Beijing Marathon returns after 2 years with COVID-19 rules in effect

The first Beijing Marathon since 2019, after COVID-19 canceled earlier events, reportedly attracted about 30,000 participants last week.

Despite an increase in infections around China, it was the first significant sporting event to take place in the Chinese capital since the Winter Olympics in February.

China upholds a rigorous zero-COVID policy, enforcing strict lockdowns, quarantines, and testing regimens in response to even the slightest outbreaks. As a result, unlike earlier iterations that drew overseas runners, the event was solely open to Beijing residents.

During the marathon, which Anubaike Kuwan from Xinjiang won in 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 34 seconds after arriving at Beijing's Olympic Park, some racers continued to wear face masks.

The marathon was supposed to start up again last year, but it was again postponed to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks prior to the Olympics in Beijing.

Some participants carried flags, donned colorful wigs, or high-fived spectators as they passed by. This gave the atmosphere a celebratory appearance.

Despite the overcast and polluted conditions, hundreds of spectators showed up along the route to support them.

China had established itself as a significant host of international sporting events over the previous 20 years.

However, since 2020, the nation has drastically reduced its connections to the rest of the globe in an effort to reduce outbreaks brought on by tourists due to its zero-COVID policy.

The policy has interfered with the nation's plans to host major sporting events. Tennis, golf, and Formula 1 Grands Prix have all been recently postponed.

Though the frequency of COVID-19 infections in China is still low by international standards, it has just reached its highest level since May. Earlier last week, more than 4,000 cases were reported nationwide, including 49 in Beijing.

This month, several other Chinese marathons are scheduled, with the Shanghai race set for November 27. Following the two-months lockdown, this will be the first major sporting event to be held in the financial hub.

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