Liudui Marathon promotes the Hakka heritage of southern Taiwan

The 2019 Liudui Marathon kicked off in Kaohsiung’s Meinong District on Oct. 20 under the theme “Hakka Power.” Lee Yung-de, minister of the Hakka Affairs Council (HAC), was among those who crossed the finish line.

The runners’ event was attended by over 5,000 participants, including Chu Mu-yen (
朱木炎), Taekwondo gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics; Chen Shih-shan (陳石山), founding president of the Chinese Taipei Road Running Association (中華民國路跑協會); officials of Kaohsiung City Government Huang Yung-ching (黃永卿), Chou Ming-chen (周明鎮), Chung Ping-kuang (鍾炳光), and Yang Hsiao-chih (楊孝治); and Chung Ching-hui (鍾清輝), president of the Meinong Farmer’s Association.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Minister Lee said that Meinong, which is part of a vast Hakka stronghold across Kaohsiung and Pingtung known as the Liudui region, has a long history of Hakka ancestry as Hakka immigrants had invested considerable effort to cultivate the land and build their homes in this area 300 years ago.

As a Meinong-born Hakka, Lee highly recommended the significant historic attractions of his hometown along the running route, including Shihzihtou Canal (獅子頭水圳), Meinong Water Bridge (美濃水橋), East Gate Tower (東門樓), and Jingzi Pavilion (敬字亭), as well as the natural glamour of Meinong Lake (美濃湖) and Xinwei Forest Park (新威森林公園).

Lee hoped that all the marathoners got to appreciate the idyllic scenery, explore historic sites, and enjoy unforgettable local experiences in this Hakka settlement. To impress visitors at home and abroad with the charm of Hakka villages in southern Taiwan, HAC will continue to raise the international profile of the Liudui region, he promised.

The minister later successfully completed his first full marathon, receiving a great round of cheers from participants as he was reaching the finish line.

The race also celebrated Hakka culture by providing runners with local specialties at supply stations such as papayas, taro cakes, and Wanluan-style braised pork knuckles (
萬巒豬腳), which is a renowned delicacy in Pingtung. Enthusiastic local residents cheered on marathoners by chanting in the Hakka language or singing Hakka mountain songs, energizing the whole event.