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The JMSC breeds more than just journalists — it’s also helped foster the birth of an unusual marathon-running partnership.
Marco Lui and Monami Yui both graduated with a Master of Journalism degree in 2009, and both found jobs with the Bloomberg news service. Although Marco is based in Hong Kong and Monami is in Tokyo, they meet periodically to run ultramarathons together.
“I started running in summer 2010,” said Lui. “At that time I could barely jog three kilometres and was looking for a physical challenge.”
“I saw a company e-mail saying it would sponsor employees to participate in the UNICEF Hong Kong charity run in November as part of its corporate social responsibility project. I thought it was a great idea to keep yourself fit and help others at the same time.”
Lui trained and completed his first half-marathon (21km) in 2 hours. Since then he’s been hooked.
Inspired by Lui’s half marathon, Yui started to run too and a running partnership developed.
They ran the Borneo Marathon in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, in May this year.
“The race started at 4am and the weather was perfect at around the mid-20-degree Celsius mark,” said Lui. “But by 8am the sun had climbed and the temperature rose to 30-ish. We crawled through the finishing line at 5 hours 20 minutes.”
Not to be put off, the intrepid pair flew to Mongolia’s Lake Hovsgol to join the Mongolia Sunrise and Sunset 100 km ultramarathon race. Through sponsorship, they raised US$300 for the preservation of Lake Hovsgol National Park.
“It was an amazing experience to compete in such a beautiful nature, surrounded by mountains and the world’s second largest lake,” said Lui.
“We took 16 and a half hours to reach the 88km check point, 30 minutes behind the official cut-off time. We were disqualified and exhausted but felt more satisfied than ever. Mongolia is definitely a place we will come back to – to finish the race and explore the rest of the vast country.”
The pair are currently preparing for the Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail Race next February. They plan to run it for the charity Shoe 4 Africa, which aims to build the first children’s hospital in Kenya. So far, they have raised US$600 out of a target of $1,500.
The pair, who met at the JMSC, formed a tight friendship based on their love of the same sport.
At Bloomberg News, Yui currently covers foreign currencies and the Japan bond market in Tokyo, while Lui is on the headline team in Hong Kong, sending headlines and writing quick breaking news stories.
They used to train together in Hong Kong on weekends, running for up to eight hours across the city’s mountain trails. Yui has continued her training in Tokyo.
“Monami is my best running partner,” said Lui. “We train and finish races together. In long-distance running there can be many surprises such as weather changes, injuries and water and food intake which can severely affect your performance. We know each other’s mental and physical condition well and look after each other during the race.”