13 Oct

Double Blow For Chinese Marathoners

runners at Shanghai marathon

It's been a disappointing few months for marathon runners in China with the postponement of two of the country's top 26.2 mile events. Tomorrow (Sunday 14 October) was the scheduled date for Beijing marathon when 30,000 were expected to take to the streets of the Chinese capital. However only last month race organisers found out that they would not be receiving the necessary permissions and the event was postponed.

The problem is that the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party takes places in Beijing in a few weeks. Officially the congress is scheduled to begin on 8 November at the Great Hall of the People but the marathon has been blocked for logistical reasons. There is uncertainty surrounding a new date, however there are obvious problems rescheduling at short notice for both home-based participants and international athletes.

Beijing's postponement follows the eleventh hour rescheduling of Shanghai International marathon. The long-term sponsor of the Shanghai race, Toray, is a Japanese company and the event always attracts a big contingent of runners from Japan. However tensions about the Diaoyu islands (or the Senkakus in Japanese) meant that local government officials were concerned about the sponsorship association, and postponement followed.

Shanghai International marathon now has a new date - 2 December 2012.