There is a new craze which seems to have taken over the Chinese – running Marathon’s. In 2011, there were 22 marathons in the country and in 2016, this number has shot up to 328 marathons with some 2.8 million runners.
So why this ‘marathon fever?’ It is actually a reflection of the changing society, like in India where people are getting more influenced by positive lifestyles of the West. Though consumerism remains, for many people in the middle class fitness and recreation are the new luxuries. And what do they do when the air quality becomes bad? They check air-quality readings on their phones much the way that runners elsewhere check weather forecasts, and head outdoors only when the conditions are good enough.
There are now running clubs all over the country and when a marathon is announced with 30,000 spots, it gets fully filled up within a couple of hours of opening. For the central government, promoting marathons is part of a push for healthier lifestyles.
Any guesses what has become a good gift to give away? Not a bottle of wine or chocolates but a spot in the Shanghai or Beijing marathons.