INSPIRED by his late grandmother, a doctor in Penang ran a 250km ultra marathon in Sri Lanka in a bid to raise RM10,000 for Penang Hospice Society.
Dr Jerry Song Zhi Liang, 27, ran his foot race from March 21 to March 27.
“I used to volunteer at the hospice society and saw the many challenges it faced.
“The society needs more support, especially for its home outreach programme,” he said.
Dr Song’s grandmother died in 2012 from pancreatic cancer.
“Home hospice care gave her tremendous support in her end-of-life journey. I believe terminally ill patients have the right to die peacefully with minimal suffering,” he said.
Dr Song is no stranger to running ultra marathons to raise funds.
“This Sri Lanka ultra marathon is my third such event.
“I did my first ultra marathon in the Philippines in 2016 to raise awareness about cleft lip and palate defects.
“In 2017, I did the Xinjiang ultra marathon to raise funds for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation.
“It was a 250km seven-day race along the Silk Road in the Xinjiang province in northwest China.
“The route followed the Tian Shan Mountain range through the pastoral alpine countryside and across the Black Gobi Desert,” he said.
Despite his busy work schedule, Dr Song found time to carry out his training which included hiking and jogging.
“I committed myself to a weekly mileage of 100km and above.
“I had to wake up at 5am on most days to train.
“My usual work schedule is from 7am to 10pm on long shifts; 7am to 5pm for day shifts and if I am on call, I will work from 7pm to 9am the next morning.
“I’m grateful that my superiors at work were supportive,” he said.
Recounting his experience completing the Ultra X Sri Lanka, Dr Song said the scorching heat tested his endurance with the ground temperature between 35°C and 38°C at times.
“There were 53 participants and we ran an average of 50km throughout five days.
“On the first day, we covered 40km; 50km the second day and 50km the third day.
“The fourth day was the toughest as we ran 70km and we finished with 40km on the last day.
“I tried to maintain my pace at 10km in one and a half hours.”
The Sri Lanka race took place in Udawalawe in the Ratnapura district in southern Sri Lanka.
The course took competitors past tea plantations and sugar factories and through rainforests and rushing rivers.
“I was thankful that the local children cheered us on and gave us water along the way.
“The course was very challenging and only 37 of us made it to the end,” he said.
Anyone who wishes to donate to Penang Hospice Society can do so through the society’s CIMB Bank account 8003864144.