“Be like Liu Xiang!” That was just one of the great lines the MC for the 2010 Toray Cup Shanghai Marathon had for the crowds as they gathered in front of Century Plaza for the 7:30am race. That and “Everyone is number one!”, “Be youself” (no, that is not a typo) and “This is the human being spirit!”
Well, Shanghai showed some “human being spirit” this morning as twenty thousand or so runners came out to participate in the annual Toray Cup. Yeah, it wasn’t probably so great that we were breathing in Shanghai air but it was without a doubt, a feel-good day. Runners urged each other on and bystanders lent a chorus of “jia yous” as people huffed and puffed by.
This year’s route worked it’s way down the Bund front and under the tunnel to the Pudong side going right past the China pavilion before ending up at the Oriental Sports Center. Talking with runners after the fact, it seems that in addition to being a more scenic race, today was much better organized than last year’s. Every runner got a nice package of water and sustenance as soon as they crossed the finish line and we got our results and certificate quickly, though it was not fun getting corralled into a room in order to do that. But what would the day be without some queuing? That there is China’s true national sports past time.
The full marathon awards went to two foreign athletes – an Ethopian won the men’s section and a Russian took the female best time but Chinese athletes swept the half marathon. Our favorite runner though had to be the guy who did the whole thing running backwards. – talk about dedication. Though we couldn’t all be Liu Xiang it was a good race, Shanghai, good race!