We Run HK: Davis Dai Kim-ping

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 11:11am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 5:50pm

The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, which started in 1997 with a humble 1,000 runners, has grown into a running festival with 73,000 racers expected to take part this year. To celebrate the city's passion for the sport, we'll be featuring one inspirational runner each week until the race on February 16.

After being hit by a truck, Davis Dai Kim-ping awoke from a two-day coma to learn he'd lost his right leg. He would never run again, doctors said. He was 11 years old.

That was 29 years ago, and Dai has been defying the odds ever since. Not only does the 40-year-old run, he swims, rows and cycles. He has represented Hong Kong in international competition three times. In 2002, despite only swimming for a year, he competed in the Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled in South Korea. In 2006 and 2007 he raced in the World Rowing Championships.

But of all sports, it's running that's captured his heart. He's taken part in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon every year since 2004. Last year, he became the first local amputee runner to compete in the half-marathon.

I was inspired to run for the first time 10 years ago. I was in Tsim Sha Tsui celebrating a friend's birthday on the same day as the Hong Kong Marathon.

The street was full of all different kinds of runners, including some who were disabled. That scene made me realise I could run with them, too. So I started to run to simply see if I could. I wanted to test my ability.

Before I started, I thought it would be hard with a prosthetic leg. But when I finally tried, I realised I could do it. In 2005, I took part in an aquathon in Tuen Mun and was the only disabled participant. I ran five kilometres and swam 500 metres in 50 minutes.

My most unforgettable running experience was taking part in the Hong Kong Marathon last year. It was my first time in the half-marathon and I ran it with my wife. She is a strong runner and could have done the full marathon, but she joined me instead. She was watching out for me, making sure I was drinking enough. Her presence brought me a lot of energy.

I am running the half-marathon again this year. Like last year, I will be the only disabled runner competing in the distance. I've taken part in the Hong Kong marathon race for 10 years running; it's become my habit.

My first thought when I cross the finish line will be relief at knowing I have completed my mission. My second thought will be to strike a good pose when I face the camera.

I have been inspired over the years by seeing other people with disabilities taking part in sports - it's what motivates me.

I think I will always train and participate in different sports. My goal is to encourage more people to take part, no matter what their abilities.

If I didn't run, I would still find a way to be active. I have just started cycling recently. Despite my disability, I feel just the same as any other able-bodied person.