Taiwan’s legendary marathon runner Chen Ching-shun, hailed in marathon circles as “slippers man,” was planning to retire from marathon running after taking part in Greater Tainan’s Zengwen Reservoir Marathon Cup on Dec. 9. Chen, however, forgot to bring his runner’s number and electronic chip, so he was unable to run in what was supposed to be his last marathon. Despite that, he decided to go ahead and throw in the towel anyway.
Nicknamed the “lychee guy,” Chen has run approximately 7,500km in 171 marathons over the past five years. In the future, Chen will still wear straw slippers while mountaineering and jogging, he says.
The 56-year-old Taibao City native has competed in marathons in Japan and South Korea. In 2011, he took part in China’s Great Wall Marathon, and in May this year he ran in a northern Vietnamese marathon. Regardless of whether he was running in marathons in foreign lands, he never altered his habit of wearing straw slippers. Due to injuries sustained to his thigh 30 years ago after falling down stairs, a surgery left his right foot pointing outward. His heels bump against each other if he wears regular shoes, so he was forced to always wear slippers.
Chen fell in love with marathon running five years ago when he ran half of a marathon across the Hsiluo Bridge without registering. His last marathon before retiring unexpectedly became the Dongshan River Water Park Marathon in Yilan County on Dec. 1.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)