SHANGHAI, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Finishing the race in five hours and 17 minutes, Li Lili, a female athlete who was eight months pregnant, became the center of attention at the Shanghai International Marathon. She called the medal a gift for her upcoming child.
Li began running as a means to combat depression. In Li's view, running is a process of continuous self-reflection.
"All psychological problems depend on ourselves. After thorough reflection during running, the shadow in my heart was dispelled," Li said.
Li found happiness and confidence again as running has become a necessity in her life. She started running in 2010, and Li completed her first marathon just one year later. In the past eight years, she has finished 62 marathons with personal best (PB) of three hours and 28 minutes.
Running not only made Li much happier and healthier, but also helped her find a life companion.
In summer 2015, Li joined a non-profit organization for visually impaired runners, where she met her husband Wang Shiwu.
Conquering depression, Li decided to embrace a new challenge -- to race a marathon during pregnancy at the age of 40.
As a professional runner, Li kept running more than 300 kilometers a month for eight years. After falling pregnant, Li stopped training, but her body seemed not able to adapt to the sudden change.
"I feel painful all over my body," she said.
After consulting professionals, Li decided to resume her exercise habit. With the help of braces and leggings, Li continued jogging into the late stages of her pregnancy.
Sharing the same hobby, her husband always stood behind her, giving her full support. The couple chose to finish their tour at the Shanghai Marathon together, cheering for each other during the race.
Needing two hours and 52 minutes to cross the finish line, Wang Shiwu broke his personal best. As soon as reaching the end, Wang rented a bike and rode back to find his wife. Accompanied by her husband, Li jogged across the finish line.
Li canceled most of her competition plans this year due to her pregnancy, but it was hard for her to give up the Shanghai Marathon, where she got a wild card as an elite runner. In addition, the flat track and well-appointed health care facilities at the Shanghai Marathon made it a perfect choice for her.
"Even though I'm pregnant, I can still prove my own value," Li said. "Health, optimism and perseverance. All these are what I want to convey to my baby through running."