The first of many marathons in the middle Kingdom is taking place today in Xiamen. The race now in its second decade is usually the first long distance race of every calendar year.
More than 73,000 fitness enthusiasts awoke at the crack of dawn on a chilly Saturday morning to take part in the 11th Xiamen International Marathon.
Participants have come from far and wide to race.
David Keeles, British runner, said, "It is different place to do it. I’ve ran lots of marathons in Western Europe. Xiamen is a good place."
Jasper, South African runner, said, "To do my best and join the Chinese people and celebrate for this wonderful event."
Each runner has their own style and preferred footwear, some prefer a natural approach.
Wu Jiase, runner, said, "I have run marathons with bare feet for many years. I want to encourage people to donate blood by doing this."
The runners hit the road at 8 am. Not everyone ran a full 42 kilometre course. About 50,000 chose to participate in the half marathon, 10k or 5 kilometre distances.
Entering its second decade, the marathon is not just for the runners, but also an event made for local families.
A Xiamen resident said, "We came here very early to avoid closed roads."
Another Xiamen resident said, "It is like an annual celebration in the city, and I brought my grandson to have a good time."
Now, it wasn’t all fun, some people took the event a little more seriously, Ethiopa's Gatachew Terfa Negari came home in a time of 2:07:32. In the women’s race, Fatuma Sado Dergo also from Ethiopia crossed the line in a time of 2:27.35.
But no matter what the participants fitness level, the race always provides a day of fun and enjoyment.
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