As tens of millions of Chinese converged on bus and railway stations last week, 42-year-old Pan Shancu decided to make his own way home for the Lunar New Year holiday – by running 211km (131 miles) across eastern China.
Pan, who owns a massage shop in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, took a little under 27 hours to complete the mammoth journey – equivalent to five regular marathons – to his hometown in Tiantai county, also in Zhejiang, Qianjiang Evening News reported on Tuesday.
“I think running is more fun than driving or taking buses, and you can appreciate the scenery along the way,” he was quoted as saying.
The keen amateur athlete set out just before 4.15am on Thursday and arrived home at about 7am the next day. He would have got there a little sooner, but decided to stop off for a bowl of noodles a few hours from the finish line.
Despite having experience of tackling extreme distances, Pan said his latest run was gruelling at times.
“I ran a 130km ultramarathon over the new year, which took 16 hours and 27 minutes, and I felt all right afterwards,” he said.
But having to carry a 9kg (20lb) backpack filled with energy bars, sugary drinks and pickled vegetables to keep him going along the way, as well as clothes he bought as gifts for his mother and elder sister, took its toll.
“Towards the end, I was hungry, thirsty, and miserable,” he said.
Earlier on in the journey, Pan’s spirits were higher, and he even made a detour to Shaoxing, a city with a rich cultural history, to rest awhile and take some photographs, the report said.
Despite that pleasant interlude, Pan said he would not be repeating his run any time soon.
“It was really painful. Running that route once is enough,” he wrote in a social media post after the event.