Ready? Dressed? Go!
A man dressed as a leopard won the recent half-marathon in Xiamen city's Jimei district.
Wang Xiaokan, clad in the big-cat costume, was the final runner of his victorious four-person team against 33 other teams at the cosplay-themed race in the city in Fujian province in late November.
The leopard dashed like a cheetah across the finish line in 1:11:15. "We mostly love running," Wang says.
"But the dressing-up part is certainly interesting. So, we signed up to find out. It turned out to be fun."
The 33-year-old says his team designed their costumes to resemble the animated film, The Croods.
The 21-kilometer track covered Jimei's major scenic sites, such as the Xiamen Horticulture Expo Garden, Xinglinwan's "landscape avenue" and the aquatic sports center.
The competition's four stops respectively staged cosplay parties, dancing, singing and bands.
They were designed more as temptations to stay in one place rather than milestones to reach.
Xiamen launched a day tour for runners from out of town to experience the city before and after the event.
The city has developed tourism destinations with automobile and animation themes. Plans call for the construction of sports parks.
"We want runners and their families to experience the culture of Jimei and Xiamen through events like these," Jimei's deputy head Huang Ying says.
The district will soon develop two- and three-day travel routes, she says.
About four out of five marathon runners came from outside Jimei.
Many joined because of the costume theme, Huang says.
The district hosts other events like the cross-Straits dragon boat culture festival, a cross-country automobile race and a yacht competition.
"Visitor numbers surge every time we host such events," Huang says.
The district received 10 million visits in 2016, an increase of 35 percent year-on-year.
So, runners - be they tortoises or hares - can start prepping their costumes for next year's cosplay marathon.
The 2nd China Marathon Expo is scheduled to take place from Jan 4-6, 2018 at Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center.
Taiwan compatriots with electronic travel passes can use self-service machines at selected railway stations in the Chinese mainland, China Railway Corporation said Tuesday.