More than 30,000 runners competed in the Beijing International Marathon, which began under brilliantly sunny skies on the morning of Sept 17.
Starting in Tiananmen Square in central Beijing and finishing at the Olympic Park in the north, the 42km race began at 7:30 a.m. BJT to avoid hot temperatures.
The good weather and ideal road conditions were a catalyst for runners to post good times. Morocco’s Salah Eddine Bounasr came out on top in the men’s marathon with a time of 2:11:09. Coming in second place was Girmay Birhanu Gebru from Ethiopia, also crowned at the same event back in 2014.
Ethiopian athletes won the women’s race in the past three editions of the Beijing Marathon, and the trend continued this year, with Melesech Beyene crossing the finishing line in 2:27:43.
The Beijing Marathon Expo was held alongside the race at the China National Convention Center, gathering the latest sportswear plus memorabilia donated by veteran runners.
Participation in the Beijing Marathon keeps rising as more and more people in China pay attention to fitness. With as many as 30,000 people from 33 countries and regions taking part, the route of this year’s event was adjusted to make the course flatter, encouraging more runners to join.
First held in 1981, the Beijing Marathon is now recognized as an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, one of the three marathons in China to receive the distinction – along with other two in Xiamen and Shanghai, respectively.
The Beijing Marathon is also considered as the opening leg of the new Asian Premier Marathon (APM) series. After the Beijing race, the series will continue its inaugural season in Lebanon at the Beirut Marathon in November, followed by the Seoul Marathon in March before returning to the Chinese capital to conclude at the 2018 Beijing Marathon.
The Beijing Marathon has developed into the most influential, largest mass-participation commercial running event in China. According to the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA), there were nearly 400 full and half marathon races held in the country in 2016, attracting around 2.8 million participants in total.