More in running news: Around 30,000 runners took part in today’s Beijing Marathon despite controversy over high levels of air pollution.
Organizers rejected calls to postpone the race, with thousands running in conditions which by far exceed maximum safe levels set by the World Health Organisation.
Despite the haze, 41-year-old Kenyan veteran Mariko Kipchumba clocked 2 hours 11 minutes to win the 2015 Beijing Marathon on Sunday, becoming the first non-Ethiopian athlete to win the event since 2011.
But the smog caused problems for some runners, including China’s Gong Lihua who came third in the women’s race. “Running in this kind of smog, I felt I couldn’t sweat well and my body has been very sticky and moist,” she said.
Speaking to the BBC, one Beijing resident said that “the air smelt like burned coal.” Another said that although the air quality was better than last year, “it was still very polluted.”
Perfect conditions for the Beijing marathon and triathlon today – toxic air becoming an annual tradition pic.twitter.com/yz9k0SeRjb
— Steve George (@steve0george) September 20, 2015
Chinese state media had a far more optimistic take on the situation.
Beijing marathon much like a carnival. No smog mask needed, runners wear facemasks for fun as air improves this year pic.twitter.com/sHU0opxp7d
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) September 20, 2015
Previously on Shanghaiist:
Runners from around the world take part in the Beijing vertical marathon
Photos: Runners in Beijing marathon engage in classic Chinese tradition of peeing in public
35,000 participate in the (smoggy, cold) Shanghai International Marathon
[Images via People’s Daily]
By Dominic Jackson