An Ethiopian runner has become a star on Chinese social media after he won the Songshan Shaolin International Marathon in Henan Province on Oct. 29 in a pair of battered sandals.
The runner, Amogne Sendeku Alelgn, won the men’s competition with a result of 2 hours, 28 minutes, and 2 seconds. He received a medal blessed by a senior monk at the Shaolin Temple, as well as 20,000 yuan. Photos of him running in a pair of blue sandals were later posted on Chinese social media platforms, garnering thousands of comments, many of which called them his “magic weapon.”
“The African runner is truly talented. Compared to the other competitors with much better running equipment, his sandals seem to be a fair statement of his true ability, telling the world that a good runner can win without any outside assistance,” wrote a netizen on Sina Weibo.
“It may sound silly to ask, but I wonder whether the sandals can actually help the runner to boost his stamina?” wrote another netizen, who added that Alelgn also won last week’s Jingyuan International Marathon in Gansu Province with the same pair of shoes.
Intrigued by his Chinese fans’ questions, Alelgn said the sandals have no special power, giving the credit of his success to good luck, according to People’s Daily Online.