Sports / How running got popular

APEC Blue and Beijing Marathon Blue

By Jeff Walsh (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-15 08:19

APEC in Beijing.

What a great idea!

As a new resident to Beijing, I just want to say how much I am truly enjoying the "APEC Blue" weather that we are having this week not to mention the APEC holidays. Before the meeting even started, the world leaders have already tackled the issues of climate change, global warming and green technology in China's capital city, and put the citizens of Beijing all on holiday.

APEC in Beijing. The G20 summit next week will be held in Brisbane, Australia. Is it too late to change the venue to Beijing? I like these APEC blue skies. Maybe the G20 and the United Nations should consider having this grand event in the China's capital city semi-annually, quarterly or even monthly. Local residents can only drive on designated "odd/even license plate days". As I was walking toward the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Beijing, a car zoomed past me emblazoned with "Offiical Asia-Pacific Cooperation Meeting Vehicle". I should have checked his license plate to see if he was driving on the right day of the week.

Why stop at APEC Blue? Let's also have "Beijing Marathon Blue" days.

I was one of the 40,000 runners in the Beijing Marathon and Half Marathon running event three weeks ago. Marathon running is by definition an aerobic activity. "Aerobic" means "requiring oxygen". Yes, we need more oxygen. A lot more oxygen. 42 kilometers of happy, healthy smog-free running would be the ideal for any runner. Surgical masks are intended for an emergency room. All those surgical masks running along in search of a clean-air doctor is a sad sight indeed.

Why not shut down the factories for a day or two prior to the start of the 2015 Beijing Marathon?

About 30 percent of the foreign entrants did not show up for their place at the starting line of the marathon this year. It is pretty easy to guess the reason why. "Beijing Marathon Blue" would be more than good public relations for the city. Lets stop singing the blues. Let's turn the sky to Beijing Marathon Blue.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics are often touted as the greatest Olympics of all time. I attended those Olympics and it is hard to argue against this claim. The extensive preparation leading up to the games, the warmth of the people, the dedication of the army of volunteers impressed visitors worldwide. When I arrived by train from Shandong there were 20 smiling, happy volunteer faces at the station willing to assist me in anyway. It seemed everywhere I went in Beijing during those glorious two weeks, there were 20 smiling, happy faces willing to help me.

I would like to say the same for the Beijing Marathon. The Beijing Marathon has not only a clean-air issue but a safety issue.

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