Races · China

This Is What Happens When You Give Soap To Runners During a Marathon

by On Mar 28, 2016
This Is What Happens When You Give Soap To Runners During a Marathon

Organising a running event is not an easy feat. There are many considerations to keep in mind for an organiser, this is why experience counts when organising a major event like a marathon which involves thousands of runners.

There are many reasons to take part in a marathon and organising one. In China, as its economy develops, many people have decided to adopt fitness lifestyle by taking part in marathons. More organisers have also created more marathons to cater to the blooming marathon running in China. Accordingly to a consumer survey released by Nielsen last year, running was the favourite sport of 71% of Chinese men and 69% of women, followed by badminton and swimming.

According to data from the Chinese Athletic Association, about 1.5 million people took part in a total of 134 marathons held in the country last year, 83 more than in 2014. Marathon registration slots can be snapped up in hours for iconic marathons in major cities.

In 2014, China state council launched a program aiming to boost the country's sports economy to a value of 5 trillion yuan (15 times) by 2025 which explained the proliferation of running events.

This program has prompted local governments to host marathons as they can bring cities prestige as well as attract tourist money and official funding.

Running was the favourite sport of 71% of Chinese men and 69% of women, followed by badminton and swimming.

Qingyuan Marathon Incident

We understand that without proper training and conditioning, rushing into a marathon race would be hazardous and even dumb. This is reflected in the Qingyuan marathon held in South China’s Guangdong province last Sunday.

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The race attracted over 20,000 marathon runners including new runners. During the race, it was estimated that the paramedics performed first aid more than 12,000 times, treating over 10,000 cases such as cramps, sprains, bruises, stomachaches and faintness. According to local health bureau officials, twenty-three participants were hospitalized with five of them in critical condition.

This Is What Happens When You Give Soap To Runners During a Marathon

Many runners suffered various injuries and conditions.

To make matters worse, the gift packages given by the marathon organisers were mistaken as energy bars/gels, which resulted in many runners attempting to take a bite of it. The gift package turns out to be a soap bar. The package of the soap were decorated with a succulent grapes image with no Chinese wording which contributed to the confusion.

The spokesman for the race organisers has apologised for their negligence. Their original intention was for the runners to take a comfortable shower with the soap after the race.

This Is What Happens When You Give Soap To Runners During a Marathon

The soap that was mistaken for a tasty energy gel/bar.

Prepare Before You Take Part in a Marathon

While the marketing and promotion for a marathon race might be appealing, runners should find out more about the background, track records and contingency plan of the organiser.

In 2015, five participants died while running in Chinese marathons. Besides the concerns of inexperienced organisers rushing to host races during the marathon craze, inexperience runners are enthusiastically signing up for races without good knowledge of their own health conditions and limitations.

So next time when you take part in a race, do conduct more research about the race and organiser. When you are satisfied with your findings, start training up and prepare yourself for the race day. It's also important to find out what you should know when running in an overseas marathon.

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Have you had a bad race experience overseas? How do you ensure that your overseas race goes according to your plan?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of RunSociety.

Nathaniel is a disciplined casual runner and a lover of bananas. As a columnist for RunSociety, he is always on the lookout for exciting and controversial topics that touch the heart of the running community in Singapore, often adding in his funny observations. He has embarked on a mission to start a world class running group in Asia.

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