Beijing Half Marathon to open only for 10,000 long-term Beijing residents including foreigners
Published: Mar 31, 2021 05:23 PM
A man dressed as Superman runs in the 2017 Beijing Marathon. Photo: VCG

A man dressed as Superman runs in the 2017 Beijing Marathon. Photo: VCG

Registration for the annual Beijing Half Marathon, which wasn't held in 2020 due to COVID-19, reopened on Tuesday. The marathon is only open for 10,000 long-term residents of Beijing including foreigners due to pandemic restrictions.

The 21.1-kilometer race will be held on April 24. Starting at Tiananmen Square, the route has in recent years been stretched eastward to end at the central area of the city's Olympic Park.

While about 20,000 runners turn up each year, this time the event has been downsized to 10,000 registrants due to health concerns.

Besides restricting the event to Beijing residents, the organizing committee has also stipulated that only people who do not leave the capital from April 10 to April 24 and have not had contact with suspected or asymptomatic COVID-19 patients may take part, the Xinhua News Agency has reported.

Registrants are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result three days prior to the race day, and their travel history covering the last 14 days before the event.

Although application conditions are stricter than previous years, many Chinese netizens have expressed interest in the race and support for it on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"I can stay in Beijing from now to attend the race. I have been waiting for it for thewhole year," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

However, some netizens have complained that the restrictions are too strict since other marathons will held in other places in China in April. 

"To be honest, the request for a 14-day stay in Beijing is a bit strict, because many full-course events will be held in mid-April. I have reserved a hotel in Wuxi and want to attend both races," another netizen wrote.

The 2021 Wuxi Marathon will be held on April 11 in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province, which means that runners cannot attend both races.

Registration will end on Sunday and if the number of applicants surpasses 10,000, the committee will organize a lottery.

"I was surprised that a marathon race needs to draw lots to select contestants, but I understand that this restriction is to prevent the spread of the pandemic," a running enthusiast who has lived in Beijing for three years told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

"I will register for the race because I want to experience running past the Tiananmen Square."

She said that even if she is not able to get in this time, it will not affect her mood. "I hope the race can expand the number of applicants next year after the pandemic fades. I will register again then."

Contestants will have to provide a green health code on the day they get their race packs and their body temperature should be lower than 37.3 C.

An Egyptian man studying at a Beijing university also expressed interest in attending the race, seeing it as a rare opportunity.

One of the longest-running races in the capital, the Beijing Half Marathon first began in 1956.