Chinese road running makes second-half comeback through high-quality management

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 9, 2019
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On a cool Sunday morning, over 40,000 participants across the globe flocked into the track alongside the Yellow River in the city of Lanzhou, northwest China, anxiously waiting for the opening shots.

Ma Jia was one of the participants. He traveled about 15 hours from his hometown Shenyang to Lanzhou to take a run. After three tough hours of running, Ma crossed the finish line.

With 10 years' experience in running marathons across the country, Ma was impressed by the improvement in event management.

"At the very beginning, we could always find people without number plates rushing into the track to race, let alone those who cheated by cutting corners. Now, the events become much more professional. We received warm prompts by the sponsors, and goods were sent to us ahead of the event. I enjoy running a marathon now more than ever," Ma said.

High-quality road running race is a new normal in China. During the 11 years since the IAAF set the label races, the number of label races in China has developed from two to 19, and great leaps have been made in event management and international influence.

According to the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA), Chinese road running has undergone three stages. From 1981 when the marathon was firstly held in Beijing to 1997, less than 10 road running events were held in China each year during those 17 years, with relatively low massive participation. From 1998 to 2013, with longer gate-closing time, the events were more open to the public. Up to now, 1,581 marathons and related road running events had been held in China last year, attracting 5.83 million participants.

Road running is becoming the new fashion in China.

On May 31, 2019, The IAAF Global Running Conference opened in Lanzhou, marking the first time the annual conference has been held in Asia. The high-quality development of road running in China plays an important role in attracting the IAAF's attention.

"We can feel the enthusiasm of the Chinese people and the Chinese government in road running events. More and more marathon events in China have been recognized by IAAF as label races, urging the host cities laying more stress on the quality of the event management, and it will encourage host cities to raise their standards of management," said IAAF road running manager Alessio Punzi.

Chinese road running still has a long way to go to catch up with countries exploring marathon market a step ahead. However, with a population of 1.4 billion, the great potential of road running in China waits to be waken up.

"Amounts of event management companies endeavor to improve event service and experience, and sports equipment producers are making every effort to create better conditions for runners. Through innovation, various participants of the industry push forward the high-quality development of road running in China," said Wang Nan, vice president of CAA.

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