Man runs 560 km home for Tomb Sweep­ing day

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

His

con­di­tion im­proved

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.

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