A 72-year-old woman ‘races against clock’ – Global Times

A 72-year-old woman ‘races against clock’  Global Times


A 72-year-old woman ‘races against clock’

By Xinhua Published: Sep 22, 2022 04:29 PM

Runners compete in the Quzhou Marathon on Sunday in Quzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province. A total of 12,000 people took part in the marathon in the morning rain. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Yang Xiuyun, 72, is addicted to running. A 10-kilometer run in the morning is like her first meal of the day.

Before her retirement, Yang was a breeder at Chaoyang Reclamation Farm in Nanchang, East China’s Jiangxi Province. At that time, she did not know what a marathon was, but now, she has run nearly 40 marathons, not only participating in China, but also in Helsinki, Finland.

“Life is like a marathon. I’m just racing against the clock,” said Yang, who has been running consistently for 22 years. The old lady has short hair and speaks as fast as she runs.

When she retired, Yang suffered from kidney stones. The doctor said that if she did not have surgery, she could only recover by taking medicine and exercising. At that time, Yang often saw people running along the Ganjiang River.

One morning, Yang went out for a walk and met this group of runners again, who ran together and cheered each other on. Seeing Yang’s envious look in her eyes, the runners warmly invited her to join.

“At first, I was afraid that I would become a drag on this group of young people, but they accepted me with great enthusiasm.” From 5 kilometers running to 10 kilometers, 20 kilometers, and finally the full marathon, the distance that Yang measured with her feet became longer and longer. At the same time, she also met a group of friendly runners.

“There are some older runners, but most of them are much younger than me, they call me ‘Sister Yang,’ which is a young name,” Yang said with a smile. 

Running day after day has also brought changes to Yang’s body and mind. To the doctor’s surprise, her kidney stones, which were initially the size of broad beans, disappeared after several years of running.

Yang used to work in a noisy and messy environment for a long time, and she became tired after work, but running changed her. In 2006, Yang joined the Nanchang Distance Running Association and became one of its first members.

In 2011, Yang signed up for the Shanghai Marathon, but she was not satisfied after finishing in five hours. Since then, she found professional running teaching videos to adjust her running movements. 

In 2012, Yang suffered from varicose veins in her right leg and suspended running after the surgery. 

Yang qualified to run the Hangzhou Marathon in 2016. After five years of professional training, she ran for four hours and 20 minutes, aged 66.

In 2019, Yang signed up for the Helsinki Marathon with her running friends.