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Marathons bring China closer to the world

(People's Daily Online)    15:30, June 04, 2019

The 2019 Lanzhou International Marathon kicks off on June 2, 2019. (Photo/Feng 11)

Road running events, especially marathons, have become more and more popular in China, becoming the new fashion for mass fitness.

Last year, about 85.3 percent of Chinese cities held marathons, attracting 5.8 million participants in races and related events, according to statistics released by The Chinese Athletics Association (CAA).

Several high-standard and high-quality events have emerged in China. The just-concluded 2019 Lanzhou International Marathon is one of them.

Runners competing in the 2019 Lanzhou International Marathon (Photo/Feng 11)

Reports confirmed that the event, held on June 2, attracted 40,000 participants from 19 countries and regions to compete in the full marathon, half marathon, 5km and 1km Dream Races.

"China has nearly reached a world level in hosting sports events such as marathon races," said Carlo Capalbo, Chairman of the IAAF Road Running Commission, at the IAAF Global Running Conference held in Lanzhou, a prelude to the marathon.

Gao Yongji takes a photo with his parents before the 2019 Lanzhou International Marathon (Photo provided by Du Yuxin)

Capalbo believes that in the next three to five years, sporting events held in China will become more high-quality, adding that China's marathon events have grown quickly in recent years, which is a massive achievement.

China's first international marathon was held in Beijing in 1981, with only 86 runners. In 1997, the number of marathon events held in China was less than 10, and that figure climbed to 39 the following year as the event was opened to the masses.

 

Guests launch the 3rd Chinese Marathon Photography Contest (Photo/Luo Songkai)

In 2014, the State Council, China's cabinet, issued guidelines on the acceleration of the development of the sports industry, which marked the beginning of the industry's explosive growth.

By the end of 2018, 1,581 marathons and related road running events had been held in China, the CAA statistics showed. To date, China has successfully applied for 19 IAAF label events.

Guests attend panel discussion "Place branding and city promotion through marathon broadcast" (Photo provided by the organizing committee)

However, there is still a long way for China to go when it comes to hosting marathon races, especially in planning, operation, marketing and industrial development, said Wang Nan, vice president of CAA.

The development of 5G technologies, big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence have made media platforms more powerful, which could create more possibilities for runners, companies, shareholders, industries, and host cities, said Tang Weihong, vice president of People's Daily Online, at the IAAF Global Running Conference. 

Guests attend panel discussion "Building running culture in cities 'the other 364 days'"(Photo provided by the organizing committee)

Runners enjoy themselves in the 2019 Lanzhou International Marathon (Photo/Feng 11)

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

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