Zhang is the only survivor of the six athletes who are competing on a long distance route when severe weather causes freezing rain and a sudden jump in temperature.
The tragedy stunned the Chinese running community and sparked public outrage, prompting many to question whether the race organizers had planned properly or prepared participants for the extreme weather.
As China’s growing middle class becomes a hobby, marathons and consecutive races have exploded in popularity over the years.
According to experts and a contest organizer who spoke to CNN, local governments rushed to host the tournament to promote tourism and increase consumption, but weak industry regulations and poor government oversight posed safety risks. they say Races are often poorly organized and sometimes face injuries and deaths.
“All departments and units … should focus on preventing and resolving major risks as a top priority,” the meeting read.
The Gansu provincial government, where the incident took place last Saturday, has launched an investigation into the incident, but critics say the deadly match is a wake-up call for officials across the country – especially in poorer provinces that promise to benefit. It tempts organizers to cut costs.
What went wrong in the match
It is by no means an easy match. The route winds through narrow sandy valleys and through exposed mountains about 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level, and participants have only 20 hours to complete the 100-kilometer course.
To qualify for entry, runners must complete two full marathons or a race of more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) in the past two years. They pay 1,000 yuan ($ 157) to enter and are offered a 1,600 yuan ($ 251) prize to finish – with 15,000 to 2,000 yuan ($ 2,353 to $ 3,137) for 10 Top runner.
The official organizer is the Bain government, but the main work was done with a small company that won a bid of 1.5 million yuan ($ 240,000) to participate in the competition in 2018, and according to public company registration records, it continues.
“There is no provision at checkpoint 3, which means that even if (the car) reaches the surface, there is no food or drink – let alone hot water. There is also no resting place on the mountain and no “There is no way out,” the post said.
According to this post, the climb is so steep that runners have to struggle in parts.
This is where Zhang died and many other motorists were destroyed.
The 30-year-old coach of the sports club put pressure, but the wind was so strong that it kept falling.
“(I) fell more than 10 times. My limbs tightened and I felt my body slowly get out of control. After the last fall, I could no longer get up,” he wrote.
Zhang wrapped his alertness in a foil blanket at the last minute – the only frost protection he had in his backpack – and pressed the SOS button on his GPS tracker.
But no help came.
Instead, Zhang was exposed to the ice for two and a half hours under icy conditions, until a local shepherd spotted him and took him to a cave. He woke up an hour later and found himself drowning in a quilt by the fire, along with several other runners. They also take refuge in a cave.
The Bain city government blames the staggering cause of casualties on “sudden changes in the region’s climate.” But many believe that the organization’s officials should be responsible for not observing adequate safety and protection points.
“This time the distance between the two supply stations was 16 km (about 10 miles), which meant that the runners did not watch for two or three hours – there was no drink, no food or a tent to rest, nothing. It posed a great danger. “He said,” he said.
No explanation was provided for participating in this contest. Bain Mayor Zhang Zhuchen apologized and bowed at a televised news conference on Sunday.
“As the organizers of this event, we have a lot of guilt and self-blame. We express our condolences to the victims and offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and the injured,” he said.
On social media, some commented on whether the organizers could control the weather more closely and perhaps leave the race.
Experts also point to the lack of first aid and rescue resources at the scene, especially in the most difficult part of the race, where most runners have difficulty. The steep slope is inaccessible to cars and further complicates rescue efforts.
“(The organizers) have to be ready for rescue operations. Some races have helicopters, some have a professional rescue team – but people always have to be ready. This time it seems to me that these cases ( The settings are “low,” Jiangdong, a sports health specialist at Wenzhou University, told state-run CCTV.
An industry-level problem
Alex Wang, a travel blogger who worked for a Chinese outdoor sports company until 2019 and organized more than 10 routes At car races in China, he said, the events he participated in often employed an ambulance for every 10 kilometers.
But not all organizers were willing to pay for it, he said.
“It all depends on the cost. If you want to set up more rescue points and put people on standby during the race, you have to spend more,” he said.
Compared to urban marathons, running is late in China and has only become popular in the last few years.
Unlike urban marathons, competition routes in China lack rules and regulations, and there are no specific regulatory bodies, Wang said. “In most cases, local governments act as gatekeepers, and the standards are very different,” he added.
“Some competitions often focus only on economic benefits and are reluctant to invest more in services and safety. Some companies do not have the competence and ability to organize high-risk sports … and only seek success and quick profits. “And some local government officials do not want or do not know how to monitor such events.”
Comet competitions They are often kept in remote areas of the country that are lagging behind in terms of development and resources. End The race took place on Saturday in the remote suburbs of Gansu, one of China’s poorest regions.
But for the families of the victims, this lesson is very expensive.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.