For 1st Time In 23 Years, Beijing Marathon Not Won By Chinese Woman. Also, Smog

Beiijng Marathon 2014

Congratulations to Ethiopians Girmay Birhanu Gebru and Fatuma Sado Dergo, the men’s and women’s winners of the 34th Beijing International Marathon that was run today in “very unhealthy” to “hazardous” air. It was so bad that Xinhua even called it “smog” in an article that begins with this incredible factoid:

China’s bid to win the women’s race of the Beijing International Marathon for the 23rd straight year was thwarted on Sunday as Ethiopian Fatuma Sado Dergo braved the smog to finish first in the 42.195-kilometer run in two hours, 30 minutes and 3 seconds.

A twenty-two-year-old record was snapped, and every picture on the Internet is of runners in face masks. That’s what happens when you subject 30,000 runners to your headlong rush for GDP. Not that this guy seemed to mind:

Beijing Marathon 2014 nationalistic runner

Gebru (not pictured) won with the time of 2:10:42.

Gebru had hoped to break the tournament record of 2:07:16, set by Ethiopian Tadese Tola one year ago, but it turned out to be almost five minutes shy of his personal best (2:05:49).

“It was a tough game, but I was satisfied with what I did to finish the match. Looking forward to coming back to Beijing next year,” said Gebru.

Beijing welcomes you.

(Top image via @PDChina)

    24 Responses to “For 1st Time In 23 Years, Beijing Marathon Not Won By Chinese Woman. Also, Smog”

    1. Immy Zhang

      When GDP is everything the government concerns, calling it “smog” is the best way to elude all the shame and guilty.
      When people would rather wear a mask all day than protest against the government’s indifference, Beijing is not far from the City of Fog.
      By the way, if you can’t afford cigarette, Beijing welcomes you! If you can’t want a slow suicide, Beijing welcomes you!

    2. Bella Yang

      “Smog” is the “gift” that Beijing gives to all marathon runners and its people. The smog makes this marathon ridiculous and absurd. Millions of people live here. They enjoy the perfect infrastructure and opportunities, as well as bear the heavy burden from nature. This price of development is not just for Beijing, instead, is for the country. Until now, when we can’t even breathe freely, we still consume the nature. Maybe in the future, the symbol of China, this great country, is no longer the Great Wall or breathtaking Palaces. I believe I won’t be so proud of a country covered by Smog.

    3. Mike Wang

      Congratulations to the two Ethiopians athletes for winning the Marathon Competition. Although I am a Chinese, I am still happy about that. Because that is the spirit of sports—-higher, faster and stronger! We are glad to see better athletes than ours, and they are our new goal for next time!

      And I am also sorry for the bad air condition in Beijing yesterday. However, I never support choosing so-called protest as the best way to urge the government to do something. Is the government completely indifferent about the air condition? No, the government has already taken measures. Don’t Chinese leaders care about that? Yes, even the President live in the here! It takes time and need the cooperation of everyone. I’d rather urge people walk more and drive less car than urge people to protest and add more chaos to the city.

    4. Susie Chen

      The 34th Beijing International Marathon is a kind of damage to runners’ health rather than benefit.It seems like a competition between different brands of masks.How ironic it is!
      The GDP growth of China is at the cost of environment and health of citizens.There is no denying that economy of China develops rapidly.However,haze also “develops” quickly.The blue sky and clear air during Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 proved that government have the capability to solve “smog”.To make “Beijing welcomes you” sounds like a invitation rather than a kind of satire,it’s high time that our government took some measures of remediation!

    5. Cassio Yang

      The smog becomes the hot spot after the 34th Beijing International Marathon. Many people said why not postpone the competion since such a bad smog day? But to my opinions, changing the date is not easy.
      Undoubtly, jioning the marathon game is really not an enjoyable experience especially in such a smog day. But for But the organizers and players, this is a very helpless thing. Rescheduling for such large international event is inconceivable. Further more, about 40 km of roads were in traffic control. If it is suddenly postponed because of the bad weather, it will be bound to be problems.
      For another, many competitors are not living in Beijing and some of them even come from abroad. They have their arrangements. They have booked round-trip tickets. If this event was cancled or postponed. Many copetitors would lose their money and time.

    6. Jimmy Li

      Beijing is very rapidly developing, so the consequences will never be the same. The government has to balance nature and the economy which is very hard to do. You don’t want to have people starve to death to preserve the air, nor do you want them to suffocate while they eat their bellies round.

      What we need to do is be vigilant ourselves. Ride your bike short distance, take the subway long distance. If you really need to move more things or get groceries, take your car. Using your car to drive short distances is indirect murder through smog.

      Let us create the harmonious society!

      P.S. I think this fits in nicely with the previous comments, so I took the liberty of using a western first name and a Chinese last name.

      P.S.S. The comments above are authored by one and the same person, just look at punctuation, capitalization and formulation of sentences. Cheers!

    7. strophy

      Haha, so many wumao on here today! Great to see you guys justifying the pollution. For once I actually agree with some of the recommendations though, ride your bike! How about some actual enforcement of keeping bike lanes free of parked cars, while we are all having good ideas…

      Also, what’s up with foreigners being charged TRIPLE the price of local competitors for the dubious honour of running? I couldn’t get a straight answer out of the organising committee, and on top of that they wanted payment in US dollars, isn’t that illegal in China?

    8. Wang Wenyi

      Firstly, congratulations to the winners, Ethiopians Girmay Birhanu Gebru and Fatuma Sado Dergo. Well done, especially on such a terrible day. Chinese athletes also did well although they did not win the first prize because in my opinion, winning is not the only significance of the sport games.
      However, what surprised me is that the organization didn’t delay the Marathon. It’s the common sense that people should not do sports if there is a heavy smog. “Life is movement” absolutely does not mean doing this. As we can see, many competitors ran with different masks. Maybe in this way, this competition could be called “mask show”.

    9. Core Xie

      In a way, I really agree it’s so weird to greet athletes all over the world with such a bad weather but still happy to see they could get good records. But I still don’t have a very clear idea about the word “smog”. Although my Canadian teacher has told me not to use “fog and haze” but “haze” instead.
      According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “fog” means many small drops of water floating in the air above the ground, the sea, etc. “smog” means a fog made heavier and darker by smoke and chemical fumes; also a photochemical haze caused by the action of solar ultraviolet radiation on atmosphere polluted with hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen especially from automobile exhaust. “haze” means dust, smoke, or mist that has filled the air so that you cannot see clearly.
      So, it’s obvious not appropriate to use “fog”. Then I feel “haze” means too general while “smog” means exact the polluted air in Beijing where air is really polluted and mixed with smoke and chemical fumes. Therefore, i think “smog” is appropriate to use in official articles. But you said it’s bad to use such words, could you please tell me why?

      • Core Xie

        OHHHHH! I’m really sorry that I didn’t read the sentences clearly that I misunderstand you. In that way, I really agree with u.

    10. Enzo Mao

      I really can not imagine so many people running in such smog. I have seen a lot of photos taken in marathon in which people wear masks, no smile, no pleasure. It seems that the marathon game has lost its meaning except record. It does not improve but do harm to people’s health; It does not bring people any fun but much complaint; It does not achieve the goals of sports but is just a “game”.

      Maybe Beijing Government should have a reflection. The officials have promised no pollution many times, but it never comes true. By people, for people, I hope the government takes its responsibilities and no more lip service.

      At last, congratulations to the two athletes! After all, they make the effort.

    11. Roxanne Shao

      Though I cannot believe that there were so many lovers of Marathon still proceed the running in the tough condition,I’m impressed by them greatly. According to an experiment, a man had taken an artificial lung to complete this Marathon and after the whole journey the damaged lung cells reached 0.07%(30% lung cells be damaged the people will die). The aim of sport is to keep health but these athlets finish this Marathon they lose the health in fact. And I think the sponsor shall cancel the Marathon and choose another fine day to hold it. At last I want to say any sports should proceed on the condition that your health is guaranteed.

    12. Gary Wei

      Congratulations to the two winners for the Marathon, and I really admire the courage of all the runners to finish the game on such a dirty day, which was what I dare not to do.You were all the winners. As far as I concern, the game this time was precisely a chance to tell the government that the air problem should be solved as soon as possible, like another kind of parade or demonstration in a healthy and sane way.

    13. Kelvin Cho

      Of course there is a pollution during rapid development for increasing the life quality of citizens. Why isn’t it?

      Even in London 1950′s, “foggy London” was the name of the city. Why? Because of a pollution problem owed to rapid development after second world war. Of course it was very terrible and the government had to take right steps to fix the problem such as destroy manufacturing base and over reliance on financial services, Russian Oligarchs and Harrods world famous shopping center.

      China government is also taking steps to fix pollution problem, such as stopping factories when foreign delegations visit Beijing, building subway system more widely and encouraging citizens to buy cars but only for neighbors to see, not for driving. The pollution problem will move to other areas, probably Hong Kong and Daioyu islands.


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