Running the world

Updated: 2016-04-29 08:24

By Matt Prichard, Yan Dongjie and Yu Yilei in Beijing and Wang Mingjie in London(China Daily Europe)

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First, China's rising prosperity and its people's concern for health and fitness are unlikely to fade.

Running the world

Second, the underpinnings for marathon mania have grown rapidly: Wang Dawei, of the CAA, says Chinese marathon officials frequently interact with and learn from foreign counterparts; foreign runners are coming to China; social media and traditional media built around running, such as the slick magazine Frontrunner, have become well established; and businesses are investing in the sport.

Third, and perhaps most important, are the young runners who aspire to take on international marathons.

The running bug bit Zhang Yiming, 20, a junior at Renmin University of China's School of International Relations in Beijing, in December 2014. At first, it was just a way to lose weight and stay healthy. She ran her first half-marathon in April 2015 and has been participating in races around China since then.

She runs 8 kilometers two to three times a week, which she says helps her deal with stress and keep calm.

Zhang says she plans to run two international marathons a year, with New York, Boston and Munich at the top of her wish list.

"I can't afford running abroad yet, but I'll definitely put my feet down in countries all over the world in the future. That's my dream, and it's my motivation to keep moving."

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 Running the world

Nolan Jinkai Wang, 7, son of marathon trip organizer and runner Oliver Qi Wang, shows off a friend's medal after the Berlin Marathon in 2015. Photos Provided to China Daily

 Running the world

Zhou Lufurong (right), a marathoner's daughter, babysits 18-month-old Waylon Wang, son of marathon trip organizer Oliver Qi Wang, during the 2015 Berlin Marathon.

 Running the world

Xie Guoping took part in the 2015 Chicago Marathon.

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