Chinese Man Runs 211 Km for Lunar New Year Holiday

Chinese Man Runs 211 Km for Lunar New Year Holiday

Wednesday, 14 February, 2018 - 11:30
Yujing Liu
Beijing, London- Asharq AL Awsat
As tens of millions of Chinese converged on bus and railway stations last week, 42-year-old Pan Shancu decided to make his own way home for the Lunar New Year holiday – by running 211km across eastern China.

According to South China Morning Post, Pan took a little under 27 hours to complete the mammoth journey – equivalent to five regular marathons – to his hometown in Tiantai county in Zhejiang.

“I think running is more fun than driving or taking buses, and you can appreciate the scenery along the way,” he was quoted as saying.

The keen amateur athlete set out just before 4.15am on Thursday and arrived home at about 7am the next day. He would have got there a little sooner, but decided to stop off for a bowl of noodles a few hours from the finish line.

Despite having experience of tackling extreme distances, Pan said his latest run was gruelling at times.

“I ran a 130km ultramarathon over the new year, which took 16 hours and 27 minutes, and I felt all right afterwards,” he said.

But having to carry a 9kg (20lb) backpack filled with energy bars, sugary drinks and pickled vegetables to keep him going along the way, as well as clothes he bought as gifts for his mother and elder sister, took its toll.

“Towards the end, I was hungry, thirsty, and miserable,” he said.

Lunar, or Chinese New Year, which starts on Feb. 15 this year, is China’s most important holiday, and families and revelers traditionally celebrate with several nights of fireworks and firecrackers. The cacophony is believed to drive away bad spirits and usher in an auspicious start to the year.

More than 400 cities across China, though, have banned fireworks since last year to curb air pollution during the 15-day holiday and reducing deadly accidents, which are common.

More than 6.5 million are expected to head overseas this year, according to a joint report from travel agency Ctrip and the China Tourism Academy.

Travelers have booked voyages to more than 68 nations and regions, the report said, with Thailand, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Nordic countries among the top destinations. The average Chinese tourist spends about 9,500 yuan ($1,500) on a Lunar New Year trip, the report said.

Domestic travel is also popular: the National Tourism Administration predicted earlier this month that this year's holiday period will bring in 476 billion yuan ($75 billion) in tourism revenue.

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