Man runs 560 km home for Tomb Sweeping day
When Taiwanese return home to pay respects to their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day, most rely on the train, ferry or plane to make the trip. But for Huang Ting-fang ( ) director of Feng Yuan Hospital’s Department of Dentistry in Taichung, none of those modes of transportation were suitable because he was looking for something a little more challenging.
He opted instead to run home by taking part in the Trans Taiwan Ultra-Marathon, an eightday, 560-kilometer journey run starting from Fukuichiao Light- house ( ) in Keelung in northern Taiwan to Eluanbi Lighthouse ( ) at Taiwan’s southernmost tip in Huang’s native Pingtung County.
The 60- year- old Huang said he wanted to give himself a special gift for his six decades in the world and decided to register for Taiwan’s longest running event of the year.
Starting the run on March 28, Huang averaged six kilometers an hour but had trouble sleeping at night on the first two days of the race because of severe pain in his feet.
after that, and he was able to finish the journey on April 4, averaging 70 kilometers per day.
“I’m not as energetic as young people so I don’t run very fast. I rely on endurance to get to the finish line,” said the dentist who has, by his own account, run 300 marathons over the past 11 years.
Once he finished the run in Pingtung County, he joined his family members to pay respects to his ancestors at their tombs. He said he felt like he was 30 and wanted to show his ancestors he had become stronger.
Huang took up running out of necessity. He said he often has to stoop to treat his patients and at one point started developing numbness in his limbs because of the bad posture.
He began running to counter the problem but overdid it at the beginning, finding himself so exhausted that he couldn’t move even after a two-hour rest by the roadside.
Huang has since adopted his marathon spirit in his practice, leading his team for the past 20 years to help care for elementary school students in the remote mountainous Heping District in Taichung.