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            Indefatigable pensioner is happily living life at her own pace

            Xinhua | Updated: 2022-10-13 08:05
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            Yang Xiuyun (left), a 72-year-old running enthusiast in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, exercises with her friends.[Photo/Xinhua]

            Yang Xiuyun, 72, is enthusiastic about running. A 10-kilometer run in the morning is as important to her as the 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.

            "Life is like a marathon. I'm just racing against the clock," says Yang, who has been running consistently for 22 years. The elderly woman 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, even when it was windy or rainy.

            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, 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 running 5 km, then 10 km to 20 km and, finally, a full marathon, the distance that Yang was able to cover became longer and longer. At the same time, her circle of running friends also grew.

            "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 says with a smile. Now she feels empty if a day passes without seeing her runner friends.

            Running every 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 spend long hours working in a noisy and messy environment, and she was always tired after work, but running changed her. In 2006, Yang joined the Nanchang Distance Running Association and became one of its first members.

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