More than 36,000 runners from over 38 countries and regions take part in the 2019 Xiamen International Marathon held on Jan 6. [Photo/xmnn.cn]
Ethiopian runners swept home with victories in both the men's and women's events at the 2019 Xiamen International Marathon on Jan 6.
The defending champion Dejene Debela claimed the men's title in 2 hours 9 minutes and 26 seconds while his compatriot Medina Deme Armind won the women's crown in 2:27:25.
"China is a blessed place for me, and I've run two minutes faster than my best performance last year," said Debela in an interview after the race. "I hope to have more opportunities to come to China and Xiamen for marathons."
The Ethiopian runner has won three Chinese marathons as to date, including the 2018 edition of the Xiamen International Marathon, and the Beijing International Marathon.
More than 80,000 marathon runners from over 38 countries and regions tried to sign up for the 2019 event, with over 36,000 taking part, and the oldest runner being 87 years old.
The 2019 edition of the race introduced the blue line, a standard configuration for the six World Marathon Majors, to help participants better negotiate their runs and improve their performance.
The event this year also joined forces with the United Nations Environment Programme to become part of the Clean Seas Campaign, making it the first international marathon in the world to do so.
In an effort to reduce the plastic pollution generated each year by the Xiamen marathon, its organizers adopted a list of measures and eco-alternatives that will reduce plastic waste by 50% percent.
Besides reducing the use of single-use plastic bottles and replacing the nearly one million single-use cups with biodegradable cups made from maize straw, the marathon was also fully paper-free, with all announcements going digital, saving approximately 10,000 kilograms of paper and 200 kg of solid dye over the course of the event.
The 2019 Xiamen International Marathon, the largest scale full marathon in China, is sponsored by the Chinese Athletics Association and the Xiamen municipal government and jointly broadcast by the state broadcaster CCTV and local Xiamen Television.
A delegation from Sasebo, Japan visited Xiamen, Fujian province from Jan 15 to 18 to explore the operation of cultural institutions in the city.
A delegation from Malaysia headed by Yeoh Soon Hin, executive councillor of Penang State, visited Xiamen, Fujian province from Jan 5 to 8.