Beijing Marathon investigating cheater scheme

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Runners get moving in the 2017 Beijing Marathon at Tian'anmen Square on Sept 17.

Organizers of the 2017 Beijing International Marathon have confirmed several cheating scandals during the event and promised an investigation into China's top-ranking marathon, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Pictures posted online show at least five different runners took part in the Sept 17 race, wearing the same ID number: D0198, the report said.

Marathon organizers say they're now investigating the cheating scheme.

"Now we are looking through the videos and photos to find evidence and try to connect with the real owner of the ID number," said Wang Jian, general manager of China Olympic Road Running Co, a marathon organizer.

The company has previously announced people who cheat will face severe punishment, as the China's Athletics Association moved to impose lifetime bans on marathon cheats in March.

To deter unethical behavior, the organizer has adopted fluorescent anti-counterfeiting technology and ordered video surveillance for the entire route.

Wang said judges confirmed some runners were wearing fake ID numbers during the race on Sunday, and disqualified them with the help of fluorescent technology.

"Some runners may sneak onto the racing track halfway for the thrill," Wang Jian said, "but their behavior violates the principles of fairness and uses up resources for other racers."

As marathon running is becoming increasingly popular in China, it is becoming necessary to limit the number of people who can take part.

In all, 98,687 runners applied for the 30,000 places in the race this year. This led to the creation of an online lottery to decide who would be admitted to the race.

It's being reported people who register early for a marathon have been found selling their slots for as much as 2,000 yuan ($303.5) online. The normal fee is around 100 yuan.

This is not the first scandal connected to marathons in Chinese cities. A number of cases have emerged in recent years, including racing under fake names and fabricating different competition numbers to enter a race without paying.

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