Feature: China's Jin completes 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days
KUNMING, China, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Jin Feibao woke up at 6:30am today, ate a cup of unpleasant gruel containing egg, fruit, milk and walnuts to re-energize, then went to work.
To him, that means running a marathon.
Today, he runs his 100th.
Few people in the world have dared to undertake such a challenge. But he dared. 55-year-old Jin is a devoted mountaineer and marathon runner. He has completed the Explorers Grand Slam, summitting the highest mountains on every continent, reaching both the North and South Poles and has finished more than 70 marathons.
Jin's challenge of completing 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days began at Haigeng Park in Kunming on May 19th. He weighed 76 kilograms that day, but now he tips the scales at 63 kilograms, having lost 13 kilograms from his 174cm frame even after consuming 2,900 calories every day.
This race is named the Fairyland Marathon. Running 100 consecutive marathons means Jin is expected to run 42.2 kilometers a day for 100 days.
All the 100 routes are on the countryside roads of China's southern province of Yunnan in all of its 16 prefectures. Jin has so far run a total of 4219.5 kilometers, which have taken him through nine major lakes, six major river systems and numerous ethnic minority communities along the way.
"Every marathon is memorable," said Jin. "Maybe now I am still in the snowy mountains, and just one day later, I will arrive at the river valley. If I am hungry, there are rice noodles to eat. In the middle, I may want to drink Pu'er tea. There are also plums and peaches that locals have just picked. The running style changes day by day. Yunnan is like a pearl. I string them into necklaces through these 100 marathons."
However, Jin's achievement almost came to a stop during his 94th marathon.
Jin's 93rd race was the Jiaozi Snow Mountain, from the highest peak in the middle of Yunnan. In 1986, at the age of 23, Jin had succesfully summitted the 4,223m peak, thus beginning his journey of adventure.
But in an ironic twist of fate, this was the point at which Jin's previous injuries flared up, and the pain began to affect his final seven days of competition. He struggled to complete that race in a time of 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Since then, Jin has only been able to relieve his pain by taking painkillers every day. "The closer the target is, the more difficult it is. Even if the mountain valley and the heavy rain cannot stop me, the aggravatation of this injury may see me fail this challenge."
His doctor revealed that Jin's punishing daily schedule had caused his knee to swell up, but thankfully added that the damage was not lasting or terminal.
Jin's journey also has an emotionally personal element to it. At the beginning of this year, Jin participated in the seven-day challenge of seven marathons on seven continents. When he was running in Antarctica, his mother passed away at home.
"I have the ability to run on seven continents, but I cannot run to my mother to say a final farewell. This is the biggest regret of my life. The saddest thing in the world to me is that when I call my mother, she can no longer hear. During these 100 days, I have thought about my mother every second, I hope she can see that I am running, running for my dreams, running for my hometown."
Today, on August 26, at 2:38 pm, Jin finished his final race in a time of 6 hours and 25 minutes, ending and achieving his challenge to the adoration of his followers.
Jin is very grateful to his friends and well-wishers, because every day many people have accompanied him to run the full course. "When I was running, in order to alleviate my pain, everyone tried to slow down to accompany me by my side and always encouraged me in different ways. As they knew, I was not aiming for outright speed, but the perseverance and physical strength that lasts for 100 days. I made it."
Over the course of 100 days, Jin's challenge has allowed more people to understand this sport, and has also promoted the development of marathon running in Yunnan. "I hope more people will join the ranks of running, even just starting from 3 kilometers or 5 kilometers. The benefits of fitness for all can be truly realized." Jin said.
Completing his final race, Jin lifted the trophy of the Prince of 100 Marathons. This handmade honor was made for him before he embarked on the challenge.
100 days later, he deserves it.