江西多乐彩基本走势图 www.7jjvu.com.cn 2018-11-07 09:40:46 China Daily USA
When 61-year-old Li Xiaobai, holding a Chinese national flag over his head, ran into Central Park from Columbus Circle early Nov.4 afternoon, a huge crowd of strangers cheered him on.
This year more than 600 runners from China took part in the 48th TCS New York City Marathon held on Nov. 4. While this year's event saw a record number of more than 52,000 runners who ran the 26.2-mile course, it also welcomed the biggest-ever group of Chinese competitors.
"The New York City Marathon is such a worthwhile and unforgettable experience," said Li, founder and honorary chairman of New Silk Road Fashion Organization, who was running his second NYC Marathon.
Li did his first run three years ago and was impressed and moved by the passionate participants and spectators who made the city such an exceptionally charismatic place. The same feeling revisited him this time around.
"There're more spectators today, probably because of the beautiful weather, and I had some great interactions with them," he told China Daily after his run.
For Li, who has completed more than 140 marathons all over the world in his four-year marathon career, the welcoming crowds are his favorite part of the NYC event.
That, together with the fact that the NYC Marathon is the largest in the world and one of the six World Marathon Majors, makes the city an important stop for Chinese runners, who are increasing rapidly in number.
This year, 614 runners from the Chinese mainland registered for the race, up more than 25 percent from last year, according to race officials.
"It's clearly a trend that more Chinese runners are getting interested in the international marathons, especially those World Marathon Majors, which offer exceptional racing experiences and demonstrate one's capabilities," said Lee Shea, CEO of Ameriasia Sports Travel, an International Tour Operator (ITO) that partnered with the NYC Marathon.
While runners can sign up for the race on their own, the application process is highly competitive — the acceptance rate this year was below 15 percent.
ITOs, on the other hand, are granted a number of guaranteed entries. Ameriasia Sports Travel offers packages beginning at 6,000 yuan that include a guaranteed entry. Since 2015, it has brought hundreds of Chinese runners to the race. This year, it brought 120 in.
"That's a very diverse group of Chinese runners, from people in their 30s to those in their 50s," said Shea, "and they come from all over the country."
The prospering market is supported by a growing number of marathon enthusiasts in China, many of whom belong to the rising middle class that is more and more concerned about their quality of life and health, according to Shea.
Nie Jie, a 32-year-old runner from Shenzhen who was here for her 10th marathon, has joined dozens of WeChat groups full of passionate marathoners.
"There is really an ongoing 'marathon fever' in China, especially in such a young and energetic city as Shenzhen," said Nie.
"We spontaneously got into groups to encourage each other, share tips and experiences, and spread marathon-related news and information," Nie told China Daily.
With such an increasing number of Chinese runners, the marathon is becoming a chance to tell the "China story", said Li.
"That's why I decided to hold the national flag while I was running," he said, "to show the spirit of the Chinese people — we are representatives of our country and culture now."
In that way, the marathon is a good way for cross-cultural communication, according to Li. When all runners are running toward the same objective, boundaries of language and culture are removed by the shared passion and determination; people achieve a mutual understanding.
"There were multiple times that the other runners and I were able to cheer each other on, though I could only speak in broken English," said Li.
"It's such a welcoming and outgoing community," said Liu Chuxin, 24-year-old PhD student in New York, of the runners' community in New York.
"Marathon running was what helped me overcome the loneliness and unfamiliarity I felt when I first moved to this foreign country," said Liu, who ran and also volunteered for this year's NYC Marathon.
"It helped me make friends, and people's love for the sport and support for each other go beyond nationality and race."