- Over 230 runners in the Shenzhen Half Marathon in China have been caught cheating after traffic cameras captured them taking shortcuts across bushes, The Independent reports.
- Three impostors were also uncovered, while 18 participants were found to be wearing fake bib, bringing the total number of „violations“ to 258. Some face lifetime bans from the event, while those caught taking shortcuts could be banned for two years.
- „We deeply regret the violations that occurred during the event,“ Chinese news outlet Xinhua quoted organizers as saying.
A total of 237 runners were caught on camera cutting through bushes to an adjacent carriageway, instead of continuing along the road and making a U-turn during the Shenzhen half marathon, Chinese state media reported.
Network traffic police surveillance video showed that during the Shenzhen Nanshan Half Marathon on Sunday, while heading down Shenzhen’s Shennan Avenue, runners began crossing the green belt to cross from one side of the road to another, Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency reports.
In addition, the state news wire suggests runners‘ friends then took over the race, with „many people suspected“ of forging and replacing their racing bibs.
Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency reported organizers as saying. the cheaters are likely to have run two or three kilometers less than the full 21-kilometer (13.1-mile) distance.
„We deeply regret the violations that occurred during the event. Marathon running is not simply exercise, it is a metaphor for life, and every runner is responsible for him or herself,“ the organizers said, Xinhua News Agency reported in English.
The marathon, held every year in one of China’s southern metropolises attracts around 16,000 runners from around China and the world.
Xinhua called the violations „deeply shameful,“ according to The Guardian.
„Don’t run and forget why you run,“ the state news agency added. „Don’t let the marathon turn sour.“
Last week at a marathon in Jiangsu, it was the crowd that got in the way, when a volunteer tried to hand runner He Yinli a national flag during the final sprint to the line.
He dropped the flag, lost the race, and came under fierce attack on social media for both.
The People’s Daily reports that the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) held an emergency meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the recent turmoil in Chinese marathons, a sport that has literally exploded out of the blocks in recent years.
China has held 1,072 marathons and road races this year, up from 22 in 2011, according to CAA figures provided to Xinhua.
Wang Nan, secretary of the Party Committee of the Athletics Management Center of the State Sports General Administration and vice chairman of the China Athletics Association, told People’s Daily the recent violations have attracted „widespread concern from all walks of life.“
Nan said the CAA reiterated their intention to get on top of the movable feast that Chinese marathon is becoming.
„The CAA once again reiterated that organizing committees should solemnly track the race, and strictly enforce the rules and competition rules of the marathon. No ceremony or activity shall affect the normal conduct of the competition and shall not affect the fair competition of the competitors,“ Nan said.
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Source: Business insider