Marathon continues to expand influence in China: report

By Zhang Huizhong, People’s Daily
Marathon is driving up development of relevant sports industries as it further expands influence in China, said a report issued by the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) in Xiamen, southeast China’s Fujian province on Mar. 11.
China held a total of 1,581 marathons and relevant sport events (road races of over 800 participants and cross-country races of over 300 participants) in 2018, creating a new record high, according to the report.
4.3 races were held on average each day, up 43.46 percent from a year before, and the total number of participants rose by 17.07 percent to 5.83 million.
The total consumption boosted by all running events hit 28.8 billion yuan ($4.29 billion), and that generated by marathon events alone was 17.8 billion yuan.
The annual output value of the industry amounted to 74.6 billion yuan, the report said.
“2018 witnessed accelerated reform and development of China’s marathon events, and the country was also seeking quality improvement in addition to quantitative growth of the running events,” said Yu Hongchen, director of the Athletics Administrative Center under the General Administration of Sport of China.
Yu, also vice president and secretary-general of the CAA, noted that marathon events have played an important role in promoting public health, urban tourism consumption, economic growth and popularity of cities.
In recent years, China’s marathon has entered a phase of booming development. The number of racing events held in the country kept surging, and the consumption base relevant to the sport is also enlarging.
According to CAA statistics, China held 134 marathon races in 2015, up from 51 a year before. In 2016, the CAA reported 328 registered marathon and relevant events.
The running craze, centered with marathon races, has also promoted the integrated development of relevant industries including catering, tourism, transportation, and retail business.
As it is pointed out in this year’s Chinese government work report, Fitness-for-All activities flourished over the last year. Besides, the report also raised new requirement on the country’s sports development, proposing to bring sports closer to the people, the society and the country, and carry out extensive Fitness-for-All activities.

The 2019 Hainan (Sanya) International Marathon was held on Mar. 10, attracting approximately 17,000 participants from nearly 30 countries and regions. (Photo by CFP)

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