Tue, Apr 07, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Dentist runs marathon from Keelung to Pingtung to pay respects to ancestors

Staff writer, with CNA

When Taiwanese return to their hometowns to pay respects to their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day, most rely on the train, ferry or plane to make the trip.

However, for Huang Ting-fang (黃廷芳), director of the dentistry department at Feng Yuan Hospital 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 Ultramarathon, an eight-day, 560km run that began at the Fukuichiao Lighthouse in Keelung and ended at the Oluanpi Lighthouse in Huang’s native Pingtung County.

The 60-year-old Huang said he wanted to give himself a special gift for his six decades of existence and decided to register for the nation’s longest running event of the year.

Starting the run on March 28, Huang averaged 6km per hour, but had trouble sleeping at night on the first two days of the race because of severe pain in his feet.

However, he was able to finish the marathon on Saturday, after averaging 70km per day.

Once he finished the run, he joined family members in paying respects to his ancestors at their tombs. He said he felt like he was 30 years old and wanted to show his ancestors he had become stronger.

Huang said he has run 300 marathons over the past 11 years. He said he took up running out of necessity after developing numbness in his limbs because of the bad posture he developed as a result of the repeated stooping he does during work.

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