Castro, father of PH running; 71
Jose V. Castro Jr., former commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission and the acknowledged “father of running” in the country, died on Thursday in San Jose, California, after a three-year battle with lung cancer. He was 71.
He is survived by his wife Evita; children Rommel, Marcus and Rowena, Jose Mari and Marlene, Guylaine and Jeremy Carpenter, and Monique and Martin Schulter; and grandchildren Isabel, Samantha, Joshua, Ethan and Evelyn.
Funeral arrangements are still being finalized.
Castro was the prime mover of the running boom in the Philippines in the early ’80s. He organized and was the race director of the Milo Marathon in 1974 as well as other local and international races. Now on its fourth decade, the Milo Marathon is the longest-running long-distance foot race in the country.
Along with Dr. Aparicio “Perry” Mequi, Castro launched the mass running and physical fitness boom in the country, organizing the popular Band-Aid Family Marathon Clinic which turned ordinary and erstwhile sedentary individuals into marathon runners.
It was his credentials as running guru that earned Castro the position as commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission when it was created by law in 1990.
As a sports commissioner, he continued organizing running events, including the Manila International Marathon and Running Exposition and the Pilipinas International Marathon.
His running programs also produced national athletes like Jimmy de la Torre, Victor Idava, Justo Tabunda Jr., Leonardo Illut, Mario Castro and David Carmelo.
Castro left the country in 1993 for a new life in California. His wife said he fought a brave battle against lung cancer.
“Jun fought cancer like he lived his life,” she said. “He took on challenges, did his homework, fought valiantly, lived positively and he finished the race.”
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