Marathon stars to square off in South China

Updated: 2012-11-16 22:16

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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A number of star runners from leading marathon countries have confirmed their participation in the Guangzhou Marathon, organizers said.

"With the participation of such world-renowned runners, the Guangzhou Marathon will be a fierce competition, which will help promote the sporting spirit among local people," said Chen Shaokang, deputy director of the organizing committee.

More than 200 runners from 31 countries and regions will participate on Nov 18 in the Guangzhou event, the first of its kind to be held in the southern Chinese city.

After a test run on Oct 28, the competition has been finalized to start at the Huacheng Square and passes major landmarks in the urban area of Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province.

The event includes a full and half marathon, 42 km and 21 km respectively, as well as 5 km and 10 km races, according to organizers. The winner of the full marathon will pocket $40,000.

A total of 49 professional runners, including Kenyan Michael Kimani, who won the Taiyuan Marathon in 2011, and Ethiopian Yeshi Esayias, winner of the women's marathon in Ottawa this year, have been invited to take part in the event.

To meet international standards, organizers have measured the course and submitted a report to the International Association of Athletics Federations to obtain relevant qualifications.

The organizers will also employ 230 experienced and nationally qualified track-and-field judges as technical officials to ensure a fair and professional race.

Although marathons have only been held in China for about 30 years, several cities, including Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi province, Beijing and Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province, host international marathons.

"We hope that the marathon will be a big carnival, not only for running but 'funning', and that it will promote the sport to local people," said Chen.

The organizer also held a marathon expo at the Tianhe Sports Center from Thursday to Saturday, at which children could take part in mini runs.

"It aims to let people, especially children, enjoy running," said Chen, adding a series of concerts and mass sports activities would be held in the lead up to the marathon competition.

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