Saturday, 19 April 2014

Born to Run

Run Forrest, run! Hong Kong has its own character who loves to run
Stephen Poon Wing-sing is billed as Hong Kong's Forrest Gump because he likes to run -- a lot.

One day he decided to run 40 kilometres a day for 27 consecutive days around the entire coast of Taiwan.

"I just felt like running," says the 38-year-old Poon. "I felt that there was an urge that came to me and summoned me to run. There was no other reason."

Sound like the endearing character played by Tom Hanks?

Poon only chose Taiwan because he had recently completed a marathon there and so he bought an air ticket and with no detailed plan or even a map, he literally just started running.

Stephen Poon enjoys the sport so much he'll run anywhere
He started from the southern city of Kaohsiung on January 11 and then went all the way around and came back February 6 with minor aches and pains.

And like Forrest Gump, while Poon ran he learned a lot of life lessons along the way.

"I thought of lots of things about what had happened over the years," he says. "I began to learn to let things go."

One of his disappointments was not winning a major competition after having trained for years. He had thought that if he could win a top event then he could get funding from the government to have a full-time athletics career.

In 2004 he ran his personal best time of 2:38 at a marathon in Macau, which made him the fastest Chinese entrant.

However, he over-trained and had to drop out of all competitions for the rest of the year, and in the end he cut short his athletic career in his early 30s.

Poon worked at ordinary jobs for a while, but then two years ago running called to him again and he became a coach, training elite and leisure runners in Happy Valley.

He says the secret to performing one's best is to focus. "When your aim is clear, you know a lot of difficulties and hardship can be sorted out," Poon says. "But for me, I think I have really learned to enjoy running now. I am running for running itself."

Spoken like a true athlete.

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