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Prominent running athletes of WHU
Author:Gao Yu, Xu Yirui & She Junyi  Date:2021-12-17  Clicks:

Wuhan University always adheres to physical education policy and trains many excellent athletes who win honors for the university. On November 19, the Luojia Team, a collective of high-level long-distance runners in WHU, earned first place in the Central China Regional Race of 2021 China Universities 100 Miles Relay. We interviewed four prominent long-distance runners from the Luojia Team to learn more about their stories.

JI Shixin: long-distance running is my life mentor

“Look ahead! Look ahead! Keep holding on! Very good!” Ji Shixin, the president of the Long-distance Running Association of WHU, was cheering for her teammates during the Central China Regional Race of 2021 China Universities 100 Miles Relay. Over the past ten years, Ji has become a shining star in the running circle of domestic universities and won many awards.

In fifth grade, her mother encouraged her to join the track and field team of her primary school. From then on, her talent showed, and she soon surpassed her peers. She was recommended to learn from top Chinese athletes and became a professional athlete. Unlike ordinary students, running accompanied Ji’s growth and studies.


Ji Shixin

Yet, it was not all plain sailing. In her first big competition, to her surprise, she lost badly. After the race, the little girl asked herself if she could continue to persevere. Undoubtedly, Ji got a positive answer from the bottom of her heart, so she persisted in training for the next four months. In the next competition, she won the championship.

When it comes to the effect of running, Ji said running taught her a lot. “Can you hold on?” These words have accompanied her through countless setbacks. Whenever she faced challenges in life, she would think of herself being injured but still finishing the whole race on the sports field. “I would think that since I could persist at that time, there would be no difficulties that I could not overcome.”

In addition, long-distance running needs long-term accumulation. So Ji practices seven times a week, which prompts her to be self-disciplined and determined. “I never start doing things until the deadline.” She said, “Long-distance running is like a life mentor for me.” It taught her to believe in the power of courage, persistence, and being down-to-earth, which influenced her a lot. When Ji entered the School of Economics and Management, she had the lowest scores, but she fully believed that she wouldn’t stop there. Now, after three years’ hard work, she ranks in the top 20 among hundreds of students in the school.

“When I look back on ten years’ running experience, there was an extraordinary love for it,” Ji said with a smile. In recent years, marathon is very popular in China. As the president of the Long-distance Running Association of Wuhan University, Ji is committed to promoting long-distance running in the university, hoping that everyone would participate in this activity and fall in love with sports.

Wang Yiyi: life is running

Wang Yiyi is a sophomore in the School of Economics and Management. When talking about running, there is an infectious and appealing light in this beautiful girl’s eyes.


Wang Yiyi

When someone finds a beloved thing, everything happens quickly and naturally. “I didn't pick up running until my sophomore year, but I fell in love with it within a few months.” Before college, Wang didn’t think she was good at running. In sophomore year, she started to exercise by chance and was surprised that she could easily run three or even ten kilometers. Then, in a small competition, she was selected by the coach, and from then on, she started to persist in running ten kilometers every morning for six years.

Running has become a special way for her to communicate with life. While studying in Chongqing, she successfully ran on the playgrounds of all universities and all the scenic spots in Chongqing. “This is my way to experience the culture of the city.” Now, when she is in a bad mood, she would directly pick up her sports bag and go running on the playground, which helps her relieve pressure and unhappiness.

“I enjoy running very much. It gives me a lot,” Wang said. “First of all, running makes me very healthy. Since I started exercising, I have hardly been sick, and I even gained muscle. I love who I am now to the extreme.” In addition, it made her more confident and changed her view of gains and losses. “I used to be very results-oriented. When I was in high school, if I didn’t get first in an exam, I would cry in my room for a long time. However, after six years of running, I enjoy the process more. As long as I do my best, the result doesn’t matter.” “Life is like running, right?” She said sweetly and calmly, like a philosopher.

More importantly, running has brought her a great group of friends. “I have met almost all of my best friends through running. And I can’t wait to share their stories with you!” she said excitedly. She also mentioned her coach, who accompanied her to practice at the playground at 6:30 a.m. every morning to help her adjust her rhythm, and shared their story when they took part in competitions across the country. “It was like leveling up in a game. That was very exciting!” Her amazing personal best was witnessed by all her teammates before an important race. “One person runs fast, while a group of people runs far. They strongly encouraged me!” Wang added. “This is about a deep relationship, not just about running.”

Sometimes people would like to compare hobbies to decompression tools, ways to be happy, even close friends or teachers, to express what they have gained. When Wang was asked this question, she thought for a long time and said with a sweet smile, “I can’t describe our relationship accurately. But I firmly believe that running will be my lifelong love.

Zou Xingze: Running is like a friend of mine

Zou Xingze, a junior student from the School of Electronic Information, now takes the leading role in Luojia Team. He has received many honors in sports, especially winning the first prize in the men’s 5000m event as well as the men’s 1500m event in the last two years’ sports meeting of WHU. But what may be surprising is that the champion has been involved with long-distance running for only three years.

When Zou was a freshman three years ago, he signed up for the men’s 3000m event of the sports meeting of the School of Electronic Information and won the first prize, for which the WHU Long-distance Running Association had sent him an invitation. Impacted by COVID-19, Zou didn’t participate in formal training until the second half of 2020. From 2020 till now, he has not only maintained high-intensity training with his teammates, but also learnt theoretical knowledge and read the autobiography of famous athletes. “It’s essential to summarize your own methods,” Zou emphasized.

When asked about the most impressive thing concerning running, Zou’s answer is his team. “The first time I came to the team, I was embraced by the warm and progressive atmosphere of the association. The seniors did not treat me differently for being a newcomer, but shared experience without reservation to help me improve.” In fact, Zou’s long-distance running has not gone smoothly. He remembered that at the beginning, he did not master the technique but only had a passion for running. Because of unreasonable training methods, injuries were always inevitable. Once, on a winter day, Zou did not do warm up exercises before running, which led to cramps in the middle of the run. He began to doubt whether he was suitable for running and considered giving up. However, it was the encouragement and assistance from his team that got him out of the woods. “Too many teammates have helped me. Such as Ji, she lent me her assistance recovery device and introduced some effective medicine when I was injured,” Zou said. “Words fail to express my gratitude for my teammates.”


Luojia Team

“If I need to choose a word to describe long-distance running, a ‘friend’ would be the best. It changes me both physically and mentally.” On the one hand, running strengthened Zou’s body and made him more energetic. “I liked playing computer games in my spare time before, which was just to kill time. However, after I started running, I found something in which I truly immerse myself and my whole person has become vibrant.” On the other hand, from a team member to a leader, the role transition also brought Zou growth. “I have become more mature in dealing with team affairs, such as constructing team spirit and uniting team members. What’s more, through running, I have also formed many close relationships with like-minded runners from other universities, which broadened my horizons to a great extent.”


Zou Xingze

As a non-sports specialty student, the balance between running and study matters for Zou. “I gave up many unimportant things in order to devote more energy to studying and training. Running is more like a seasoning in my life. It is not the whole of my life, but an indispensable beam of light,” Zou said.

Referring to his future plans, Zou said he wanted to grow with the association. Since the original intention of the WHU Long-distance Running Association is to permeate the concept of sunshine sports, he wants to call on students to get out of their dormitories and join in running, improving their physical condition. Besides, Zou also intends to cooperate with other associations to achieve greater integration, for example, improving physical fitness through running and training specific skills in the Student Orienteering Movement Association. And for the Luojia Team, Zou hopes they can obtain better grades not only in Wuhan, but all over China.

Wang Jianglin: Running brings out the best of me

Wang Jianglin’s friends like to call him Dada. He came to WHU to study for a doctorate in 2018, and has been running since his postgraduate stage. During this time, he has been participating in the China Universities 100 Miles Relay and has received good results.


Wang Jianglin

Dada also undertook the preparations of the China Universities 100 Miles Relay in 2019 and 2020. There are two major difficulties in organizing such an event, according to him. One is to gather enough qualified runners who meet the required standards, and the other is to find sponsors. For the latter one, Dada and his teammates once requested Mr. Lei Jun, the founder of Xiaomi Cooperation and also an alumnus of WHU, to sponsor the race. Mr. Lei allocated the required funds to them in person. And then the team expanded rapidly with the help of Mr. Lei and other sponsors.

Dada mentioned that members of the Luojia Team would help each other and be self-disciplined together during training. During competitions, they will also tolerate each other and cheer on each other heartily. In the process of long-distance running, Dada felt that it was just like a talk to himself and running forward desperately was like a battle. Such a thrilling game and a close friendship are the most impressive things to Dada. He also mentioned alumni who participated in offline competitions in 2018 and 2019. Those events are unforgettable because they showed the elders’ care for the younger generation, and the younger’s respect for the elder in return.

Does long-distance running bring Dada any benefits? He believed that the most important thing he learned was self-discipline. It didn’t matter whether it was summer or winter, windy or rainy, too hot or too cold. He and his teammates just persevered in the long-distance running training. Sense of time is a significant gain as well. Now, Dada can make better arrangements when things must be completed by a given time. After long-distance running training, Dada’s entire mental outlook was getting better, too.

Dada also gives some suggestions to long-distance runners. “They should have a balanced and reasonable diet and add appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, rather than overeating.” Besides, he hoped that the team members would try their best to keep training and consider running as a habit. Even if they don’t participate in events in the future, they should also insist on running and exercise to keep fit.

It is because of the sweat and tears they shed that the athletes of WHU could win so many honors and awards. Most interviewed runners claimed that running was the best choice for them to make, and they regard the friendship, spirits and experiences gained in running as precious gifts. Many of them enjoyed the course and became more vigorous because of running.

Photo by Ji Shixin, Wang Yiyi, Zou Xingze & Wang Jianglin

Edited by Li Hefeng, Qin Zehao, Zhang Yilin, Sylvia and Hu Sijia


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