Southeast China's coastal city of Xiamen was honored as a "City of Marathon" by the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) at the opening ceremony of China Marathon Expo on Thursday.
Xiamen has been organizing the marathon since 2003, but this is the first year it has been dubbed a "City of Marathon" by the CAA.
The city's annual event boasts 11 consecutive years as an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. The best male result in any Chinese marathon of 2:06.19 was refreshed in 2015 by Moses Mosop from Kenya at the event. The Xiamen marathon also maintained its record of 77,151 runners, making it the most popular road race in China.
Then-IOC president Jacques Rogge sent his good wishes in a letter to the Xiamen marathon's committee in 2006, while the running statues from Xiamen were collected by the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Former IAAF president Lamine Diack visited Xiamen in 2014, firing the starting gun and presenting the IAAF Gold Label Road Race Award.
Xiamen held China's first marathon summit in 2005, the first marathon host cities mayors' forum in 2009, the CAA's annual marathon forum in 2013, 2015, and the first national marathon expo in 2017.
The 2018 CAA Marathon Expo, running from Thursday to Saturday, has attracted 145 companies nationwide.
The 2018 Xiamen marathon will kick off on January 7, with around 30,000 runners taking part. Rio Olympics women bronze medalist Mare Dibaba and Shura Kitata from Ethiopia, men's champion of the 2017 Frankfurt Marathon, are set to run in the race.