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China’s booming marathons need to be high quality and safe

By Fang Tian (People's Daily Online)    13:50, September 29, 2017

The first Xiong'an Marathon is held in Xiong'an, Hebei province on Sept. 24.

Marathons in China have run into another period of prosperity this September, hitting a record of 33 events last weekend, chinanews.com reported on Sept. 28. With the rapid booming of runs, event services and safety guarantee also need attentions.

A running craze has swept the country in recent years. In 2016, 328 marathons and related events were held in the country, according to China Athletics Association (CAA). The number is 1.5 times than 2015 and almost 15 times greater from five years ago.

Till now, a total of 133 cities across China have held marathons. Over 33 running events were held across China just last weekend. A conservative estimate predicts that running events in 2017 will reach 500, according to an insider.

Obviously, running is becoming more popular among Chinese. Many runners even go abroad to run in the world’s top marathons.

Shenyang Marathon held on Sept. 24.

Wen Fenglin, a manager from Ali Sports of China’s Alibaba Group, finished his run in the BMW Berlin Marathon within three hours, a personal best. The world-renowned Berlin Marathon has a reputation for its fast tracks and enthusiastic spectators, said Wen.

China’s marathons still lag behind the world-class ones in terms of participants and culture, said a female running fan who has taken part in many races abroad.

Developing marathons is a gradual process, said Song Hongfei, vice president of Wisdom Sports, one of the domestic marathon organizers.

Running sports are now popular, but it is not a habit for most Chinese. It requires continued efforts to establish a branded event and make running a festival not only for runners, but for the public, said Song.

Organizing a marathon requires coordination among many departments, said Wang Nan from the governing body for track and field in China. The quality and safety of marathons would be improved if organizers pay more attention to logistics and volunteer services.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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