Zijun was born with one arm. That makes running a little more challenging than the rest of us because of balance issue. However, Impossible is not a word that can stop this young man. He took up running and changed his life.
He lost a significant amount of weight within 3 months, ran a marathon in Gold Coast, Australia and now appointed as Reebok Malaysia ambassador. There’s nothing that can stop this guy! We have got the exclusive story here.
Tell us a bit of your background? I was born with one arm. I used to wear prosthetic arm since I was a baby. Due to the restriction of the prosthetic arm, I disliked sport/outdoor activities and as a result, I became obese.
When I started working, I met my ex-colleague (Michelle Chan Mun Yee) and she is the one who motivated me to start running and join a gym. I managed to reduce my weight from 75kg to 56kg in 3 months’ time.
What motivate you to start running? My running buddy/ex-colleague, Michelle Chan Mun Yee motivates me to join gym and running. She is an avid runner. I also wish to challenge myself on doing something that I used to say IMPOSSIBLE in the past. I remember when Michelle invited me to register 10km run, my first responds was - "i don't think I can even run 1km". Once I have registered myself for the run, the people around me start teasing me and think that I will give up halfway. But now my achievement proved it to myself and everyone.
Do you still remember your first run? My first run was the NIKE Malaysia We Run KL 2012 (10km), I feel extremely tired and wish to give up half way. I keep questioning myself “Why should I run?”, and at the end I found the answer that I wish to change myself into more sporty and fitter. I don’t wish to be obese and wear nice clothes in front the mirror. Running is not only train my stamina and determination but I get to know myself better too.
Where do you run? How often? How far? If there is no running event, I will train in gym for about 8-15km or running near to the place I stay. Most of the time I will attend group exercise classes (bodystep, bodyjam, bodycombat, bodyattack, bodypump, bodybalance and etc) at least 6-days a week to build up stamina for running.
Was it difficult for you to start? At the beginning, it was difficult because lack of practice and poor stamina. But after few times of running, I found my timing improve to be better and body getting fitter.
What are the challenges that you face when you run as a one armed runner? The most challenging thing is the hills and road with slopes. I am having difficulties on balancing my body when going up/down hills or in speed, some time I might feel like falling backward.
How did you overcome them? I will slow down my speed when going up/down hills or take some rest with some walk/jog. I don’t force myself to run fast but the most important is I can enjoy the running moments.
Briefly tell us about Gold Coast Airport Marathon. Gold Coast Airport Marathon is one of the biggest marathon event in Queensland, Australia. The marathon held during the winter time which is around 10-20 Celsius temperature. The most attractive part is the beach scenery along the marathon route, you can feel the sea-breeze and listen to the sound of sea-wave. Gold Coast Marathon is one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world, its help a lot runners achieve their personal best time. You also can meet the intelligent runners around the world, such as Australia, US, China, Japan, Korea, and etc.
What are the memorable moments in running the Gold Coast Airport Marathon? The most unforgettable memory in Gold Coast marathon is I met one runner from FuZhou, China – Chen Jing, she keep motivate and pace with me from 27km until finishing line. She told me that “Once you completed this first marathon, there is no other thing in life you will be afraid of. Nothing can defeat your determination.”. Gold Coast residents (kids, adults and senior citizen) all stand along the road cheering for the runners, some of them pour the beers or drinks for the runner too.
What are the differences between running in Malaysia and Gold Coast? Running in winter is much more comfortable compared to hot weather, but once you start sweating it could be part of the disadvantage too. I don’t feel tired on running in cold weather for the first 25km. But once my body start sweating and get wet, I felt extremely cold because lack of preparation and wearing short. Running practice preparation in cold is a must for first timer in Gold Coast. Besides that, they had supporters cheers along the road in Gold Coast, you will never feel alone and always stay motivated. Majority of the supporters is their tourists and residents in Gold Coast.
What are the top three reason a runner should run the GCAM?
1. Different experience on running in cold weather (10-20 Celcius)
2. The most flat and easy road for running for personal best timing.
3. Friendly supporters and able get to meet more international running friends.
What are the tips for first time runner in GCAM? Have some warm-up distances run practice to adapt the cold temperature before the marathon. Pace on your own speed and don’t compete with other international runners. Try not to consume too much water in every water station; the marathon have plenty of water station in every 2 - 2.5km distance.
How did you reward yourself after GCAM? I reward myself with some fun and relax tour to theme park (Movie Bro’s, Seaworld), Whales watching and Country Farm. But of course, a good dinner celebration with friends after the marathon is a must.
What are the must see places and must do things when you are in Gold Coast?
1. Whales in Paradise - watching the whales in the center of the blue sea, if lucky enough you could meet dolphin as well.
2. Sea World - it's a good place for family to explore the sea habitats in Gold Coast.
3. Warner Bros Movie World - The Hollywood Stunt Driver shows is a must-watch in this theme park. You also can meet the childhood hero and cartoon character like Batman, Superman, Scooby-Doo, Daffy duck and etc. If you love roller-coaster and some adventurous game can consider about this place.
4. Paradise Country Farm - This is the best place for you to get near with koala and kangaroo! There is few interesting show like sheep shearing and Stockmen & Sheep Dog Show that you shouldn't miss.
5. Skypoint observation desk - View the scenery of Gold Coast from 230 metres off the ground.
6. Beachfront market in Surfer's Paradise Foreshore (Wed, Fri, Sun 4-9pm) - here is the night market for Gold Coast, you can find a lot interesting items such as magic toys, paints, perfume, soaps and etc.
How long have you been a Reebok ambassador? I started to join Reebok family in September 2013. I’m grateful that Reebok Malaysia spotted me through their Reebok One Challenge running event registration. I know the run is full of obstacles but I wish to challenge myself on something new and my fitness level. My spirit and determination highly appreciated by Reebok Malaysia.
What is your role as the ambassador? There is no special request from Reebok; they sponsored me so that I can enjoy running, exercise and daily life. In the Reebok Ambassador family, I am representing as a sportsman and runner. I just need to wear Reebok apparel and sport gears in any sport activities like running, gym and etc.
What is your favourite running gear? My top favourite running shoe is Reebok One Cushion that helps me on achieving few PB (personal best) timing during run. Besides that, Reebok ZigTech and RealFlex shoes series is part of my favourite collection for gym training.
You know you are a runner when... you know you are a runner when you completed the run with sweats and tears. The joy of achievement is indescribable.
Best advice a fellow runner has given you. "If you never try, you will never know how much fun it would be" – by Michelle Chan Mun Yee that inspired me to start exercise and running.
Best advice you have given a fellow runner. "If you can’t run, you can choose to walk. If you can’t walk, you only can choose run. Keep running and never give up."
Your resolution/ plan/ target in 2014. In year 2014, there are a few goals that I wish to achieve. First of all is to run few full marathon (second time) in Malaysia and keep improving my running records. Second is to build up some body muscle and be fitter. Third is to inspire and motivate more people to join running and the importance of exercise.
Message from you to the readers of this blog. Disability is not a limitation. Nothing can stop us from doing what we love because all men are created equally. At the starting line, you may find yourself with thousands of excuses. But at the end of the line, you will find yourself with limitless amount of satisfaction.
Follow Zijun at
Instagram ID: ckloh1989
The 36th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be staged on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 July 2014 in one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world in Queensland, Australia.
Find out more about Gold Coast Airport Marathon at http://www.facebook.com/GCMarathon and http://www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au
For those keen to run #GCAM14, there is a special 5/7DAYS RUN GOLD COAST tour package fr RM2,358 which includes:
Accommodation @ Wyndham apartment or similar (3 or 5 nights)For details, click HERE.
Return airfares to Gold Coast with AirAsia X
Applicable government/airport taxes and fuel surcharge *
20Kg checked in baggage & 7kg hand-luggage
Return airport transfer at Gold Coast
Return transfer to Sport Expo (collection of race kit)
One-way transfer to race starting point on 06th July