China's marathon industry rose 20 precent from the year 2016 and reached 70 billion yuan (some 10.96 billion US dollars) in 2017, according to the data released by the country's governing body of the sport on Thursday.
During the 2017 Chinese Marathon Gala held here on Thursday, Yu Hongchen, vice-president of the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA), revealed that a total of 1,102 distance running events were held in China last year, 256 of which were hosted or co-hosted by the CAA. The total participants in these events reached some 4.98 million.
"An estimated 720,000 people are working directly in the marathon industry and some other two million people have jobs related to the marathon industry," said Yu.
Running has come into vogue in China in recent years as the country witnessed a phenomenal increase in the number of the races as well as the participants. Back in 2011, there were only 22 road running races held by the CAA, including two IAAF gold label races. However, there are a total of five IAAF gold label races as well as three silver label and four bronze label races in China.
With the rapid development of the marathon market, more and more entrepreneurs and investors have thrown themselves into the booming industry. And the growth is expected to continue.
"Our expectations are that the number of the events can increase to 1,900 by the year of 2020 with some 10 million participants and that the industry scale of the sport can reach 120 billion yuan by then," said Yu.