The current passion for running in China is providing some African students with substantial moneymaking opportunities. One such student, Wilfred, earns money by running marathons all across China while studying at Ningbo University in Zhejiang province. The prize money can add up to nearly 20,000 RMB ($2,952) on a monthly basis,according to Wilfred.
Coming from the Kenyan city of Eldoret, home to 40-odd world champions of long-distance running, Wilfred has dreamed of becoming an engineer since childhood.Although he received a scholarship from Ningbo University, living expenses in China were still a concern for him. Sometimes he even restricted what he ate in order to save money.
Wilfred officially entered the marathon “business” after another African student from Ningbo University told him about the considerable prize money involved. With that money, Wilfred is not only able to afford his school’s 2,500-yuan accommodations and annual living expenses, he is also able to send money back to his family.
However, the running fever in China has also attracted a number of professional runners from other African countries, who provide Wilfred with very real competition. Wilfred noted that as winning the prize money has become increasingly difficult, he is running two hours every day to maintain his physical condition.