GUIYANG, China, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- With the coming of a new semester, Liu Hui, 26, began his career as a physical education teacher of Wuchuan Senior High School in southwest China's Guizhou Province.
It has been a long journey for Liu who chose an unusual route in pursuing higher education and growing into a high school teacher.
"The spirit of marathon inspired me," said Liu, who often takes part in marathons across the country.
Liu started running in 2016 when he was preparing entrance examination for undergraduate courses after he had graduated from junior college in Guizhou.
According to Liu, he 'locked' himself in a narrow rented dwelling and was under tremendous pressure during the preparation period because he could only attend that exam once.
To reduce the pressure, Liu began to run with his friends and fell in love with it.
"Running allowed me to better prepare for the exam," said Liu, adding that Guizhou Normal University finally admitted him as a full-time undergraduate.
In China, most teenagers would attend high school and then participate in China's annual college entrance exam, better known as the Gaokao, which will determine whether they will be admitted to college or not.
But Liu had to choose another path that was totally different from most of his peers.
Born in a farmhouse in Suiyang County, Zunyi City, southwest China's Guizhou province, his mother died of illness when he was under one year old, and his father raised him and his elder brother alone.
In 2010, Liu graduated from middle school. He was an excellent student, but his family was too poor to support both him and his elder brother at school at the same time.
Instead of going to high school, Liu decided to go to a technical secondary school situated in Guiyang, the Capital city of Guizhou Province.
"My father was in bad health because of years of hard work, thus I want to get to work earlier to help him support my family and also take some pressure off him," he said.
Liu's major was hotel management. In 2011, he was assigned to Beijing, China's capital city, for a three-month internship in a hotel as a waiter. And he saw the beauty of the outside world there.
"It was my first time in Beijing. I had never left the town where I grew up until 2010. It was so fantastic," said Liu, adding that he made up his mind to go to college to change his fate and give his family a better life since then.
From 2013 to 2018, Liu attended the upgrading examination, the college entrance examination for undergraduate courses and the postgraduate entrance examination, and was all successfully admitted.
"Thanks to the spirit of the marathon, I overcame all the difficulties and accomplished my dream," he said.
As far as Liu was concerned, marathons are a race against oneself. "The worst enemy of humans is themselves, one who could not defeat himself could defeat nobody else," he said.
In July 2020, Liu graduated from Guizhou Normal University with a master's degree in physical training, and was hired as a PE teacher by a local vocational high school in Suiyang County.
In the summer of 2021, he was recruited by Wuchuan Senior High School.
"I will share my experience with my students and let them know what marathon spirit is," Liu said.
"No matter what profession they will have in the future, as long as they have the support of this spirit, they will proceed as if the limits which hinder their ability did not exist at all." Enditem