“I started running when I was 12. The coach kept asking me to come back, but my grandmother and my mother kept asking me not to go, because it’s not the girls’ thing – you just stay home and do housework. I thought ‘no, someone appreciates my ability, why don’t you let me go?’ I think that it’s my own decision that I need to keep going and need to run. “
We sat down with Samantha Chan, a trail runner from Hong Kong, to discuss her upbringing, overcoming adversity, and breaking free from the status quo.
HOKA: Tell us about yourself.
Samantha: I am Samantha Chan from Hong Kong, and I am a trail runner. I grew up in a housing estate, like most of the kids in Hong Kong. Running came into my life when I was 13 years old; it brought me unlimited space and freedom in such a crowded environment. I was in love with it since I started.
HOKA: What does running mean to you and what role does it play in your life?
Samantha: At first, I found running very hard, but later on I was in love with running as it brought changes to my life. When I was young, I always thought that I was so ordinary and wouldn’t have any achievements. Running built up my confidence. If I trained hard, I would probably have good results. This taught me about trying hard and working hard to achieve objectives in my life.
HOKA: Has your relationship with running changed throughout your life? If so, how has it changed or evolved?
Samantha: In the earlier stage, I found confidence and learned how to work hard by running. As I became older, running helped me to relieve stress in life. Especially trail running: I love nature, and I always come home with a smile after training the whole day on the trails. I feel so relaxed and satisfied. I also travel to different countries for races; it feels like connecting with different places by my feet, and that’s a wonderful experience.
HOKA: What does ‘Time to Fly’ mean to you?
Samantha: ‘Time to Fly’ means trying harder than I’ve tried in my life to achieve a goal, and in the process, I make changes to attitude and actions. If I don’t change anything, I probably wouldn’t achieve bigger goals.
HOKA: What is your advice to anyone who might be facing adversity and wanting to challenge the status quo?
If you are facing adversity, ask yourself why you had the incentive to do something. Is it right? If so, then be confident and be brave, be stubborn and take the first step. You will receive a lot of help and encouragement when you pursue something right.
HOKA: Anything else you’d like to share?
Samantha: In my opinion, I’m the one who decides what I can and cannot. No one can tell me what I cannot do.
I wouldn’t let the word talent limit myself. Working hard is so important in life, and it might exceed what talent defines for you.
Learn more about Samantha Chan below: