Runners get moving in the 2017 Beijing Marathon at Tian'anmen Square on Sept 17. (Li Nan / For China Daily)
The 2017 BEIJING Marathon was held on Sunday. However, some runners reportedly cloned their race bibs and shared them with those who failed to register for the activity. A photo of three runners wearing bibs with the same number was even widely spread online. Thepaper.cn comments:
The organizers of the Beijing Marathon responded on Wednesday that they were tracking the three runners and would prohibit them from registering for all future activities.
It is illegal to copy a race bib and share it with others, and so those who do so break the law.
Many people ask why the runners illegally cloned their race bibs instead of applying for one. That has much to do with the popularity of marathon running in China: A total of 100,000 people applied to run in the Beijing Marathon this year, but there was a limit of 30,000 participants. That's why some applicants chose to run without authorization.
Marathons have been extremely popular in China for the past few years. The number of national marathons was 13 in 2010. The number grew to 134 in 2015 and jumped to 200 in 2016.
But what happened in Beijing this year shows the organizers are still not professional enough to properly control the events.
And the fact that the Beijing Marathon organizers failed to spot duplicate numbers at the starting line also shows there is loophole with the security arrangements, which could pose risks to the runners.
Therefore, maybe it is time to slow down a bit and rethink the staging of marathons in China. Only with better preparations can the sport be sustained in the long run.