In runner Yuen Ho-yin's case, it's the story of a "sports failure" who becomes the "prince of long-distance running".
The story begins with Ho-yin's junior secondary life. "I was totally not into sports," he recalls. "I did badly in ball games and water sports. I told myself sport was not for me. It all changed in Form Two when my PE teacher chose me to have training with a coach, and since then I been running."
Ho-yin, 18, gained momentum and gradually became a real threat to top runners. "I started to win more races and then I put in more effort," he says. "I also moved to Diocesan Boys' School, which has better training for running."
But there are only 24 hours in a day, so the long training hours took a toll on his study and he did poorly in the HKCEE. "It was a shock, and I decided to repeat Form Five and concentrate on the exams."
The exam setback did not affect Ho-yin's running for too long. He soon regained his form and last year claimed the title in the inter-school cross country competition and his first All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Cross Country Tournament title. He also broke the Hong Kong half marathon junior record and holds the junior titles for the 3,000-metre steeplechase and half marathon.
The key elements of Ho-Yin's success are probably his determination and hard work. To maintain his fitness he has to run 100km a week except during competition periods. So he runs 8km every morning before he goes to school, plus his regular practice.
There beside him is his best friend, long-distance runner Ng Chung-yin. Chung-yin follows Ho-Yin on his bike and monitors his heart rate and records the distance he has run.
After time out because of tendon problems, Ho-yin was victorious in last month's Standard Chartered Marathon junior 10km race. The win increased his fame, and now some pedestrians greet him as he runs along the streets.
But school competitions are still more important to him. "This year I chose to run in just the 10km because I wanted to stay fresh for the inter-school race," Ho-yin says.
He failed to break the 1,500km record on day one of the championship but will try again on the final day on Friday.
You can support Ho-yin at the Wan Chai Sports Ground. Admission is free.