In addition to iPods and stretch pants, participants in this year’s Beijing marathon made use of one other piece of equipment – gas masks.
Beijing’s environmental centre rated the city’s air quality as “severely polluted” — the most serious level on china‘s air quality index, which comes with a warning for children, the elderly and the ill to stay indoors, and for all everyone to avoid outdoor activities, according to a report from the Associated Press. The U.S. embassy in Beijing rated the air quality as “hazardous”.
The men’s race was won by Ethiopia’s Girmay Birhanu Gebru in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds, while Fatuma Sado Dergo won the women’s category in 2:30:30.
“I was basically a vacuum cleaner,” William Liu, a 30-year-old banker, told Bloomberg after completing the full marathon in five hours. He said he could’ve run faster if the smog hadn’t given him a dry, itchy throat and stuffy nose partway through.
Organisers rejected calls to postpone the race despite the cloud of pollution over the Chinese capital, but said they had laid on extra medical staff to treat injuries among the more than 25,000 registered runners, according to the AFP.