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8-Year-Old Girl Runs 60 kilometers Per Day
    2007-01-24 20:01:22     CRIENGLISH.com

Zhang Jianmin cycles alongside his daughter for her marathon training that starts from 6:30 in the morning every day on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 [Photo: hinews.cn]

As other elementary school students have begun a life of leisure during their winter holiday, 8-year-old Zhang Hunmin is even busier than usual because her father has asked her to attempt a 60-kilometer run every day.

Zhang Huimin, from south China's Haikou city, astonished the public with her performance during the marathon New Year's Day. The girl crossed the finish line after 3 hours, 28 minutes and 45 seconds, only 19 seconds behind the winner of the race.

Realizing his daughter's talent in sports, Zhang Huimin's father Zhang Jianmin explained his 60-kilometers/day exercise plan to a reporter from Nanguo Metropolitan Newspaper. As he explains, Zhang Huimin starts running at 6:30 in the morning every day. She gets a break after running 45-kilometers. From two to three o' clock in the afternoon she begins the second part of training, finishing up the remaining distance for the day. Overall, the goal is for Zhang Huimin to run a total of 800 kilometers within half a month.

Zhang Jianmin also told the reporter his daughter is very pleased with the strenuous routine and has the courage to achieve this goal. Meanwhile, he prepares two running suits, three pairs of shoes, milk powder and her favorite food.

However, many netizens have urged Zhang Jianmin to give up his strict regimen, which they say would inflict severe pain on the physically immature girl. They believe Zhang Jianmin cannot afford to risk his daughter suffering any harm during the harsh course to advancement.

Though unsupported, Zhang Jianmin insists his plan was made according to his young daughter's true ability. He adds she looks good after her daily exercises and that nothing unusual has happened yet. But, this leads him to the conclusion that his daughter is not exerting enough effort in her training, and that perhaps he should increase her daily goal.

Zhang Jianmin says his training routine is not compulsory and that his daughter can decide whether or not to continue. But, at this point, is it a good idea to adjust the little girl's training according to her personal feelings alone?

Nanguo Metropolitan Newspaper interviewed a PE teacher at Hainan University, Xiao Shuiping. Xiao says marathon training can help young minds develop persistence. But, on the other hand, it's not a good idea to make a child do large amounts of exercise, which could inflict too much pressure on their heart.

Generally speaking, participants in marathons should be above 14 years old and physically mature so they can endure the special training.

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