In Brief

China cracks down on ‘cheating’ runners after Shenzhen Half Marathon scandal

Kumming Marathon organisers say they will use facial recognition at Sunday’s race, after 258 cheats caught at event last week

Race organisers have issued sanctions against 258 runners accused of cheating in last weekend’s Shenzhen Half Marathon in southeastern China.

Lifetime bans were handed down to 18 runners who wore fake bibs and three hired imposters, while the remaining 237 cheats – most of whom were caught taking illegal shortcuts – will be barred for up to two years.

“Footage captured by Shenzhen police traffic cameras showed runners cutting through bushes to an adjacent carriageway, instead of continuing along the road and making a U-turn,” says BBC Sport. The shortcut shaved more than a mile off the 13.1-mile route.

Organisers told Xinhua they “deeply regret” the high number of rule violations which occurred during the race, which attracted around 16,000 runners. 

“Marathon running is not simply exercise, it is a metaphor for life, and every runner is responsible for him or herself,” they said in a statement.

However, would-be cheats will have a harder time bending the rules at Sunday’s Kumming Marathon, in southern Yunnan province.

The organisers of the race have announced that they will use facial technology will spot imposter, reports Channel News Asia.  

Distance running has exploded in popularity in China in recent years, with 1,072 marathons and road races held across the country in 2018, up from just 22 in 2011, according to the Chinese Athletic Association.

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