With green trees all around, a blue sky above and sunshine shining on their faces, 200,000 walkers set off on a hike to promote good health.
With the starting pistol shot by an 86-year-old citizen, Li Jieyan, the Third Dalian International Walking Festival was launched in this port city on Saturday.
The two-day event drew 230,000 people with some 200,000 participating in Saturday's rally alone.
Participants could enjoy the natural scenery while walking. They could choose to walk 5, 10, 20 or 30 kilometers.
People who were strangers walked, talked and laughed together during the walk.
The youngest registered hiker was six months old. Children, some running and playing, could be seen everywhere. Some were pushed along in their prams by their parents.
Sun Xinian, 94, was the oldest walker. He missed the starting ceremony, but said he would finish the walk.
The most romantic scene was a team of 100 newlyweds.
The crowds were moved by 300 disabled people who participated. With the help of wheelchairs or volunteers, they were able to walk for five kilometers.
Deaf people read messages on others' backs for the blind.
Various slogans like "walking to be in a good mood" on T-shirts showed people's characters.
One little girl and her grandpa walked hand in hand, with the slogans "stick to victory" and "walking spirits handed down to the next generation".
Around 1,000 foreigners took part.
One who was in the city on business called the event "nice, healthy and sporty."
Dalian has applied to join the International Marching League, which has 23 members around the world. Dalian is the only candidate city in China.
Last year about 28,000 people took part in the event.
(China Daily May 30, 2005)