Jin Feibao at the Atacama Crossing Race, a 250-kilometer race held annually in Chile, in October 2014. Photos Provided To China Daily
Yunnan adventurer was an accomplished mountaineer before he began distance running
Completing just one marathon would be a feat for most people, but 52-year-old Jin Feibao won't be happy unless he runs 100 of them by the time he turns 60.
Jin, an adventurer from Yunnan province, started marathon training in 2010.
He used the knowledge and experience he has accumulated over the past six years on Dec 17, when he acted as principal consultant for the 2016 SCO Kunming International Marathon, the province's biggest international sports event, which was held to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
In addition to his marathon expertise, Jin is also a veteran mountaineer and his love of adventure has taken him to all the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, as well as the North and South Poles, Greenland and the Sahara Desert.
Born in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, in 1963, Jin dreamed of adventure from an early age. He would spend hours reading about nature and geography and wished he could visit the places he had learned about in his books.
His first adventure came in 1986, when he conquered the 4,223-meter-high Jiaozi Snow Mountains in Yunnan at age 23.
"There were a few of us, and we tried about six times before we finally climbed to the top of the mountain. That adventure gave us a strong sense of accomplishment," Jin said.
After that, he devoted himself to mountaineering for more than two decades, little knowing that his ambitions couldn't be fulfilled solely by climbing. It was only later that he discovered his love for long-distance running.
Jin ran his first marathon in Yantai, Shangdong province, in 2010. He finished in just under six hours.
"The first 10 kilometers were stress-free, but I needed to encourage myself to continue the next 10. By the time I reached the halfway mark I hardly had any energy left, but the rest of the marathon was my breakthrough," he recalled.
Since then, Jin has run 10 kilometers every morning, shaving more than an hour off his marathon time.
On Oct 29, he completed an excruciating marathon in Greenland near the Arctic Circle. Braving temperatures of around -20 C and with no bystanders to cheer him on, he found the going tough. This was reflected in his finish time - six and a half hours, as opposed to his usual four and a half.
But completing the race made Jin one of the few Chinese to have run marathons on Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, in Antarctica and in the Arctic. He was also one of the torch bearers at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Once he has reached his goal of 100 marathons, Jin plans to volunteer as a geography teacher, so he can best utilize his years of experience taking the road less traveled.