tip of Mindanao and will proceed mostly along Maharlika (Pan-Philippine) Highway. It will end in Aparri on the northernmost tip of the Philippines.

Pastor Ferdie aims to run at least 50 kilometers every day except for Sundays. As director of Victory Metro Manila and a pastor, on Sundays he will preach at Victory churches and other evangelical churches along the highway to develop camaraderie among evangelical pastors. He says, “I noticed that when I tell them I’m a running pastor, it’s a vicarious experience for them that a pastor is running.” He will also conduct courtesy calls at provincial, town, and city capitols to meet with local government leaders and pray for them. “It’s another way of literally praying for the country.”

The Running Pastor

The Running Pastor with the Running Priest and Mayor Alfred Romualdez in Tacloban during Typhoon Yolanda relief efforts

You can follow Pastor Ferdie’s running adventures on twitter.com/runningpastor where he and his team will chronicle each stage of his run across the Philippines. For more information about Run50, please visit Ferdie Cabiling’s website. Click here to donate to Real Life Foundation.

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About Noelle De Guzman

Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer and recreational athlete with over 12 years of experience in wellness and endurance sport. She believes sport and an active healthy lifestyle changes lives.

6 thoughts on “Podcast #9: Running Pastor Ferdie Cabiling

  1. Hats down to this runner and pastor. One of the few tough runners who runs for a cause. Never saw him personally even though he went through our place but saw some fellow runners here in our town ran with him through Facebook.

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