With the Beijing 2008 Olympics approaching, Xi chose to spend a year jogging across China to welcome the Games, an idea that Xia supported.
That year, Xi ran 12,000 kilometers through 16 provinces of China, while Xia took care of matters at home.
On August 9, 2008, the day after the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games, Xi returned to his hometown. Xia touched her husband's hands again and again, shedding tears.
In 2015, Xia was diagnosed with lung cancer and died a year later. Xi was distraught, but resolved to fulfil his wife's will to continue running and living.
Come rain or shine, a slim figure would run along the Songhua River every day. In marathons around the country, Xi would appear on the track wearing his beloved jacket.
Before going to other places to run marathons, Xi often visits Xia's tomb.
"Cheer me on. I will achieve a good result," Xi always says to the gravestone.
"I used to run marathons alone, but now that I'm wearing it, it's like we are running together."
Xi, who has competed in several races over the past years, has more goals for the future.
"I'm going to sell the chickens, ducks, and geese that I raise, as well as the bees. I'm going to run the other half of China, taking my wife's jacket with me and letting her see how our country looks these days," said the 67-year-old.
For the first half of Xi's running career, Xia always waited for him at home. But in the second half, Xi takes his beloved wife with him.