XIAMEN, China, Jan. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon, an exclusive event managed by Xiamen SMG Sports Limited, kicked off at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center at 8 am local time on January 2. Twenty-five specially invited athletes and 30,000 runners from 31 countries and regions ran along Huandao Road, one of the world's most aesthetic venues for marathons, in an unprecedented gathering in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Xiamen International Marathon.
Deputy director of the Subcommittee of Education, Science, Culture, Health and Sports of the CPPCC National Committee and president of the Chinese Athletic Association Duan Shijie, IAAF's Road Running Manager Alessio Punzi, Standing Committee Member of the CPC Fujian Provincial Committee and Party Secretary of the CPC Xiamen Municipal Committee Pei Jinjia, director of the Standing Committee of Xiamen Municipal People's Congress Zheng Daoxi, Deputy Party Secretary of the CPC Xiamen Municipal Committee and Xiamen mayor Zhuang Jiahan, director of the Athletics Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sport of China and vice president of the Chinese Athletic Association Du Zhaocai, deputy director of the Subcommittee of Education, Science, Culture, Health and Sports of the CPPCC Fujian Provincial Committee Xu Zhengguo and director general of Fujian Provincial Bureau of Sports Wang Weichuan attended the kick-off ceremony and fired the starting shot for the 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon. Also present at the ceremony were officials from the CPC Xiamen Municipal Committee and local government agencies, top executives from sponsors including Xiamen C&D Corporation Limited and Xtep (China) Company Limited, guests from Xiamen's South Korean sister cities, Mokpo and Pyeongtaek, as well as domestic marathon and exhibitor representatives that attended the first China Marathon Expo.
Ethiopian runners shine at the competition
Ethiopian runners swept the top three positions in both the men's and women's events at this year's marathon. As was expected, Lemi Berhanu, a hot favorite for this year's competition, won the men's race with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 27 seconds. The runner-up, Mosinet Geremew, clocked in at 2 hours, 10 minutes and 20 seconds while the second runner-up, Shura Kitata, came in closely behind at 2 hours, 10 minutes and 36 seconds. Of note, Mosinet Geremew ran the full marathon for the first time at this year's event.
As for the female runners, Meseret Mengistu Biru claimed the championship by clocking in at 2 hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds. Workenesh Edesa finished second at 2 hours, 26 minutes and 27 seconds, followed by Tola Melkam Giaw at 2 hours, 26 minutes and 47 seconds.
The men's champion Lemi Berhanu had won first place at the 2016 Boston Marathon, in addition to garnering 13th place at the 2016 Olympic Games. In 2014, he took part in a marathon for the first time, and, following that, it took him only two years to become considered as one of the world's best athletes. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) published a feature report about the hot favorite's participation in the 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon on the homepage of its official website before the race started. He said at the post-competition interview, "Xiamen is a beautiful city and I'm very excited to join in the race on such a fine day. I really appreciate the invitation from the organizing committee. The only pity is that the hot weather impacted my performance." He also expressed his wish to perform better at the London Marathon in 2018.
Meseret Mengistu Biru, who led the women's race, had won titles at both the Paris Marathon 2015 and Beijing Marathon 2016. During the post-race interview, she said, "I'm very glad to have won the race and I'd also like to thank Xiamen and the organizing committee. It is a pity that I failed to break my own record due to the impact of the hot weather on my performance during the second half of the competition."
The strictest assembly process in China's marathon history
With the aim of ensuring play fair among all runners participating in the competition and assuring that no runners impersonated others, the organizing committee of the 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon carried out a three-step security check and assembly process, the strictest verification system in China's marathon history. Despite the rigorous security and assembly procedures, the organizing committee finished the entire process, including all pre-race preparations and guidance sessions for the participating runners, with no hiccups and on time. Athletes said that they were satisfied with the verification process and how it was carried out.
A milestone for the 15-year old Xiamen International Marathon
The Xiamen International Marathon was recognized as an IAAF Gold Label road race for 10 consecutive years of the 15 years that the marathon has been in existence, and has earned a reputation as one of the top sporting events worldwide. For the first time, the event is now full-marathon event, marking a major step towards becoming a fully international and professional marathon. This upgrade in stature represents a milestone and a new starting point. The organizing committee invited the Design Park Association (DPA) to redesign the logo for the event. The new logo, by updating the VI design of the old logo that had been used for the previous 14 events, gives the event a new, refreshing and modern aesthetic look.
In order to enhance the runners' sense of engagement with the event, this year's marathon was broadcast live on CCTV and Xiamen TV, with the assistance of helicopters hovering overhead and providing an aerial view. Besides broadcasting every moment of the action below, the cameras on the helicopters gave spectators who watched the event at home panoramas of the beautiful landscape that Xiamen is known for. The event was simultaneously webcast on new media platforms including the websites of Xinhua News Agency, Sina, Tencent, NetEase, rmsports.cn, lesports.com and toutiao.com as well as on the Look at Xiamen app.
Creating an atmosphere that appropriately celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Xiamen International Marathon
The efforts of the organizers of the 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon paid off in terms of how successfully they created an atmosphere that appropriately celebrated the 15th anniversary of event in all respects, not only in their choice of the theme for the event, "Run, and Fall in Love with a City", but also in eight derivative events: the launch of a 15th anniversary limited-edition medal set in association with Xiamen C&D Light Industry Co., Ltd. as well as collectors' stamps for the 15th anniversary designed and produced in association with China Post. A documentary entitled My Marathon was filmed, relating the psychological journeys of several local runners, each with their own unique story to tell. The film also followed and interviewed several local running groups to find out and relate what each group went through in preparing for the race.
In honor of the special occasion, the organizing committee for the event put together a series of promotional campaigns for the 15th anniversary of the marathon: "In Celebration of the 15th Anniversary", featuring ongoing reporting of the event on the marathon's official WeChat account; "The 15th year of the Xiamen International Marathon", a series that relays the background story of selected runners joining the event, produced in association with Sina Xiamen; Saluting the 15th Anniversary of the Xiamen International Marathon produced in association with Tracker, China's leading publisher of books, featuring stories about the runners, with "In Celebration of the 15th Anniversary, Looking into the Mind of a Novice Runner" as the main theme as well as special reports on the event in concert with the Chinese Athletic Association's official magazine Front Runner.
Overall improvement in medical care with support from medical running teams
Medical care for 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon has been improved across the board. Air medical service is included in the medical care scheme for the first time to ensure timely medical service for runners in need. Runners also are able to seek help via the First-Aid Service feature in WeChat's City Service channel.
The 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon upgraded the program in terms of the availability of support personnel and supplies. More than 368 doctors, nurses and medical assistants were assigned to 16 medical and emergency care stations and 15 ambulances, with each vehicle equipped with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Up to 300 medical volunteers acting as medical observers were stationed along the entire route. Another 45 medical volunteers were located at eight physiotherapy stations specially set up for rapid application of therapeutic ointments. Forty-six doctors worked in pairs, with each pair patrolling a designated 1 km-length of the marathon route on a bike equipped with a mobile AED and recorder. Seventy-two runners with medical training and 75 aides carrying first aid kits stocked with medical ointments and sprays and salt stick tablets were assigned to different segments along the 42.195 km-route, assuring the availability of timely help and care for runners.
Runners servicing runners, with rapid recovery service available in post-race service area
In order to provide the best possible support service at the event, the 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon pioneered a "runners servicing runners" system based on the original service support system supplemented by 1,615 volunteers from 23 running clubs at the 15 feeding stations, each of whom were on standby to assist runners with their needs. In addition, the organizers sought to provide a better experience for the runners by improving the quality of the services provided at the event, increasing the amount and variety of supplies of foods and beverages and other supplies available at each of the feeding stations as well as making the feeding stations larger.
The organizing committee invited Song Yang, the host of the Super Experience Group radio program on Radio Beijing, as commentator at the finish line, in a move to pump up the excitement as each runner completed the race. From the final sprint of the champion until the last runner crossed the line, he kept the patter going for the duration, keeping the enthusiasm in high gear for runners and spectators alike. Many runners gave the host a high-five after finishing the race.
The race both started and ended at the Xiamen International Convention and Exhibition Center. The organization committee took advantage of the expansive hall and other spaces within the center to stage several post-race events. After receiving the package of goodies handed to each runner that crossed the finish line, they were able to enjoy a streamlined "rapid post-race recovery" service at the 8,000-square meter venue, where several facilities have been specially set up for recovering runners, including an ice pool, a spa-like passive relaxation area and an area sectioned off where the runner can rest and recover once the race is completed. Services on offer included an ice pool for aching limbs, ice compress, passive stretching, active traction, sports nutrition foods as well as diagnosis and treatment of acute sports injuries, traditional Chinese medicine physiotherapy and availability of accessories for muscle fatigue relief. The ice pool accommodated 480 runners who could use the available foot spas at the same time, 450 physiology experts, stretching staff and traditional Chinese medicine massage physicians who were stationed in the passive relaxation area to offer services to runners. The race is now over, yet the services are still available. This is the first time that the post-race service area for a marathon race remained crowded with runners, much like the crowding that is usually only present in the starting area of the race.
The finisher medal receives unanimous praise
The 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon finisher medal was designed by inDare, a partner of Design Park Association and a winner of the "Best of the Best" prize presented by German Red Dot Design Award. The medal caught the attention of insiders once the draft of the design was revealed. The final version is now available. As described by the designer, the dark blue medal highlights the deep sea, with the image of Xiamen Island rising from the sea like the morning sun. The medal also represents the spirit of openness, diversity and inclusion that the coastal city is known for. Many athletes were quite surprised by quality of the workmanship when they were presented with the medal, unanimously expressing the thought that the medal was as beautiful as they had anticipated.
This was a rare case of close collaboration between a domestic marathon competition organizer and a professional design team. Sports demonstrate the beauty of human bodies and motions. The organization committee of the Xiamen International Marathon worked closely with the design team, in the hope that the medal would, in a more modern and artistic manner, convey the beauty of the physical form through engagement in a sporting event and give not only runners but also sports fans an opportunity to intuitively experience the diversity of Xiamen's cultural heritage.
Continuously working for the benefit of the public through the hosting of a variety of ancillary events
Concurrently, the first China Marathon Expo was held by the Athletic Association of the People's Republic of China. Marathon bags were distributed to attendees through several dozen windows within the exhibition hall. The three-day expo was also the event at which attendees witnessed the roll out of four platforms: a display platform for the 2017 C&D Xiamen International Marathon, a product release platform, an investment and trading platform and an interactive platform for the marathon runners. The 15,000-square meter exhibition included 51 customized and 44 standard booths spread across 4 zones with designated themes: an area for exhibitors providing services in connection with marathon planning, a main pavilion, an area showcasing the full marathon industry chain and support services, as well as an area containing interactive exhibits for runners. The event brought together exhibitors across the entire Chinese marathon industry chain, including over 70 marathon organizing committees and more than ten event operators as well as 30+ sports brands and a number of marathon service providers. As a key complementary event of the exhibition, the China Marathon Healthy Development Forum is the first Chinese national-level forum for the full marathon industry chain and serves as a resource sharing and communication platform for industry players.
In addition, the Xiamen International Marathon donated 200,000 yuan (approx. US$28,800) collected from 100 philanthropists to the Xiamen Marathon Red Cross Foundation of the Xiamen Municipal Red Cross Society. As an important complementary event of the Xiamen International Marathon, the C&D Running in Action event was held once again with the mission of "Leaving beauty but no garbage" and advocated for running that is environmentally responsible. Nearly 1,500 volunteers from 500 families participated in the event by picking up rubbish as they walked along Huandao Road, maintaining a tidy and clean course for the marathon runners.
The Industrial Bank Xiamen Marathon Cultural Festival, which began in October of 2016, included a series of complementary events, including a parent-child marathon, a painting competition for children, a running event sponsored by leading breweries, a photography competition and a cheerleading contest. The Xiamen International Marathon is not only a city marathon, but also serves as the vehicle that has transformed Xiamen into a marathon city.
SOURCE Xiamen SMG Sports Limited