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Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

Bodybuilding champion and model ‘spider woman’ to give 10k race a spin at Hong Kong Marathon

The 31-year-old mother of four who also practises Muay Thai and taekwondo will try her hand at distance running this weekend

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 8:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 11:15am

She is a mother of four known as “spider woman”, a Hong Kong bodybuilding champion who also practises Muay Thai, taekwondo and rock climbing.

But now Lisa Cheng Lai-sho is trying her hand at a new challenge.

Sunday’s Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon will be the 31-year-old’s first 10-kilometre race, having only recently turned to distance running.

“I have been known as ‘spider woman’ for my involvement in different sports, just like spiders that have many legs and also my rock climbing skills like a spider,” said Cheng, who is also a part-time model.

“I used to run only short distance intervals for improving my explosive power and am never brave enough to try distance running as it is very demanding for stamina, but recently I have been invited to some charity long-distance races and it was not that terrible. More importantly, the results were not too bad.

“And after consulting many of my friends who are experts in this area, I decided to give a try.”

Cheng started rock climbing at the age of 12, with her long limbs giving her an advantage, and she was an athletics champion in secondary school before taking up bodybuilding and other sports.

Veteran distance runner Chan Ka-ho, who has known Cheng for more than a decade, is one of those friends who pushed her towards the sport.

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“She has all the basic ingredients as she has been an athlete for a long time and is very committed to training,” said Chan.

“She can join us for a training session as soon as she gets off a plane from her holidays. She is very disciplined. In fact, all I need to give her is the techniques such as running form and pacing.”

Cheng said she still lagged far behind professional runners and would be happy to finish the race within 50 minutes.

“You need to finish in around 40 minutes to get on the podium and I won’t set any target like that,” she said.

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“After all, this is my first 10k race and I would rather enjoy the atmosphere of running together with so many people in a mega event like this.

“Perhaps I might be able to achieve that target of winning medals in four to five years if I keep training but definitely not now.”

Despite committing to so many sports, Cheng has no plans to drop any of them, even though she also has four children, including triplets who were born last year.

“I train different sports on each different day and take care of my kids in the rest of the time. It’s all about how you manage your time,” she said.

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“Of course, I cannot be as focused as before in sports because of my kids, especially the eldest three-year-old boy who always wants to be with me. But it’s a different kind of pleasure which I enjoy very much, just like how I enjoy sports.”

And the mother of four plans to have two more kids to make it six.

“I want a big family. This has been my childhood dream,” she said.