Chiayi Man Runs Marathons in Slippers: a Taiwan Miracle in Itself

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Thursday June 02, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

There are times that one should look away from politics and the troubles of the world and examine the achievements of the human spirit. Such a case is Chen Ching-shun who hails from Chiayi County, Taiwan. Chen started running marathons when he was around 50 years old; now at age 53 he has run 42. That translates into 14 marathons a year. Few people have run even one in their lives. But there is more to the story.

When he was in his early 20s, Chen broke his right thighbone and the operation left him with his right foot disjointed so that his heels hit each other when he wears shoes. To eliminate this problem, he only wears slippers when he runs. For most runners who are always conscious of the impact of the pavement on their feet and knees, the importance of cushioned shoes is a necessity, even for a 10K race.

For Chen to run 42 marathons in 3 years is outstanding; for him to do so wearing loose slippers is close to miraculous. Some people become a legend in their own time. Another three cheers for Chen and for Taiwan.