Deaths at half-marathon prompt measures to stop cheating
Following the deaths of two runners, China’s athletics governing body and runners have called for tougher regulations to halt cheating in qualifying for marathons.
The deaths of two runners during a recent race in Xiamen, Fujian province, have underlined a problem with runners privately trading race entries.
The Chinese Athletic Association issued a safety regulation on Saturday that requires all race organizers to tighten the qualification process and impose lifetime bans on runners caught cheating.
One of the deceased at the Xiamen half-marathon on Dec 10 was a substitute who competed under someone else’s name and number.
While race officials said both runners had cardiovascular problems, allowing runners who aren’t properly registered presents special risks. Race officials would not have proper health or contact information for runners who aren’t registered.
“Trading of entrants’ quotas and competing under somebody else’s name is something that occurs in many events domestically and overseas. We will take a strong stance against this behavior, which jeopardizes the integrity of the sport as well as health of such participants,” said Wang Dawei, vice-president of the athletic association.
Race organizers nationwide get significantly larger numbers of applications than places available for such events.
While trading race places among friends was common early on, trading for money and fame has become a serious issue. Some registrants hire established runners to compete in their name so they can obtain benefits like extra points in college admissions.
“There’s no doubt that the integrity of the sport and respect for the rules should be protected,” said Wang Jing, a veteran marathon runner.