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Taiwan runner shares joy on historic Silk Road journey

2011/09/19 19:50:19

Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Taiwanese ultramarathon runner Kevin Lin said Monday he felt "blessed" to be able to complete an unprecedented 10,000-kilometer run on the Silk Road with the assistance of many supporters in the past five months.

Lin, who returned to Taiwan one day earlier, also took the opportunity to thank his exploration team members at a news conference in Taipei marking the completion of his feat.

"I am really happy to finish the task," Lin said.

Lin and three other runners set off from Turkey's Istanbul, the end of the Silk Road, on April 20. But only two of them continued running through Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China on July 23.

The challenging 150-day journey culminated in a 13.7-km run around the city wall of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province on Sept. 16.

Running 70-80 km a day to finish the journey within the scheduled time frame, Lin and Chinese runner Bai Bin had to overcome rough conditions and bitter weather full of temperature fluctuations, hailstones, torrential rains and sandstorms.

The pair also suffered injuries to their feet and physical illness such as diarrhea during the run.

"The thought of going running when I woke up each day was sometimes fearful during the five-month period," Lin confessed.

But asked if he had thought about giving up, Lin said, "Many people expressed their support for me so that I did not dare to think about it."

Andrew Strachan, a British exploration expert who led the team's operational side, said Lin and Bai's professionalism, discipline and talent were fundamental to the success of the exploration.

He also expressed gratitude to those in different countries who extended a helping hand to the team when they faced challenging times.

"This is a life-changing experience for all of us," Strachan added.

On the sidelines of the media conference was a gallery displaying 84 photos that recorded the highs and lows of the journey.

Asked about his next challenge, Lin said he had nothing in mind yet and wanted to spend time compiling the photos taken during the trip. Plus, he wants a good rest.

"I will think about my next plan during the rest," he said.

(By Elaine Hou)