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Visually impaired Taiwanese athlete completes London Marathon

2019/04/29 19:31:11

Hung Kuo-chan (洪國展, left)

London, April 28 (CNA) Hung Kuo-chan (洪國展) became the first visually impaired runner from Taiwan to complete in the world-renowned London Marathon on Sunday.

It was Hung's second time participating in a major international marathon following his run at the Boston Marathon in April last year.

The 39-year-old Hung gained entry to compete in the marathon via its "Charity Entry," which entailed him making a donation of 2,000 pounds (US$2,589) to the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) that he raised by giving speeches and organizing fundraisers.

According to the London Marathon webpage, most major charities have a set number of entry places for the marathon, which they allocate to runners on the basis that they will raise an agreed amount of money for the charity.

Hung finished the marathon in a time of four hours and 12 minutes.

Taiwanese at the London Marathon supporting Taiwanese runners / Photo courtesy of Taipei Representative Office in the U.K.

In an interview with CNA after the event, Hung said he got into running in 2014 when he felt he needed a break from writing his thesis, adding that he felt it was "cool" for visually impaired runners to compete in marathons.

Starting off with various road runs, Hung said he soon set his goal of competing in full marathons and the more he ran, the more confident he became, which saw him participating in more events at home and abroad.

One of the reasons he decided to compete in international marathons is to let the world see visually impaired people's courage and how advanced Taiwanese society is, so that even citizens with disabilities are able to stand with others at the forefront of the international community, he said.

The hardest part of running a marathon is the mental challenge as it gets very tiring toward the end of the run, Hung said, but that is part of the charm of running.

Running has also made him realize that even when he feels life or work is not going his way, as long as he persists, he will always get to where he wants to be, Hung said.

Meanwhile, another Taiwanese runner, Ko Peng-hsin (葛芃欣), a 27-year-old press officer at the Ministry of Defense, also participated in the event, finishing his run in three hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds.

Ko Peng-hsin (葛芃欣)

The event was the 39th London Marathon and saw over 40,000 participants taking part.

(By Tai Ya-chen and William Yen)
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