Marathons in China have hit a period of prosperity in recent years and the race calendar has ballooned. Chinese people now have a growing interest in marathons, as more are participating in various running events across the country or even abroad.
The Dalian International Marathon has kicked off on May 22 in northeast China's Liaoning Province. On the same day, a half marathon event was also held in the city of Yancheng in east China's Jiangsu Province.People find passion and joy in long-distance running.The surging number of marathon runners is due to China's economic development with people more than ever becoming keen on keeping fit and finding a way to relieve life pressure.
The number of marathons and other running races hosted or co-hosted by the Chinese Athletics Association last year reached 134, which was a 160% increase compared to the year 2014.The 134 events included 53 marathons, 43 half-marathons and 13 10-kilometers, 83 more than the number in 2014.There were only a total of 13 marathons in 2010, and now it has increased ten-fold.People's passion for running is likely to continue with the association predicting more than 200 marathons to be staged across the country in 2016.
Among the total of 1.3 million runners from nearly 90 countries and regions joining in marathon races in China last year, 230,000 people took part in the full marathon, 330,000 competed their half-marathon, and the largest group of 410,000 people being with the 5-kilometer run.
When China's first international marathon was held in Beijing in 1981, only 86 people took part the race.However, in 2013, all the race slots for the Beijing marathon game were snapped up just 13 hours after the registration opened.
The marathons in China have covered four municipalities and 79 cities in 23 provinces and autonomous regions, according to the Chinese Athletic Association. Five provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang, hosted more than 10 marathon events respectively last year.