Elite feet

Updated: 2013-12-29 10:58

By Wu Ni (China Daily)

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Elite feet

Participants from around the country gather at the starting line at the 2013 Hangzhou International Marathon on Nov 3. Shi Jianxue / for China Daily

The wealthy are swapping golf courses for racetracks. Wu Ni reports in Hangzhou.

A new vogue among China's rich is trading the relatively relaxing sport of golf for grueling races in which they can flash cash for opportunities to post online photos of themselves crossing finish lines, dribbling sweat.

Zhejiang-based Kunlun Properties' president Ye Jian started running last year and has since remained an active member of an entrepreneurs' running group he organized.

Elite feet
Dashing forward

"I think it's a natural result of China's rapid development," the 36-year-old says.

"Quality living in the past meant a feast. Now it means the psychological pursuit of overcoming limitations and experiencing different lifestyles."

Ye says he could only run 2 kilometers before. But after a month of routinely jogging, he set a personal record of 10 km.

"I felt like throwing up at the finish line. But I also felt the unspeakable joy of conquering my limits."

Ye's running partners are about 30 company executives and senior managers, many of whom have switched from golf to running. He points out running is more flexible and less time-consuming.

The executives cheer on one another, and chat about life and business before and after the runs, Ye says. He believes the activity enables them to interact more intimately.

It's not easy for businesspeople to schedule to meet two or three times a week.

"But there is always time to run if you squeeze it in as a must-do part of your job," Ye explains.

He once flew back to Zhejiang province's Hangzhou to join a run while on business in Hong Kong.

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