Norwegian triathlete Gustav Iden, who sparked a "lucky cap" trend in Taiwan, said after the Changhua County marathon on Sunday that he was most surprised to see lobsters being offered at the supply stations along the route.
The 23-year-old Iden, who is in Taiwan at the invitation of Changhua Magistrate Wang Hui-mei (王惠美), fired the starting gun with Wang at the Tianzhong Marathon and they both ran the last 3.5 kilometers of the race.
Along the route, many bystanders were waving at him, Iden said after the race, adding that he was deeply impressed with the hospitality of the Taiwanese people.
The Norwegian athlete said he was very surprised to see lobsters being offered at the marathon supply stations, which normally provide only snacks and water.
The lobsters were sponsored by the Hai Long project, which is currently building wind farms off the coast of Changhua.
Speaking to reporters, Iden said he would love to come back to Taiwan to compete in triathlon races after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Iden became famous in Taiwan after he was spotted wearing a cap bearing the name of Changhua's Shun Tse Temple when he crossed the finish line first in a French triathlon in September.
A photo of his victory was soon picked up on social media, where he quickly became a sensation among Taiwanese netizens.
Since then, the temple has been flooded with thousands of orders for the "lucky cap," which it has been handing out free of cost.
At the invitation of Wang, Iden arrived in Taiwan on Saturday for a three-day-visit.
After his arrival, he prayed at the temple and promised he would return to thank the deity there if he won a gold medal in the triathlon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Apart from his participation in Sunday's marathon, Iden was also scheduled to attend Changhua's dairy festival and help promote its mutton products at another event, according to the county government.
He will also be made an honorary citizen of Changhua in recognition of his contribution to the county's international promotion because of the cap he wore in the French triathlon, the county said.