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Age is no hurdle for elderly sportsman

China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-10 07:10
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Gu Dawo, 75, competes in a marathon in Xiamen, Fujian province, in January. [Photo/Xinhua]

Retiree Gu Dawo's latest WeChat Moments post read: "Cycling 600 kilometers in six days! A wonderful trip to Qinghai Lake!"

The 75-year-old's post received over 100 likes.

"It's not only an experience but also a challenge for me to complete the riding tour," Gu says of his first long ride across terrain 3,000 meters above sea level.

Many people greet the white-haired man wearing sunglasses and professional sportswear as he passes.

Gu is popular in sports circles in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

He enjoys running, cycling and swimming.

He has competed in marathons in Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and other cities, and has shown up as the oldest runner at the International Marathon in Ningxia's capital, Yinchuan.

Gu also traveled alone to Tennessee in the United States to compete in a triathlon.

He developed the habit of exercising in early life. He always ran or cycled to work when he worked in Yinchuan and Shenzhen.

"Exercise makes people healthy. Some people around my age suffer from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. I pay more attention to maintain a good body and good mentality through exercise," Gu says.

"I began to run marathons when I was 68."

In 2013, he met Yin Jie, the head of a running club in Ningxia, and they often exercised together.

Yin encouraged Gu to try the marathon, which piqued his interest.

Gu didn't know much about marathons, but after training, he registered for the International Half Marathon in Hangzhou in 2013 and finished it in 1 hour, 58 minutes and 59 seconds.

He has since run several marathons throughout China, and began to take part in competitions abroad in 2017.

"Now, I participate in eight to 10 races a year. I ran one triathlon and three marathons in a month last year," says Gu, who hopes to compete in the next Boston Marathon.

"It's more important to enjoy the process. You can take pictures and enjoy the view to relax when you go to different places to participate in competitions. It's also important to display sportsmanship. During the cycling portion of one triathlon, a competitor in front of me fell, and I immediately stopped to help him."

He also says exercising makes him feel young and healthy.

"Gu is a living example of sportsmanship and, in particular, the idea that 'if others can do it, I can do it'. It is very impressive," says Yin.


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