YINCHUAN, May 20 (Xinhua) -- When many friends of his age are suffering from senile diseases, some of whom cannot even walk without external support, Gu Dawo, 74, is running the marathon.
For the second time, Gu shows up as a pacer on Sunday's Internaional Marathon in Yinchuan, the capital city of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Reigon.
"I'm leading the pace and I also want to lead more to participate in this activity," Gu said. He has been quite experienced in marathon running.
The past 2017 was a fruitful year for the 74-year old. Gu went to the United States to run a half marathon in Georgia, and a triathlon in the Ironman 70.3, Chattanooga of Tennessee.
"I was the oldest to complete the triathlon, many jumped cheering when I was introduced to be from China in the award ceremony," He said, showing a video clip recording the big moment he was breasting the tape in Chattanooga.
"A Chinese grandpa of 73 was recorded to be the oldest to complete the Ironman 70.3," A local American website said while many American audience nicknamed him as Chinese Grandpa to set a record.
In the same year, he also competed in marathons in Lanzhou and Xiamen, becoming a running idol for people both old and young.
"Everytime I compete in a marathon, many will come to me and say 'if only I could run like you at your age'," Gu said, adding that young people wish to be as strong as him when they are aged, but always excuse themselves that they are much too busy to exercise.
"One should exercise young. Some of my age envying me of my physique have lost the best time to run for exercises," Gu said.
"I always ran to work when I was young," he added. Since the 1990s, Gu has kept this habit of running and the first time he competed in a race, he won a good money of 20 yuan, which encouraged him a lot.
Since then, he developed a habit to get up at 5am to read, do some washing and running, and go to bed before 10pm.
In order to compete abroad, Gu has been learning English for 10 years by himself. "Now, I can read the competition schedules and procedures all by myself, and also have a basic talk with foreign competitors."
"A strong body requires a healthy lifestyle and reasonable exercises. I spent the time for hospitals in reading and running, and the money for doctors in buying sports equipments like bicycles." He said.
He Chang, one of Gu's fans, also competes in the Yinchaun International Marathon of 2018.
"Gulao (the old Gu) is a living example of the sportsmanship. 'If a grandpa like him could run a marathon, why don't we make a move?' That's what I heard from some young," He said.
China is facing the big challenge of aging population, and Gu Dawo want to encourage the young to exercise more, and also correct their bias against the aged.
"I want to show them that age will not stop the heart and the feet from running ahead," Gu said.