African Runners Appear to Let Chinese Runner Win Beijing Half-Marathon, Spark Controversy

Chinese runner He Jie’s victory at last week’s Beijing Half-Marathon has been overshadowed by a scandal involving three Kenyan runners who appear to let the Chinese competitor win the race.

Sunday’s Beijing Half-Marathon saw 25-year-old He Jie crossed the finish line first, in 1:03:44, under a second ahead of an African trio of runners who collectively claimed second place. It was an impressive achievement for the Chinese runner, especially since one of the runners-up was former 5km world record-holder Robert Keter of Kenya, but his win was quickly called into question on social media after suspicious videos recorded during the race made their way online. The fact that He seemed to be the only one sprinting as he approached the finish line was bizarre enough, but one clip shows Kenya’s Willy Mnangat signaling his countryman Keter and Ethiopian runner Dejene Hailu Bikila to hang back and waving He Jie to overtake them.

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Chain-Smoking Marathon Runner Banned from Competitions for Promoting Unhealthy Habit

A Chinese marathon runner famous for chain-smoking during official running competitions has been banned by the athletic federation for two years for his “uncivilized” behavior.

Chen Mouxian, aka ‘Uncle Chen’, first made international headlines in 2022, when photos of him running in the Xin’anjiang Marathon went viral on social media. What drew people’s attention to the then-50-year-old experienced runner was that he always had a lit cigarette in his mouth, and kept lighting up as soon as he finished a cigarette. Dubbed “Smoking Brother”, Chen sparked controversy on Chinese social media, with some users praising his athletic abilities, and others criticizing him for promoting an unhealthy habit and also exposing other runners to harmful tobacco smoke. This month, Uncle Chen was banned from participating in marathons for two years after once again smoking his way through the 2024 Xiamen Marathon in Fujian on January 7th.

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Company Gives Bonuses to Employees Who Run Two Miles Per Day

A Chinese company has replaced its year-end employee bonus program with another scheme designed to promote exercise – enticing financial rewards for employees who exercise on a daily basis.

Guangdong Dongpo Paper, a paper company in Guangdong Province, China, recently made international headlines for replacing its traditional performance-based employee bonus scheme with one based on athletic performance. To promote a healthy lifestyle among its 100 employees, management decided to reward them based on how much they exercise. For example, an employee will be eligible for a full monthly bonus if they run 50 km a month. They will get 60 percent of the bonus for running 40km, and 30 percent for 30km. Running enthusiasts stand to get a 30% bonus if they can prove they ran over 100 km in a single month.

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Running-Obsessed Dad Locks Child in Car for Five Hours to Participate in Marathon

A recently divorced woman denounced her husband’s obsession with running, claiming that he once left their 5-year-old daughter locked in a car for hours so he could run a marathon.

In an angry post on Chinese social media, Zhao, a woman living in southern China’s Hunan province, said that her former husband’s obsession with running ended up destroying their family. Although he never really admitted he was obsessed with running, Zhao claims that it was always his number one priority. At first, she had encouraged him to run in order to preserve his health, but soon it became the only thing he cared about. In the end, it caused a rift between the spouses and one of the husband’s desperate actions convinced the woman that she was better off on her own.

Photo: unitea/Pixabay

According to Toutiao News, Zhao wrote in her post that her ex-husband once left their 5-year-old daughter alone in a car for several hours, just so he could do what he loved most, run. The woman did not observe this herself, but her daughter later told her everything. Apparently, her ex-husband bought the 5-year-old girl breakfast, gave her his phone for entertainment, locked her in a car, and went to run in a marathon.

Confronted by Chinese media after Zhao’s post went viral all over the country, the father, Peng, admitted to leaving his daughter alone in the car so he could run in the marathon. However, he claimed that he only ran a short distance before returning to the girl.

“I only ran 1.5km then returned to the car to find her sleeping,” Peng said, before telling the mother that if she didn’t like the way he raised their daughter, she should take her away with her.

“His addiction to running destroyed our family,” Zhao said.

Scientsist Develop Light Exosuit That Helps People Sprint Faster

Scientists at South Korea’s Chung-Ang University have created an ultra-light exosuit that can help runners cover short distances faster.

They may not be mainstream yet, but exoskeletons have been a part of our world for a while now. We’ve seen some that make carrying heavy loads a breeze, and others that help physically disabled people move around with ease. But wearable technology that helps people run faster has been pretty rare, especially in the super-light form recently presented by scientists at Chung-Ang University’s School of Mechanical Engineering in South Korea. They created a contraption that only weighs around 2.5 kg (5.5lbs) but can help the average person run a 200-meter sprint almost a second faster than without the suit.

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11,000 Runners Disqualified for Cheating During Mexico Marathon

11,000 runners out of the 30,000 participants at last month’s Mexico City Marathon have been disqualified by organizers for cheating by cutting out sections of the 26.2-mile course.

Marathon cheating is not exactly unheard of. In fact, it occurs at almost every major event, and offenders include some of the world’s most acclaimed athletes, like Australian ultramarathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski, who was accused of using a car during a race, or Kelly Agnew, who allegedly hid in portable toilets to avoid running several race laps. However, this year’s Mexico City Marathon may have set a new record for the highest number of disqualifications due to suspected cheating. A whopping 11,000 runners, more than 1 out of 3 participants, were disqualified for using various means of transportation to cut out sections of the race.

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Somali Athlete Runs “Slowest” Official 100-Meter Race Ever

The embarrassing performance of a Somali athlete during the women’s 100-meter race at the World University Games in Chengdu, China prompted a public apology from the African country’s sports minister.

It takes an abysmal athletic performance to warrant accusations of “defaming the name of a nation in the international arena,” but then again, the run of Nasra Abukar Ali during the women’s 100-meter race last week has been dubbed as the slowest in an official tournament. In a video that has gone viral on social media, the Somali athlete can be seen starting sluggishly out of the blocks, as the other competitors burst forward, and she quickly gets behind so fast that she doesn’t even show up on the camera following the race. Abukar Ali crossed the finish line in 21.81 seconds, more than 8 seconds slower than the second-last runner, and more than 10 seconds behind the winner of the race.

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Man Runs 425 Miles in Four Days, Sets New World Record

Australia’s Phil Gore recently set a new world record at the 2023 Dead Cow Gully Backyard Masters Ultramarathon by running a whopping 425 miles (685 kilometers) in four days.

The Dead Cow Gully Backyard Masters is billed as a ‘race with no finish line’ by its organizers, and that makes sense because the format requires runners to complete a loop of 6.7km every hour and the race continues until only one runner remains. This year’s event was held on a farm in Nanango, 112 miles northwest of Brisbane, Australia. The endurance race began at 7 am on Saturday, June 17th, and ended four and a half days later, when there was only one person still running, Australian Phil Gore. After running the 6.7-km lap no less than 102 times, he was finally declared the winner.

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The Speed Project – The World’s Most Mysterious Ultramarathon

The Speed Project is a relay-style ultramarathon unlike any other. It is an unofficial race for which runners have to receive an invitation, and it has but one rule – no running on freeways.

You’ve probably never heard of it, but within the ultramarathon community, participating in The Speed Project is somewhat of a Holy Grail. Running across the Death Valley, from the Santa Monica pier all the way to the Las Vegas welcome sign in a 340-mile ultramarathon with no rules and no set course has proven unusually appealing to runners looking for something new and exciting. It has been called the running world’s equivalent of “Fight Club”, because of the secrecy and mystery surrounding it, but it was precisely these characteristics that have massively boosted its popularity in recent years. However, despite big brands’ desire to be associated with The Speed Project, it remains exclusive to participants selected by the ultramarathon’s founders.

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Ultramarathon Runner Stripped of Medal for Using a Car during a Race

Joasia Zakrzewski, an accomplished ultramarathon runner from Australia, was stripped of her bronze medal and trophy won in a recent 50-mile race after organizers learned that she had used a car for a portion of the course.

47-year-old Joasia Zakrzewski finished third in the 2023 GB Ultras 50-mile (80km) race from Manchester to Liverpool on April 7 and even posed with her medal and trophy after crossing the finish line despite knowing full well that she had broken the rules of the competition. After analyzing GPX data, race organizers concluded that Zakrzewski had reached a speed of 35mph (56km/h) during a short section of the race, which made her faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest human in history. Upon interrogating race staff, witnesses and the runner herself, Joasia Zakrzewski was disqualified and stripped of her medal for riding in a friend’s car during the race.

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50-Year-Old Man Goes Viral for Smoking While Running Marathons

A Chinese man recently went viral on social media after he was photographed lighting up and smoking several tobacco cigarettes while running a marathon.

At this point, I think everyone can agree that smoking tobacco isn’t the healthiest thing you can do. But it’s one thing to light up in the comfort of your own home while enjoying a cup of coffee, or on a cigarette break at work, and quite another while running a 42-kilometer marathon. So when photos of a man in his 50’s casually smoking while taking part in the Xin’anjiang Marathon last week went viral, everyone was curious to know his story.

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The COPD Athlete – Man Runs Marathons With Only 30 Percent Lung Capacity

An Australian man has become known as the COPD Athlete because of his incredible ability to run entire marathons despite having only 30 percent lung capacity as a result of an incurable and progressive condition.

Russell Winwood was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in 2011. By that time, the Brisbane native had already turned his life around, having survived a stroke at age 36. He had given up smoking, cut down on drinking alcohol, started eating better, and, most importantly, he had taken up sports. For years, he competed in varying distances of triathlons, from sprint to Half Ironman and even a few ultra-marathons. Everything was going great, but at one point Winwood noticed that his usual training felt harder and he found it difficult to breathe. That’s when he received his COPD diagnosis, along with the warning that his lungs were operating at less than 30 percent capacity.

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82-Year-Old Woman Runs 78 Miles in 24 Hours, Sets New World Record

Barbara Humbert, an 82-year-old great-grandmother from Val d’Oise, France, recently set a new world record after running a whopping 125 km (78 miles) in 24 hours.

At the end of last month, during the French Championships held in Brive-la-Gaillarde, 82-year-old Barbara Humbert broke the world record for the longest distance run in 24 hours for her age category. A German woman had run 105 kilometers (65.2 miles) on tarmac a few years back, and Barbara had her sights on improving that record by about 15 kilometers. She exceeded her own expectations, though, smashing through the old world record with a recorded distance of 125 kilometers covered in 24 hours. Not bad for an 82-year-old great-grandmother, is it?

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Family Faces Backlash For Allowing 6-Year-Old Child to Run Full Marathon

A couple that documents their family’s outdoor activities and athletic achievement on social media recently landed in hot water for encouraging their 6-year-old son to complete a 26.2-mile running marathon.

Kami and Ben Crawford routinely share their family’s athletic exploits with their tens of thousands of fans on YouTube and Instagram, but their latest challenge attracted more criticism than praise. Last week, the couple took to social media to post photos of their entire family running the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinatti. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that picture, except for the fact that their youngest son, Rainier, is only 6-years-old and the Flying Pig marathon is a whopping 26.2-mile run. The fact that he had to run for 8 hours and 35 minutes to finish the race was viewed by many as nothing less than torture for the young child.

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Watch Inspirational 70-Year-Old Man Run 100-Meter race in Just 13.47 Seconds

Michael Kish, a 70-year-old American runner, stunned the audience at the Penn Relays athletic event last Thursday, by finishing the 100-meter dash in under 14 seconds.

Imagine being a pensioner and turning up at an important sporting event meant primarily for athletes in prime physical shape and stealing the show. That’s exactly what Michael Kish did last week with his awe-inspiring performance in the 100-meter dash, blowing past his competitors and finishing with an impressive time of just 13.47 seconds. That’s a time most 20-year-olds can only dream of beating, yet this 70-year-old grandfather ran it like it was no big deal.

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