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Countdown to the Beijing Marathon
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The 2006 ANA Beijing International Marathon will be held on October 15, starting at Tian'anmen Square and ending at the National Olympic Sports Centre.

Organized by the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) and approved by the State General Administration for Sports (SGAS), the Beijing International Marathon, which also serves as an Asia Marathon Championship, has become the highest-level marathon in China and one of the top marathons in the world.

It has been well recognized by the Association of International Marathons and Road Races and the International Association of Athletics Federations.

This year, the 26-year-old annual event, is expected to attract about 25,000 participants, including world-class professional runners and amateurs.

Stars such as Kipkoech Raymond, and Chepchumba Pamela from Kenya will join in local players to challenge the title.

The men's record of two hours seven minutes 35 seconds was achieved by Taisuke Kodama of Japan in 1986 and Abebe Mekonnen of Ethiopia in 1988.

"Challenge yourself and run for your health and happiness" remains as this year's slogan.

All the participants of the marathon will receive free personal accident insurance, an effort, which started last year after two amateur runners, a college student and a retiree collapsed and died during the run in 2004,

"All the working staff and runners of the event will be given personal accident insurance for free," said Wang Dawei, vice-president of CAA.

"Hundreds of trained volunteers will be stationed every 100 metres along the course for first aid consideration, and the number of the ambulances will increase as well."

The organizing committee will set up a medical station every 5 kilometres along the route, with CPR-certified medical staff and ambulances.

Hospitals around the rout have been selected as medical providers in case of emergency.

To better promote the event to the wider public, there will be a charity donation ceremony at the finishing area. Official partner of the event will contribute sports equipment to the Beijing Hope School.

(China Daily September 13, 2006)

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