Around 30,000 runners took part in yesterday’s Beijing Marathon and only 6 of them suffered heart attacks resulting from the high (but not so high as last year’s) level of air pollution.
Organizers rejected calls to postpone the race leading to thousands running in conditions which far exceeded safe levels according to the World Health Organization. Shortly after the race finished yesterday, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing recorded the Air Quality Index level at 175, signifying “unhealthy” air, during which time people should “reduce prolonged or heavy exertion,” you know, like running in a marathon.
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
In total, six runners and one judge suffered heart attacks during the race. According to SCMP, one of the runners was a 30-year-old man who suddenly passed out just 4km from the finish line of the 42km marathon. He regained consciousness after being rushed to the hospital.
The air certainly looked more breathable than the muck participants were forced to run through last year. State media trumpeted the fact that more runners were wearing party masks than smog masks in the pictures they had chosen.
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
Turns out maybe less Hulk masks and more smog masks would have been handy.
— Simon Rabinovitch (@S_Rabinovitch) September 21, 2015
Or they should at least make sure enough doctors participate.
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) September 20, 2015