While this year’s seasonal winter smog has arrived earlier than usual due to unusual weather conditions, thousands of participants competing in the 2017 Beijing Marathon on Sunday had the privilege of running under blue skies.
More than 30,000 runners from 33 countries and regions participated in this year’s competition, many donning eye-catching costumes. Starting in Tiananmen Square, the 42.195-kilometer marathon route concluded at the Olympic Sports Center Area, which is home to the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium.
Moroccan Salah Eddine Bounasr won the men’s race with a winning time of 2 hours 11 minutes 18 seconds and Ethiopian runner Beyene won the women’s contest. Chinese runner Li Zicheng ranked ninth in the men’s group and He Yinli came in fifth in the women’s group.
Nearly 100,000 people applied for this year’s competition. Amid this huge demand, many resorted to the black market to get a number. While the entry fee for Chinese participants was 200 yuan ($31), the price for a black market bib rose to 2,000 yuan, according to media reports.
The organizers announced that people who transfer their place in the marathon to others will be barred for life, but many said that the authorities were unable to identify all of the 30,000 participants.
To deter cheats, the Beijing marathon committee arranged video surveillance of the entire route and for the first time introduced new technology to identify the authenticity of runners’ identification tags.
In recent years, marathon running has been regarded as a middle-class sport which has drawn millions of fans all over the country. Founded in 1981, the Beijing Marathon is viewed as China’s “national” marathon.