Street racers

Updated: 2011-04-18 08:06

By Han Bingbin (China Daily)

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 Street racers

Participants in the 2011 Beijing International Long-distance Running Festival on Sunday. Photos by Zou Hong / China Daily

People of all ages took starter's orders for Sunday's fun runs

Heavy winds on Sunday failed to deter the 12,000 participants - including some 200 from overseas - who took part in the 2011 Beijing International Long-distance Running Festival.

The participants, who were spread over the festival's three major events, the Tiny Run, the Mini Run and the 10-kilometer Run, all set off from Tian'anmen Square and headed for Xiannongtan Stadium, passing some of Beijing's most characteristic streets and landmarks, including Qianmen and Meishi Jie, on the way.

"Running is widely practiced overseas. Aerobic exercises and outdoor activities allow participants to enjoy the sunshine and sport," said Wang Junxia, Olympic champion and spokeswoman for the festival, who ran in the 4.2-kilometer Mini Run alongside more than 8,000 participants.

One of the major attractions for this year's festival was the new Tiny Run, which allowed participants to run as a family. More than 400 people - about 100 families - took part in the event, with many pushing toddlers in baby carriages.

"It's a good chance to let my son participate in a large-scale social activity," said Chen Xiaohong, as she pushed her 2-year-old son Huang Yusen through Tian'anmen Square in a stroller. "It will help build his confidence."

With a history of 55 years, the Beijing International Long-distance Running Festival is a combination of the capital's two old running events: the Beijing Spring Run, which started in 1956 and welcomed its first group of foreign participants in 1995, and the Beijing International Marathon Relay, which was launched in 1990 and is an officially registered event with the International Association of Athletics Federation, attracting hundreds of contestants from five continents every year.

In February this year, with the permission of the federation, the Beijing long-distance running festival was upgraded to an international competition. The winners of the 10-kilometer run and mini run will be given full sponsorship to compete at the Hawaii International Marathon.

Street racers

Street racers

Street racers


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