Beijing Marathon runners strap on masks to face ‘hazardous’ smog

in on October 21, 2014 . 0 Comments.

BEIJING — If running a 42 kilometer foot race was not tough enough, Sunday’s Beijing International Marathon saw thousands of competitors brave a “hazardous” smog which engulfed the Chinese capital.

Many runners wore face or gas marks to attempt to protect themselves from the effects of the poor air quality but there were several withdrawals before and during the race as runners feared for their health.

It did not stop Ethiopia’s Girmay Birhanu Gebru from winning the 34th edition of the race in two hours 10 minutes and 42 seconds, with his compatriot Fatuma Sado Dergo taking the women’s title.

But many leading runners did stay away — perhaps taking their cue from Gebru’s compatriot, the great Haile Gebrselassie, who opted out of running the marathon in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because he was asthmatic and feared the effects of smog.

This is caused by tiny particles known as PM2.5, which can embed themselves deep in the lungs, and had reached more than 400 micrograms per cubic meter as the runners lined up for the start in Tiananmen Square.

The recommended daily average maximum level of exposure as prescribed by the World Health Organization is just 25 micrograms.

POSTED 4:43 PM, OCTOBER 19, 2014, BY 

Tags: Wow, Mask, Beijing Marathon, People, Smog Last update: October 21, 2014


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