Foshan Daily & Pearl River Times 2017-03-20
338 visually impaired runners and their companions were running in the rain. (Foshan Daily/ Wang Shu)
On March 19th, the visually impaired charitable marathon of the 2017 Xiqiao Mountain Series of Marathon was held in Xiqiao Mountain. 338 visually impaired runners and companions in total took part in the competition.
At 8:00 a.m., runners participating in the 21-km half marathon agenda gathered in the track at the memorial archway of the west gate in Xiqiao Mountain. Every visually impaired runner was paired with a companion and they were driven by each other with a hauling rope. Under the command and pulling of the companion, they both ran across the starting line.
The rainy and foggy weather was a challenge for runners. Li Jie from Qingdao Shandong started long-distance running in 2014 and this was his first time to compete in rain. “In rainy days, runners with poor eyesight need to pay much attention to curves and slippery ground.” He analyzed. With years of exercise and good adaptability, he won the first prize in men’s group of half marathon with a grade of 01:39:14.
Visually impaired marathon is also known as “marathon on a rope”. Classified into projects with different levels of difficulty, more visually impaired runners can take part in marathons. Compared with the 7 visually impaired runners last year, the competition scale this year is greatly improved.
This marathon had upgraded into a national charitable competition in which organizing committee covered all of participants’ expenses. “We hope to show the determination and perseverance of visually impaired people by holding marathon, encouraging more disabled people to walk out their world.” Zhu Dingliang, the chief planner of marathon and secretary general of Hong Kong Ultramarathon Association said.
Visually impaired marathon was the opening race of the 2017 Xiqiao Mountain Series of Marathon. According to agenda, the enrollment of series of competitions starts from May 1st and the 24-hour ultramarathon will be held in November. By holding international competitions, the brand construction of city, industry and humanity in Nanhai can be shown in all dimensions.
Zhu introduced that the orientation of 2017 Xiqiao Mountain marathons was “enjoyment and tourism over competition”. Among them, the routes of 24-hour ultramarathon and superhero orienteering are set in National Arts Studios; the half marathon and 12-km competition will start from the memorial archway of the west gate in Xiqiao Mountain, passing by Tingyin Lake, Baiyun Cave scenic spot in Xiqiao Mountain, flower sea around the mountain, Nanhai Museum, Yu Geng Yue Yun cultural tourism park and many other scenic spots, making participants around the world enjoy the Lingnan culture during the competitions in “zero distance”.
Zhu noted that more fashionable elements will be added to the 2017 Xiqiao Mountain Series of Marathon. Besides traditional south lion dancing, dragon dancing and cultural performances, the host will hold activities such as marathon expos, concerts, quality sales exhibitions, etc.
The 2016 Xiqiao Mountain marathons attracted about 10,000 runners, including foreign runners from 16 countries. Furthermore,it won the gold award of best large-scale sport events in 2016 Sport Industry Awards and Conference (SPIA), breaking the zero record of Chinese events winning this award.