Running With a tank full of Enthusiasm

In 2007, Al Jazeera reported about Jang Hway-min, an eight year old runner in China, who completed running 3,500 kilometers (almost 2,176 miles) in fifty-five days.

Jang Hway-min ran a distance each day equal to one-and-a-half marathons. Her diet was milk, honey and raw eggs (yuck!)

When Paul Allen, the reporter, interviewed her, she said, “I like running. Running makes me happy.”

Her father followed her on a motorized bicycle.

However, similar to the debate concerning Amy Chua’s extreme parenting methods in the United States, Chinese Blogs and editorials in the media criticized the father for child abuse.

Hmm, I wonder how the average soft American parent would react to learn that this happened in the land where “Tough Love” is considered the norm.

Jang Hway-min’s father said, “I am not worried about her health. She is always healthy and never says her legs hurt or that she is tired after running fifty kilometers (31 mile) a day.”

Then in December 2010, The China Post in Taipei, Taiwan reported on a six-year-old marathon runner, Wu Chun-hao, who completed a 42-kilometer marathon (26 miles).

The China Post said, “According to local media reports, the six siblings initially entered the race for fun; they soon grew bored at the constant running and in the final 10-km stretch, little Wu complained of aching knees and broke into tears, which were still running down his face when he crossed the finish line.

“When asked whether it was fun, Wu shook his head. However, asked if he would do it again, the boy bravely replied in the affirmative.

“Breaking records appear to run in the family. Last year’s youngest runner was Wu’s older brother Wu Cheng-en; his sisters, 8-year-old Wu Hui-hsin also became the event’s youngest female marathon runner Sunday.”

Where were the cries of child abuse this time?

Discover Ma Yan’s Story

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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