Run a Chinese marathon and eat a buffet

Runner news

If you go to China to run a marathon someday, what might you encounter?
By the time you run into the first supply station, you may be confused as to how you ran into a cafeteria.

Welcome to China.


In the Shanghai Marathon, event sponsor Xibei provided roast whole sheep.

In the Wuhan Marathon, you must try the local spicy noodles and crayfish.

In the Harbin Marathon, supply station with raisins bread and Harbin sausage.

In the beginning, the most basic design of the Chinese Marathon replenishment was just the drinking water, which provided the participants with drinking water only.

Formal city marathons have basic rules for replenishment. The provisions of the CHINESE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (CAA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are not much different.

Only drinking water seems not enough today.

According to CAA’s “Standards for Marathon and Related Sports Events in China”, the provisions for beverage stations and drinking water supply stations:

  1. The organizing committee shall ensure that a water/water station or beverage station is set up approximately every 5 km along the track to ensure an adequate supply of water;
  2. For races over 10 km, the drinking water/water station and the beverage station should be equipped at intervals. The beverage station should provide at least sports drinks in addition to drinking water;
  3. For items over 25 km, the beverage station can also provide energy supplements.

According to the rules, all events must ensure adequate water supply for the athletes at the end of the track and along the way, and provide variety and amount of sports drinks and energy supplements, depending on the conditions.

For each water station, prepare 250-330 ml of drinking water for each competitor, and also ensure an overage of 20% (because someone drinks more or shake off).

We didn’t care about food before we came to China marathon.

It can be seen that the marathon competition has strict requirements on the distance design of the replenishment station and the most basic materials (ie water) and quantity required for the replenishment. This design is actually enough to meet the basic needs of the vast majority (really capable of completing) marathon runners.

For sports drinks, CAA has a rigid rule. As for energy foods (such as energy gels, energy bars) and fruits (such as bananas), there is no requirement.

Actually, Chinese big marathon events such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, etc., the water supply are far beyond the basic requirements. In addition to water and sports drinks, the second half of the water station has bananas and other fruits, and occasionally energy Food (mostly provided by sponsors). The richness and “sincerity” of Chinese domestic marathon is far exceeds the marathon events of some developed countries.


A list of supplies along the track announced by the Xiamen Marathon Organizing Committee in 2017.

Why is the Chinese marathon heading to the direction of “buffet”?

Perhaps there is a shadow to draw on other successful marathons in the world.

The Chinese marathon began to enter the blowout state in 2014. The organizers and sponsors of the competition also increased rapidly. In the past 2018, there were more than 1,000 marathon events in mainland of China. The organizing committee members of many competitions are themselves marathon runners. The experience of domestic and foreign events, they found that the word-of-mouth improvement and the obvious spread of the runners is the food on the track. The Tokyo Marathon in Japan and other small marathons often provide a large number of local foods and well prepared unique foods for the runners. These events are widely spread among runners. Many of the special marathons are equivalent for an excellent marathon.

There are some marathons that are famous for food supply, such as the French Bordeaux red wine marathon (providing red wine and oysters, etc.), although the “position” in the marathon events is not as high as the popularity among runners .


The famous French Bordeaux red wine marathon.

Gradually, the China domestic marathon, especially the small ones that are unappealing, have put “food” in a very important position. Watermelons, apples, biscuits, soups, energy gels, and small tomatoes appeared on the track. After the sponsors joined, there were also pancakes, coffee, cakes, and meat… even though many foods were actually not suitable for run and eat on the road.

And many marathon replenishment station are more like a food table, many organizing committees are trying to improve the reputation of the game and eye-catching, desperately thinking about the setting of the food level. After more food/food brand sponsorships have been added, there are many foods that are not suitable for eating or drinking when running a marathon.

Eat well and run well.

In response to such changes, Chinese runners have begun to split into two camps. One side thinks that this is like over-packaging, which is very unprofessional. The other side thinks that the marathon should be a sports carnival, and the mass participants need more fun. The richness of the food supplies is also the highlight of the event.

Considering the interests of the sponsors, the organizing committee does not specify which foods the sponsors can’t provide. In order to grab the attention of the limited participants, the marathon supply station has gradually changed from the role of “gas station” to “restaurant”. Now the participants are more like consumers – they are God, can’t be wrong.

In my opinion, Chinese marathon industry started late, the market is not mature enough, and the sponsors of the event don’t know how to get the true benefit. Since you don’t know what to do, you may offer all kinds of fancy supplies to make the runners deeply impressed, occupying highland in public statements and expanding the influence of the event.

Remember the food and the city.

As a result, more and more amateur marathon runners who are only seeking to finish the game will be more concerned about the abundance of a match, leading to the collective “marathon catering boom.”

If someday, when you successfully complete a marathon in China, the Chinese friend waited at the end asks you “How about your eating all the way?” He is likely to seriously ask you about the quality of the event.

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