Over 100,000 runners ready for China's marathons this weekend

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A total of 10 marathons are scheduled to be hosted across China this weekend when more than 100,000 runners are estimated to converge, according to China's athletic association.

Liu Qiang, a civil servant who works in Xiamen City, southeastern China's Fujian Province, had trained himself a long time for Saturday's Xiamen International Half Marathon in the city's Haicang District.

"When I ran my first marathon seven years ago, I had a hard time breathing and started to walk halfway," Liu said. "I believe I'll run faster with the help of running excercise in my spare time these years," he added.

Liu is crazy for marathons, and so are many others in China.

Over 400 marathons are scheduled in 2017, while last year China hosted 328 marathons attended by 2.8 million runners, up from 22 marathons in 2011, released by the country's athletic association.

The boom in marathons reflects Chinese people's enthusiasm in running and bodybuilding.

Many smartphone users in China utilize WeChat, a popular messaging app, to track the number of the steps they walk or run every day and compete with their friends.

"To be honest, I don't like the tiring and boring running," said Peng Hui, a resident of Hohhot City, northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. "I run because I'm eager to lose weight and to compete with my friends through WeChat that records our running steps," She added.

Promoting running and marathons is part of China's push for people's healthier lifestyles.

"The local government wanted more people to excercise and took a series of incentive measures," said Wu Yuxing, a marathon fan in Hohhot.

A lot of Chinese cities have started or have already finished the constructions of jogging paths. They also organize many sorts of marathons and running events to attract more runners of different ages.

More and more cities have begun to take marathons as advertisements.

"Marathons boost tourism and stimulate the economy to some extent," said Yu Guangjun, researcher of Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences.

"Local residents and visitors come here, run a marathon and see how fascinating the city is, which may appeal to more tourists," Yu said.

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