Thousands of runners pound the pavement in city’s half marathon
By Ma Yue
THREE-THOUSAND-AND-FIVE-HUNDRED runners took part in the 2015 Shanghai Half Marathon in the Pudong New Area yesterday.
The inaugural 21-kilometer race was open to all while there was also a 12km women’s only run, which attracted 1,500 competitors. Both races started at Oriental Pearl TV Tower at 6:30am and ended at the Oriental Sports Center.
Li Wei, a 26-year-old sports teacher, won the men’s race in 1 hour 8 minutes and 32 seconds. The women’s crown went to Jin Lingling, who clocked 1 hour 16 minutes and 19 seconds.
Li said he had tried and failed to register for the Shanghai International Marathon for years. He traveled from Shandong Province to participate after clinching a spot in the inaugural half marathon.
“The enthusiastic spectators created an exciting atmosphere for us runners despite the humid and sultry weather,” Li said.
The half marathon started this year to satiate the city’s increasingly enthusiastic runners. The 2014 Shanghai International Marathon had more than two million people applying for only 18,000 spots. The 3,500 runners yesterday were randomly picked from over 20,000 applicants.
The 200 fastest half marathon runners were guaranteed a place in the 2015 Shanghai International Marathon as “elite runners.”
French runner Mathieu Leboulanger was among the 500 foreign participants yesterday. He said he had entered the Shanghai International Marathon three straight years and admitted he was somewhat disappointed with his race.
“I should have distributed my strength better,” the 32-year-old who works for an electrical appliances company in Shanghai told Shanghai Daily. “I pushed myself too hard in the middle when setting up a competition with a running friend of mine.”
Leboulanger still managed a top 20 finish, crossing the finish line in a time of 1 hour and 17 minutes.
“When I first came to Shanghai around 2008, there were only two or three big running events a year,” Lebulanger said. “Runners now have more choices.”
The races started at 6:30am to beat the heat. After an early morning shower, the humidity increased, making conditions more challenging for runners.
A medical station volunteer told Shanghai Daily that some runners encountered heat stroke in the latter stages, but no serious injuries were reported.
Organizers said they hope the new events will provide another platform for those who find it difficult to clinch a place in the Shanghai International Marathon, which is scheduled for November 8 this year.
“Apart from local runners, the race attracted a lot of people from neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces,” said Zhou Jin, general manager of Shanghai East Best Lansheng Event Management Co Ltd, the organizer of the half marathon.
Zhou said the 12km run is expected to be kept as part of next year’s Shanghai Half Marathon. It was introduced for women who find 21km too demanding but don’t want to be excluded from the sport.
To highlight the race for women, organizers arranged male foreign models to welcome female runners at the finish line.