Three months passed. He was still alive.
greatly boosted his confidence. But how did the man, who was not really
a sports fan, make up his mind to run a marathon? Neither his wife nor
his son truly knew the answer.
might have been inspired on one of his walks on the Shungeng Mountain
nearby, when he encountered some runners training for a marathon," his
son He Shuai assumed.
Whatever the reason might be, He was ready to write a brand new chapter of his life.
RUNNING AGAINST ALL ODDS
it rained or snowed, he would run every day in the morning and in the
evening, about 30km altogether. This was pretty much even for a healthy
person," recounted Liu Kaifu, president of the Huainan Marathon
Association, whom He turned to in 2017 to begin his marathon journey.
He did not tell his wife about his plan. Zhang only noticed that her
husband always went out "for a walk" for a very long time.
In October 2017, He completed a half marathon in his home city, the first ever in his life.
Of course, secretly.
"I was so furious that I even wanted to stamp on him," was Zhang's reaction when she was informed.
until this day, after he passed away, I do not fully support his
decision to run marathons," Zhang said. "We had countless quarrels over
"I told him again and again
'You are overburdening your body. This will harm your immunity. Your
body can not take it.' But he just wouldn't listen. From time to time,
he would repeat the same words 'I know my body.'"
Surely he did.
was the one that bore the "sharp pain" of taking every step, as he told
his attending doctor Xie Jun, when he continued to push forward, to a
point, the pain would disappear, he added.
Even so, Xie was one of the opposers.
would not allow such extensive workout, especially after his cancer had
already spread to his bones. This meant his bones were extremely
fragile. If another runner bumped him or he stumbled, it could cause
paralysis," Xie explained. "But he insisted, even if his family were all
In fact, as an
experienced doctor that understood well the pain He was enduring, Xie
never thought his patient could finish a marathon.
sitting still hurts for patients with stage 4 cancer, let alone
running," Xie explained. "He was different from other patients; he had
an extremely strong will power, a powerful aspiration."
the Marathon Association, and sometimes on his own, He began to run
marathons in nearby cities and later travelled to other provinces,
traveling by the cheapest possible trains and staying in the cheapest
"I was against it
at first. He needed to receive periodical treatment and it would further
harm his health if he could not eat well or get good rest away from
home. What if he stumbles?" his son He Shuai said. "My mother and I, we
just wanted him to be safe."
But He Ming wanted to hold his life in his own hands. He set for himself a goal of running 100 marathons.
"I would rather die on a marathon course than on a hospital bed," he argued.
invited his wife to travel with him and watch him run, feeling the
beats of life when hundreds of feet stepped on the ground, firm and
"He tried to persuade me
again and again, saying if I were to be at the site, I would also feel
the impulse to run after him," Zhang recalled.