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Chinese runners set a new NYC Marathon record

By KONG WENZHENG in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-11-07 01:08
A Chinese runner takes part in the 48th TCS New York City Marathon, the largest race of its kind in the world. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

When 61-year-old Li Xiaobai, holding a Chinese national flag over his head, ran into Central Park from Columbus Circle early last Sunday afternoon, a huge crowd of strangers cheered him on.

This year more than 600 runners from China took part in the 48th TCS New York City Marathon held on Nov 4. While this year's event saw a record number of more than 52,000 runners who ran the 26.2-mile course, it also welcomed the biggest-ever group of Chinese competitors.

"The New York City Marathon is such a worthwhile and unforgettable experience," said Li, founder and honorary chairman of New Silk Road Fashion Organization, who was running his second NYC Marathon.

Li did his first run three years ago and was impressed and moved by the passionate participants and spectators who made the city such an exceptionally charismatic place. The same feeling revisited him this time around.

"There're more spectators today, probably because of the beautiful weather, and I had some great interactions with them," he told China Daily after his run.

For Li, who has completed more than 140 marathons all over the world in his four-year marathon career, the welcoming crowds are his favorite part of the NYC event.

That, together with the fact that the NYC Marathon is the largest in the world and one of the six World Marathon Majors, makes the city an important stop for Chinese runners, who are increasing rapidly in number.

This year, 614 runners from the Chinese mainland registered for the race, up more than 25 percent from last year, according to race officials.

"It's clearly a trend that more Chinese runners are getting interested in the international marathons, especially those World Marathon Majors, which offer exceptional racing experiences and demonstrate one's capabilities," said Lee Shea, CEO of Ameriasia Sports Travel, an International Tour Operator (ITO) that partnered with the NYC Marathon.

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