Beijing Marathon

Image from @PDChina

Despite the smog – “hazardous” as described by the U.S. embassy – that hit the Chinese capital, the Beijing Marathon still pushed through. That runners still chose to run the marathon was no surprise to me. That pollution levels peaked at 400 micrograms per cubic metre, exceeding the WHO threshold of 25 micrograms per cubic metre, was no deterrent to the thousands of runners. A marathon after all is a test of willpower. It’s definitely no cake walk. Those who have experienced the “wall” know that it becomes a battle of mental fortitude. A marathoner has trained himself to disregard that voice in his head that tells him to stop.

It’s not easy training for a marathon. It would have been frustrating not to have run. Runners would have trained for months, a number of times probably under the hot morning sun. They would wake up early in the morning and run for hours and hours. Would they let some pollution stop them from running a race that they had trained long and hard for? Would they throw away months of training just because of smog?

I am not saying that I approve of the choice they made to run. I am just saying that I can understand why they chose to run rather than sit it out. After all, you have to be a little crazy to run a marathon.