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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chinese marathon running

Check out this article on Zhou Chunxiu after her victory in the London Marathon.

It talks about her weekly training distance, a staggering 300 km a week! That is effectively one marathon a day, no rest! She says it's broken up into two sessions a day, covering about 50 km in total.

One wonders how much influence the famous turtle blood has on her ability to sustain such high mileage, because physiologically, it is almost impossible. Of course, there are exceptions, and in a nation of a billion people, it's not impossible that one would be able to handle this. But, given the history and the legacy left by the Chinese women of the early 1990's, I'm sceptical.

Also, interesting how the Chinese government takes 40% of the appearance fees AND prize money to re-invest into future athlete development. It won't all be going to her development, because other Chinese athletes will never even smell the kind of money she earned, but it is an unusual system for handling professional athletes. I wonder if we did that in South Africa whether it would be accepted by the athletes, managers and coaches. Can't see it happening...