Former president Ma joins Matsu marathon

Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (???) participated in a marathon in the outlying Matsu Islands on Saturday along with 1,500 runners, saying the race will contribute to sports development.

Also running a Facebook Live broadcast during the event, Ma said he was very happy to take part in the marathon, adding that it was not easy to hold a race like this in an offshore island that is so far away from Taiwan.

He said he believed that the 2nd Annual Matsu International Marathon, attended by runners from countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Kenya and China, could boost sports development.

The marathon includes a competitive full marathon (42 kilometers), a half marathon (21 km) and a 10-km run. Ma was not enrolled in any of them but only ran casually for a few kilometers.

The races took runners to the islands' historic sites, such as Tunnel 88, an abandoned military tunnel that is now a wine cellar, and Beihai Tunnel, which was used by the Republic of China Army as an underground wharf for supply boats in the 1960s.

Runners also passed by Iron Fort, where Taiwan's amphibious reconnaissance team (frogmen) used to be stationed, and the Queen of Heaven Temple, which is devoted to the worship of Mazu, Goddess of the Sea.

The top three finishers in the marathon group will receive NT$50,000 (US$1,589), NT$25,000 and NT$20,000, respectively, in cash prizes, according to the organizers.

The top three winners in the half marathon group will get NT$25,000, NT$15,000 and NT$10,000, respectively, while the top three winners in the 10-km run will receive NT$5,000, NT$3,000 and NT$2,000, respectively.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel