Sat, 19 Sep 2020

XI'AN, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- At the age of 15, Wang Changsheng started running for relieving arthritis. Now, over a half century has past and the 71-year-old keeps running.

Not only has he kept up his running habit, but he does it better than most people.

Affectionately known as "Chun Lao", a nickname which means rejuvenation, Wang is well known in the marathon runners circle in the northwestern Chinese city of Xi'an.

In his teens, Wang suffered from severe arthritis. Having tried all therapies he could find, he was told by a doctor that running might help.

And it did help.

Wang has been on a runner's high for over five decades since.

"When I was a young man, everyone said that I was always energetic, and I seldom felt tired. Running has not only shaped my body but also strengthened my will. As long as I set a goal, I must do my best to achieve it. That's how I'm able to finish a marathon," said Wang.

The seemingly ageless runner won the title of "Beijing Marathon Nine-Star Runner" by finishing this marathon in 3:34:00. In 2017. Later that year, he received an invitation from the Boston Marathon, one of the six major marathon events in the world. Running in this kind of event was a long-held dream for the senior runner.

But when the day came to finally realize his dream, it was rainy and windy in Boston. Wang didn't give up. He cheered himself up and started to sprint after he crossed the 25-mile mark.

He finished with a time of 3:57:00, ranking 66th in the 700-plus-person group aged between 65 and 69, and took the first place among the 12 Chinese competitors in that group.

Besides running, the septuagenarian can easily fling himself into a handstand on parallel bars, or perform dozens of pull-ups with just his middle fingers and push-ups with two thumbs.

"Chun Lao" loves sharing his experience to young runners, especially after marathon gained popularity in the country in recent years. He always tells them to train hard and go easy on themselves.

"I have never got injured running, because I keep a healthy mentality -- I run for my health, not for a medal," he said.

After finishing the Boston Marathon, Wang has set up a new goal to finish the other five major international marathons. So far he has run in Berlin, Chicago and New York.

His preparation for the two remaining events in Tokyo and London was suspended due to the COVID-19 epidemic, but he still kept training at home, running more than 200 kilometers each month.

Wang said he's ready for the offline races to resume in Xi'an. He also plans to register for the non-professional group in the marathon event of the upcoming 14th National Games, which will be held in his home province of Shaanxi in 2021.

"I have never thought of stopping running. Not yet for now. I guess I will just keep running until the day I can't," he concluded.

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