Rising to the challenge

By Wang Xiaowen ( Shanghai Star ) Updated: 2014-07-23 15:39:49

Editor's Note: In our health issue last week, our main read on runners and cyclists turned out to be so popular among readers that we received many contributions sharing people's stories. Here are two readers who are strong advocates of running.

Rising to the challenge

When I finished my first full marathon, many friends asked me how I managed to run such a long distance. Well, honestly, I didn't expect the result, either. I had never run a race longer than 20 kilometers before. However, three months later, I completed my second marathon. Then I realized the full marathon, about 42 kilometers — which seems so long and so difficult - is no longer mission impossible. I only started running because my basketball team was dissolved two years ago and I needed a new sport.

In the beginning, I ran along Binjiang Road in Pudong every day after work. My running plan didn't go well in the first two months, as I could only run one kilometer without stopping at the beginning and I had to maintain a low speed so I wouldn't get too tired the next working day. Luckily, I ran late at night, usually after 10, when there were very few people in the street, so I didn't need to worry about somebody laughing at my slow pace. I raised my targets slowly every day, from 1 to 1.1, from 1.1 to 1.2 km. As a result I broke my personal best each time, which made me more confident to meet the next day's goal.

Two months later, I was able to run three kilometers daily. However, it was getting harder to keep running on the road, not just because the conditions were hard but also because the bad weather took a toll on my feet. I decided to track my race by app and post it on my social website account every time. That way, my friends could "like" it.

My friends' attention drove me to keep running daily. Once a friend commented on my post, suggesting I should run at Century Park as many people ran there. I tried it out and found it was pretty good for runners. If you do a complete lap around the park, it's exactly five kilometers, and there's not much traffic. So many runners practice there that the park authorities actually made a track especially for us.

Rising to the challenge

Sports is both her work and life

Since then, I've stuck to this route, which is, I feel, the best in Shanghai. Every night, I come home, put on my running gear, drive to the park, and take a five-kilometer run.

I've enjoyed meeting lots of interesting runners who've given me lots of tips on posture, breath control, choice of running shoes and so on. I love the running culture there, we smile when we meet, and we talk a lot even though we don't know each other. I don't feel lonely anymore.

With the encouragement of these friends, I have risen to the challenge of running 10 kilometers and 15 kilometers. I've run nearly all the beautiful routes in Shanghai before deciding to enter a full marathon — and I made it.

This is the story of how I finished my first marathon from scratch. Anyone can make it, in my opinion, so you should join us and enjoy running in Shanghai.

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