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88 ultrarunners take part in grueling Run Across Taiwan

by April 2, 2016 General

April 3, 2016, 12:03 am TWN

TAIPEI — The 2016 Run Across Taiwan Ultra Marathon kicked off at 10 p.m. Friday, with 88 ultrarunners from nine countries taking part.

The ultrarunners, from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Singapore and other countries, are challenging the 246-kilometer, west-to-east run across Taiwan in three days.

The run has been dubbed as an “Oriental Spartan” event as it is the most grueling run in more than 500 marathons organized each year in Taiwan.

Runners started at Taichung Harbor, running through Puli, Wushe, and the high-altitude Wulin toward the final destination of Taroko in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, in three days.

The Chinese Taipei Association of Ultrarunners, which sponsors the event, said that the most challenging section of the run is the alpine terrain starting from Green Peak (翠峰). Runners have to run uphill from Puli, and continue to run uphill until reaching the highest point of Taiwan’s highways, the 3,275-meter Wulin.

The section of Wulin will be conducted at night. With lows of 5 degrees Celsius in the mountainous area and the thin air due to high altitude, the runners will face a crucial test.

Shingo Inoue (井上真悟), 35, who has taken part in marathons many times in Taiwan, is one of the participants.

Inoue, who set a 273-kilometer record in the 24-hour international ultramarathon at Soochow University in 2010, began to challenge runs of over 200 kilometers after his father committed suicide 10 years ago.

Every participant in the ultramarathon is also a “goodwill ambassador,” as each will ask their family members and friends to donate NT$5 (US$0.154) for every five kilometers run for charity, giving them more motivation to accomplish the run.