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Little Rock Sister Cities Commissioner Travels
to China to Build Relationships and Run Half-Marathon
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 19, 2013) – Continuing to build a relationship with Changchun, China, was enough of a reason for one member of the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission to pay her own way for the long trip overseas, and completing a half-marathon as one of the top international racers was an added bonus.
Misty Borkowski, a Little Rock lawyer who serves on the Sister Cities Commission, made the trip to participate in the Changchun International Sister Cities Half-Marathon on Sept. 15. She said she was concerned about being able to finish in the required time period, but she ended up placing fifth among female international runners.
“Of course, there were only six female runners in the international division,” Borkowski laughed. “I’m not a fast runner and was terrified that they have a two-hour limit to finish the race.”
Because Changchun race officials had such a special time coming to the Little Rock Marathon in March, they showed their gratitude by not having the race’s closing ceremony until after Borkowski completed the race – 24 minutes past the allotted time.
Borkowski said the race in Changchun differed greatly from races in the United States. Where most races in this country encourage people to come out to the race to support the runners, there was no public show of support with people alongside the route cheering the runners on. Also, of the 2,000-plus competitors
entered, almost all of them were serious runners and belonged to various local running clubs.
Placing fifth in the international female category meant that Borkowski won 800 Yuan (or $120), but the race-day experience was just a small part of the trip to China.
“The relationship that Little Rock has and continues to develop with Changchun was important enough to me that we made the decision that I would pay my own way to Changchun for this race,” Borkowski said.
In addition to participating in the half-marathon, Borkowski attended meetings on behalf of the City of Little Rock and the Sister Cities Commission. Her itinerary included meeting with the director of the Emperor’s Palace to discuss arranging for a “Last Emperor” exhibition to be hosted in Little Rock.
Borkowski also met with the deputy director of the Justice Department, the chairman of the Attorney’s Association, officials from the Changchun Sports Department and Foreign Affairs Office, and two private attorneys from Changchun. As a lawyer, Borkowski had specifically requested the meeting with people in the legal field in order to learn more about China’s legal system.
Changchun has been a sister city to Little Rock since 1994.
Anyone interested in participating in the International Sister Cities Half-Marathon in 2014 is encouraged to contact Borkowski via the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission website at lrsistercities.org.