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              Challenging the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 虚心练习:跑两回全程马拉松 One route, two moods: racing to a different feeling and results. 同一赛道,两次心情,跑出不一样的 感觉和结果。 By Alex Liu (Hong Kong) 文:廖文耀(香港)  Afull marathon is 42.195 kilometres. Running a kilometre every six minutes, it will take four hours and 13 minutes to complete one. I had always thought that running a kilometre in six minutes was easy, so I never felt a need to practise seriously, entering the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon without concrete plans. Running my 28th kilometre, however, I did not expect that the true test was just beginning. I was filled with doubts: Why are so many people participating in such a gruelling event? Will I even finish this marathon? Countless such thoughts were spinning in my mind. To make things worse, after I emerged from the Western Harbour Crossing tunnel, my muscles began to cramp. I was exhausted with five kilometres left. Staggering along, I took a step at a time until I hit the finish line, finally completing the marathon. After the race, I reflected on how poorly prepared I was, underestimating the challenge of a full marathon. I resolved to take part again. Four months before participating, I began implementing a training schedule, preparing running shoes and gear, stocking up on supplies, and strengthening the muscles crucial for long- distance running. Preparation Makes All the Difference On the day of my second marathon, things felt completely different even if the route was exactly the same. Although it was still not easy, I managed to enjoy the race. Clearing Western Harbour Crossing and my 38th kilometre, I was not exhausted like the last time. In fact, I met other runners of similar speeds, and we offered each other support along the way. This was totally different from my first attempt, and I finished the race happy and contented. Running a marathon on the same route with two very different moods – unprepared and prepared, laidback and focused – yielded different feeling and results. Nevertheless, we will reach the finish line if we do not give up, and the marathon would be a success. Everyone has different goals, approaches, and processes, but the principle of “no pain, no gain” is unchanging. I hope that you too will be able to complete your own unique marathon. (Translated by Daryl Li)  141 popularnews - 33 

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