Feature: Chinese "morning callers" goes global
By Xinhua writers Li Binian, Liu Jinhui and Yuan Yueming (intern)
ZHENGZHOU, China, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- For more than a decade, 50-year-old Li Xiaoshuan has kept a busy morning schedule: he gets up at 5:30, makes more than 50 calls, runs eight to 10 kilometers and then goes to work.
The busy schedule began in April 2007 after he put up a post which said "Get up and start running! I will wake you up!" with his personal phone number on a local online forum. Numerous calls ensued, asking for his wake-up service.
"I started this because many people cannot keep running because they cannot get up early in the morning, so I decide to call them to wake them up. It turned out to be a very good practice," said Li, who is a civil servant in Jiaozuo City, China's central Henan Province.
"If they can keep running for half a year in the morning, they may not need my wake-up service. I found this very effective and decided to wake up more people, so I put my phone number online," he said.
The number of people who need his service soon increased rapidly, so much so that Li had to give some of the phone numbers to his fellow morning runners, who call themselves "morning callers".
Now 11 years on, Li still makes more than 50 calls each morning, each corresponding to one fellow morning runner who he has not met personally. For many, Li's wake-up service has changed their lives.
"I was once overweight and always wanted to exercise but I was too lazy. But after I met one of the morning callers who promised to wake me up at 6:00 every morning, I got the confidence and kept running," said Yang Gaocai.
Yang, a Chinese doctor in his fifties in Switzerland, also comes from Jiaozuo, Henan Province. In 2017, he met one of morning callers when he visited his relatives. Attracted by the idea of "Raising people's awareness of health by waking them up to run," he decided to bring the wake-up service to Switzerland.
Now "morning callers" has taken root in Switzerland with more than 60 morning runners joining the service. Almost every weekend, Yang takes them hiking in the Alps or enters them in a local marathon.
Apart from Switzerland, it has spread globally to more than 10 countries and regions.
"Morning callers in the United States, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore etc. have kept in contact with me. They have running groups to wake up each other and if there is no big time difference, I will wake them up personally," said Li.
In November 2017, more than 100 delegates from 11 provinces in China attended the first summit for "morning callers". Delegates from the United States, Australia, France and New Zealand took part in the summit online.