Taking part in the 10km race at the Hong Kong Marathon on Sunday has inspired three mainland students so much, they might run in the Shanghai event in November. Xiao Zhou, 23, Ah Liang, 21, and Xiao Yong, 22, all come from villages in Hunan province that have been devastated by HIV/Aids. In the 1990s poor farmers sold their blood for use in hospitals. But the unhygienic methods that were used led to the death of many farmers from Aids, while others are living with HIV, including the parents of these three runners. Two of them are studying at university, while the other is at a technical college on the mainland. Their education is supported by the Chi Heng Foundation, which helps provide education, food and medicine to Aids-hit villages in central China. The Hong Kong Marathon was sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, which also provided transport and accommodation for the trio. It was their first visit to Hong Kong and the first time they had seen the sea. The young men said they were really enjoying the opportunity to eat seafood and other Hong Kong delicacies. 'I was so excited about doing this run,' said Ah Liang. 'Because you're surrounded by so many people it feels like you're running with a group of friends, so I didn't feel tired. It was such a friendly environment.' Xiao Yong said he could feel the energy of running with so many people. 'I think that people should work harder on exercise. If I had the chance again I would do the half-marathon,' he said. His father died of Aids four years ago and his mother left the family, unable to cope with the discrimination from other villagers. 'I thought about my father during the race. If he was alive, I don't think he would say anything about me running. He would look at me with confidence,' Xiao said. Mark Julien, associate director for corporate client relationships at Standard Chartered Bank China, said the idea to involve the three runners came on World Aids Day on December 1. 'I'd like to think in the future that we can get them to the 10km in Shanghai in November,' he said. Chi Heng founder, Chung To, said that it was all about enhancing the self-esteem of Aids-affected young people, who face a lot of prejudice in their home villages. All three men go back to their villages during the summer break to talk to young children, helping them to understand that they can have a bright future, said Mr To.