Some 30,000 athletes took part in an International Marathon in China’s capital on Sunday, with many participants wearing facemasks during the 42 kilometer (26 mile) course. Beijing was enveloped in smog, said to be ‘hazardous’ by monitors.
With severe air pollution being no news to China, organizers refused to cancel the event despite experts’ warnings, because they had invested a lot of effort preparing for the 34th annual race.
Runners take part in the 34th Beijing International Marathon which began at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on October 19, 2014, with many of the tens of thousands of participants wearing face masks, as the 42-kilometer course ended at the Olympic Park. (AFP Photo/China Out)
The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese government, cautioned athletes against participating in such bad conditions, reporting that Beijing’s air was “not suitable for outdoor activities.”
The level of pollution was nearly 14 times higher than safe air conditions recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). PM-2.5 particle level, linked to cancer and other health problems, reached 373 micrograms per cubic meter, against 25 micrograms considered safe by WHO.
The smog was so thick; many runners became lost in the fog and have yet to be found. Ming Lee has been looking for her husband for over a week now. She told Peanuts Daily:
Beijing marathon smog became a serious issue in Mainland China, especially for the runners.
Author: Ms. Tatuye, Lara