They say that running can be like a form of meditation for athletes. And Leung Ho-chun certainly has a very Zen approach to his sport.
“Running is similar to life,” says the 17-year-old running star from Wah Yan College, Kowloon.
“There are always obstacles in front of us that we can only get past by breaking through them. If we don’t persist and continue on our way, all our previous efforts will be wasted.”
With such a strong connection to his sport, it’s no wonder Ho-chun has found such success in his five years of competing in athletics. He runs the 800-metre and the 400-metre, and now represents Hong Kong on the national athletics team.
“There are many great runners in Hong Kong and I have worked very hard for years to get to this stage,” Ho-chun says. “I am proud to be a Hong Kong team runner and compete at the international level.”
He also still competes in inter-school competitions. At the Inter School Division I Competition at the end of last month, Ho-chun led his team to victory. “I won three gold medals for my school while breaking two records in 800-metre and the 4x400-metre relay,” he says.
With an 800-metre run time of 1 minute 55.58-seconds, Ho-chun broke the Inter-School Athletics record for the event, and now has his eyes set on the Hong Kong Junior Record, 1:54.54.
But to achieve that goal, he needs to be mindful of the risks involved in his sport.
“The biggest challenge in running is injury,” he says. “Since I have to train five days a week, and I do medium to high-intensity programmes in each session, I have to be very careful during practice, and do extensive post-training stretching and cool-down exercises to avoid any injuries.”
Ho-chun says that in the past he was less careful about taking care of his body, and that led to severe consequences. “I once hurt my back and pulled my hamstring,” he says.
“That stopped me from running for a few months, which forced me to miss several important races.”
But Ho-chun says that the rewards of his chosen sport make its risks worthwhile.
“I’ve conquered personal goals through athletics and it’s brought me things I never dreamed of,” he says. “It gives me self-confidence, success and pride, while posing some big challenges, and I enjoy the pleasure and satisfaction from overcoming them.”
What song/movie title best describes you when you run?
I watched the Korean movie Marathon a few years ago, which tells the real-life story of a guy who suffers from autism. He tried different ways to get over the problem, but it was running that gave him a new life.
He was very persistent in and dedicated to running and that inspired me a lot. I learned from his story, and try not to give up easily when I lose or face strong opponents.
I should be courageous and confident to overcome the challenges ahead of me in the race and in my life.
If you could have any superpower for one day, what would you choose and how would you use it?
Unlimited energy, so that I would confident enough to complete everything, and would not feel tired. And I would choose to use this special power when I am competing, so I can be in great form to break the Hong Kong Record, or even the World Record, and take a gold medal in the World Championships for Hong Kong, which is one of my dreams.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Sports equipment, which is essential to any sportsperson. High-tech products will not only raise an athlete’s performance level, but different products cater to different needs for different training and competitions.
For instance, a pair of cushioned running shoes is good for endurance training, while a pair of racers is useful in speed work and important for road races.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Sports brands such as Nike, Adidas, and running-related products like running shoes, spike shoes, and so on. I’d test the products to understand their benefits before introducing them to the general public. That way I could help the public find the right products so they’d see running not just as a way to keep fit, but as a competitive sport.