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Darlington Retiree Achieving Marathon Success

Posted 22 July 2022 by Keith Osborne

McCarthy Stone resident Mr Sun is continuing his marathon ambitions, with the help of six-year-old Watson...

A Darlington man, a resident at McCarthy Stone’s Swinden Court retirement development, is still running marathons in his 60s, with adopted dog, Watson, in tow.

“I believe anybody can run, it’s just a case of learning how. And it’s my mission – to help others.”

In 2015, Ruiping Sun, a local man then an engineer and aged 55, faced several health problems which saw him take matters into his own hands and embark on a healthier lifestyle. Ruiping took to running and soon lost 60 pounds in weight and since then hasn’t looked back.

Moving to the UK to follow his wife, work, Ruiping spent months looking for the right place to live and enjoy his retirement before finding Swinden Court. New one-bedroom apartments there currently start from £171,499 and flexible rental options are also available.

Now 62, Ruiping said: “My mentality changed when I read the book ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougull. All of a sudden, I started to look at running different – I reassessed my form as sometimes the smallest of changes, such as foot placement or the type of shoe, can make the biggest difference. I almost immediately felt a change in not only how far I could run, but it also had a positive effect on my wellbeing and emotions.

“I truly believe anybody, of any age, can run. It’s just a case of knowing how to. Since I retired, I’ve been trying to encourage my friends and family members to take up running and see how it could change their life.

“I don’t expect 40 miles a week like me, just a light jog or a run around the park can make all the difference to your mindset and go a long way in keeping your body moving.”

Swinden CourtSwinden Court

Ruiping’s runs are made even better by his partner in crime, six-year-old German Shepherd, Watson, accompanying him everywhere he goes.

“I’ve had Watson since he was very young, we adopted him after his previous owners gave him to an animal shelter. He’s such a clever dog, we’re very lucky. We meet up yearly with his shelter brothers and sisters, which is great.

“We first started running together almost immediately, we love to go on adventures and seize every opportunity. We run, we hike, we wild camp – he shares the tent with me and my wife! My fondest memories are of Watson and I hiking with friends – Watson always makes sure he is the leader of the pack. He’ll roam off but always come back to check if we’re okay – he’ll kiss my hand, which is his sign of affection, and run off again.”

Originally from America, since taking up running Ruiping has now completed marathons in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and further afield in Berlin and Beijing – all of which Watson helped him train for.

“Unfortunately, they don’t accept dogs in many official marathons, but Watson gets the training in with me, we normally run six miles a day together or more in marathon season. The park opposite Swinden Court, where we now live, is a great starting point for us, as we get to know the area more and more.”

Of his choice of age-exclusive home, he said: “We looked at a lot of different places, locations and building types – apartments, single houses and so on. We found out about Swinden Court on the off chance and soon realised it ticked all of our boxes – it’s neat and new, we feel very safe and secure, everything is taken care of, and finally, it’s dog friendly! I never realised how difficult it would be to get Watson here from San Francisco and then find somewhere where we could rent that accepts pets.”

Swinden Court is exclusively for those aged 60 and over. A collection of one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that provide the perfect base to enjoy an independent and active retirement. The development features excellent security systems as well as a 24-hour emergency call system and a dedicated concierge.

Find out more about Swinden Court from McCarthy Stone.


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