The 2006 C&D Xiamen International Marathon will ignite enthusiasm at 8am on Saturday with the annual event attracting the largest-ever number of participants at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Centre.
According to the organizing committee, 20,933 participants from 39 countries and regions have registered to run at the fourth Xiamen International Marathon, 5,001 runners more than last year.
There will be eight race categories, including men's and women's marathon (42.195km), half marathon, 10km race and 5km race. The men's and women's marathon will also serve as the National Marathon Championships, which will involve 131 athletes competing for the national title.
China's Zhou Chunxiu, women's winner of the event for the past three years, is home crowd favourite. After winning the Seoul International Marathon on March 12, Zhou will challenge her stamina to defend her title.
"Xiamen is a lucky place for me and I am looking forward to running here," said Zhou. "Although the Seoul Marathon has used up a lot of my strength, I will try my best to please the local fans."
Besides Zhou, 14 world-top marathon runners will also display their running skills in Xiamen, widely considered as one of the most beautiful marathon host cities in China.
On the men's side, several international marathon race title holders are participating. They include defending champion Raymond Kipkoech of Kenya, 2005 Beijing International Marathon champion Cherono Bensen of Kenya, and Shimelis Mola of Ethiopia, the winner of 2006 Arizona Marathon.
(China Daily March 27, 2006)