The Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) recently disclosed the outcomes of its investigation into the 2023 Dalian Marathon and the 2023 Qingdao Bay Bridge Marathon, which drew widespread attention for their organizational mishaps.
The announcement from Xinhua News Agency revealed that during the 33rd Dalian Marathon on October 15, 2023, "a race vehicle left the track at the point where the men's full course leaders were approaching the finish line, causing an unexpected halt that blocked the athletes' running path."
The incident disrupted the normal course of the race and had a negative social impact, the announcement stated.
In accordance with the "CAA Road Running Event Management Measures," the CAA demanded that the event organizing committee submit a written rectification report to the association by November 13, after conducting internal talks with the relevant referees and the executive company Zhimei Sports Culture (Zhejiang) Co, Ltd.
In another announcement regarding the 2023 Qingdao Bay Bridge Marathon on October 15, the CAA pointed out that two hours after the race started, "due to irrational layout, an interrupted flow, and ineffective evacuation work, a large number of people got stuck ted, resulting in chaos." Moreover, the announcement said that the event also presented problems such as the operating company's unsatisfactory and unprofessional planning, and an irregular and disorderly organization.
Based on the relevant regulations, the CAA revoked the eligibility of the Qingdao Bay Bridge Marathon Organizing Committee to apply for the CAA-certified event for the year 2024, and also requested that they submit a written rectification report to the association by November 13.
The Qingdao Bay Bridge Marathon, which was advertised as an exclusive event before the race, had attracted a lot of attention and anticipation from runners, and was fully booked in less than 20 minutes after registration opened.
However, after the race, there were constant complaints online about various aspects of the event, such as insufficient supplies. On October 15, the Organizing Committee issued an apology statement, saying that it would provide free express delivery for the participants who did not receive the finisher medals and clothes.
In China, the popularity of marathons had increased prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the CAA, China saw a marathon boom in 2018 with 278 approved events hosted, followed by 330 races in 2019. In 2023, the lively marathon weekend again returned to the public eye.
Alessio Punzi, manager of road running for World Athletics, stated earlier in October that 68 Chinese running events had submitted bids to be included in 2023, while the CAA reported that 133 road races had been registered in China between January and June.
On October 29, six marathon races kicked off in capital cities including Beijing,Xi'an, Chengdu, Changsha, Jinan, and Zhengzhou.