One-legged man completes four marathons spanning entire country in four days

(People's Daily Online) 13:28, March 30, 2021

A one-legged man from east China's Zhejiang province has recently completed a "mission impossible" – running four marathons in four days consecutively in the southernmost, westernmost, easternmost and northernmost Chinese cities most suitable for the activity.

Photo shows Pan Junfan, 41, from east China's Zhejiang province, running with his prosthetic leg. (Photo/yangtse.com)

Pan Junfan, 41, lost his right leg in a car accident in 2015. Before the accident, Pan worked in the convention and exhibition business and had never participated in any kind of outdoor sport. However, in a bid to motivate himself, Pang set himself the goal of hiking for 108 kilometers over four days in the Gobi desert.

One year later, when Pan became the first amputee contestant to complete the 2016 2nd Silk Road Gobi Challenge within the prescribed time, his confidence was greatly boosted and he started to embrace various outdoor activities.

On Sept. 9, 2020, Pan set out from northwest China's Qinghai province, hiked through 534 km of uninhabited land in 228 hours and 9 minutes and arrived in northwest China's Gansu province, passing through various terrains including Gobi deserts, alpine meadows, snow-capped mountains, canyons and river valleys.

"2021 will be different. I will gradually shift my focus from doing outdoor sports to giving speeches to teenagers, so as to motivate more young people with my own stories. Meanwhile, I’m going to get married this year," said Pan, who plans to continue his athletic habit by completing a major sports challenge each year.

Photo shows Pan Junfan taking a selfie during a hiking trip. (Photo/yangtse.com)

Pang's plan this year is to finish marathons in four Chinese cities with vastly different landscapes and climate conditions. "My friend and I came up with the idea together, as we believe the 'four poles' on the map of China is a wonderful concept for outdoor activities," Pan explained.

In order to adapt to running at high altitudes, Pan spent four days training in Lijiang, southwest China's Yunnan province, which is 2,000-2,500 meters above sea level. He also went to Sanya, the southernmost city on Hainan Island, in advance to get used to the scorching weather.

From March 20 to 23, Pan used three to five modes of transportation for each leg of the trip and covered a total flight distance of nearly 15,000 kilometers. While trying to get into the best physical condition during the marathons, Pang endured great pain when his toenail was badly injured and also had to have emergency repair carried out on his prosthetic leg. In the face of such difficulties, Pang said, "I just wanted to enjoy the trip."

After meeting his major challenge this year, Pan hoped that more sports lovers, including children, could also appreciate the vastness of the country by starting a "four-pole" journey.

"I think it is interesting to learn the different territories of our country through this special method. Also, I want to pay tribute to my motherland in this way, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China," said Pan.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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