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Film on Taiwanese ultramarathon star to be screened in cinemas

2013/03/21 13:03:27

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) A documentary on the story of a Taiwanese record-holding female ultramarathon runner who had to have a leg and a foot amputated after a race in 2008 will hit local cinemas March 22, the movie production company said Thursday.

The 70-minute "Forever Runner” will be screened in movie theaters in Taipei and Kaohsiung until March 24, according to Taipei-based Impress Productions.

Directed by Jang Da-jung, it features the story of Chiu Shu-jung, who had to have her right leg and left foot amputated after contracting a bacterial infection from broken blisters on the soles of her feet in 2008.

Chiu’s feet became infected during the 1,150-km La Transe Gaule ultramarathon, in which she had to run from Roscoff, a small fishing village in northwestern France, to Gruissan-Plage in the south, in 18 days.

Despite suffering broken blisters on the 16th day, Chiu insisted on completing the race.

After the run, she was rushed to a hospital in Montpellier, southern France, where the amputations were carried out. Her condition was so critical the doctors even declared her incurable.

But miraculously, the 56-year-old survived and she returned to Taiwan to continue treatment after a month-long hospitalization in France.

Over the past few years, Chiu, a state-run China Steel Corp. employee, has maintained an optimistic attitude and has refused to give up on life, as many people would think someone in her situation might.

Her outstanding performance as a runner and more importantly, her strength in overcoming adversity, captured the attention of Jang, who decided to make a documentary about her.

"I don't believe an energetic person who can finish an 18-day run would be defeated by amputations," Jang said.

Since early 2009, the director followed Chiu and recorded her daily life to make the Chinese-language documentary.

The film crew also flew to France with Chiu in August 2010, when she returned to the finish line of the French ultramarathon on the last day of the annual event and met her fellow athletes. I

Chiu also visited the hospital in France where the amputations were carried out, surprising the doctors there.

Through the documentary, Chiu hopes to encourage more physically disabled people to emerge from the shadows.

She will not be able to run an ultramarathon again, but the "forever runner” will continue running on an “invisible” track for a life ultramarathon of her own.

(By Elaine Hou)