The annual Taipei Freeway Marathon is slated to return on March 13 and will promote “Face Equality” by advocating for awareness and acceptance of people with physical disfigurements such as burn victims, after the event was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Taipei Freeway Marathon, held on the Wugu-Xizhi section of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway, also known as National Freeway No. 1, includes a full marathon of 42.195km, a half-marathon of 21.0975km, 10km and 3km races, according to the organizers Chinese Taipei Road Running Association and Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation.
The idea of “Face Equality” is a movement to spread awareness that sufferers of physical disfigurement, such as burn victims, deserve the same respect and acceptance as other people in society, in an effort to counter the bullying and harassment many receive, according to the foundation.
Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation was established in 1981 by a group of dedicated individuals and organizations who aimed to change the lives of people with facial disfigurements, as well as raise social awareness about the issue.
Foundation CEO Shu Ching-hsien (舒靜嫻) said the event is a movement to support sufferers.
“In a way, the treatment process for burn victims is just like a marathon as it is drawn out and even painful, but it is something they must continue to do, to push on and not give up in order to achieve their goal,” Shu said.
Participants in the marathon can run together with burn victims. At the moment, about 120 burn victims have registered to run in this year’s marathon, Shu said.
One of those registered to run in the marathon is Chang Hsin-i (張欣怡), a weight lifting coach, who was bullied at junior high school.
“I used to go to school wearing pressure garments and wrapped in bandages and my classmates used to think I was different,” Chang, who suffered burns to her face and hands in an accident when she was seven years old, told CNA.
“Some classmates would push people into me and say I had skin disease. So that is why since a young age I found the movement for equality for burn victims to be very important,” said Chang, who will run in the half-marathon.
Sunny Chen (陳華恆), Chinese Taipei Road Running Association secretary general, told CNA that the first edition of the annual Taipei Freeway Marathon was held in 1995, but they first started to work with the Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation to promote “Face Equality” in 2018.
The annual marathon has only been canceled twice, in 1999 after a massive earthquake devastated central Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999 and in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chen said.
Registration for the upcoming 2022 Taipei Freeway Marathon closes on Jan. 26.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel