To get to know a city, running is a great way. In mid-spring, runners from all over the world ushered in a marathon trip to "measure the city with your steps".

On March 3, the 19 Peach Blossom Marathon (hereinafter referred to as "Peach Blossom Horse") on both sides of the Fenghua Strait started in Fenghua District, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, with 2023,1 runners gathering together to participate in a spring covenant among the green mountains and scorching peach blossoms.

Paint a poetic picture with the track

Wearing a red balloon with the words "2:15" strapped to his body, Kim Yi-woo was one of the many "rabbits" in the marathon.

"Rabbits" are pacemakers in marathons, and their job is to guide runners to run at a steady pace and finish within a predetermined time. This means that as long as they "follow" Kim Yiyu, runners can complete the half marathon in about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

"I am 50 years old this year, I have been running since 1992, and I have participated in nearly 20 times in the whole horse and half horse, and I am very confident that I must have a stable speed and lead everyone to run together." Kim Yiyu said.

At the starting line, Thomas Cliffe from the United Kingdom is sorting out the race gear. He is an English teacher working in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, and has been in China for three and a half years, but this is the first time he has participated in a full marathon in China. Cliff says his future goal is to challenge himself to a more difficult mountain marathon.

In the interview, many runners praised Fenghua's "Peach Blossom Horse" track with "picturesque". March is the season when peach blossoms bloom, and in the peach orchard north of Lin Jia Village, Xiaowangmiao Street, flowers and bones are full of branches; Looking at Qingyun Village, the clear river runs through the village, and the old houses of Shiliang are scattered; The newly built village in Xikou Town, nearly 3 acres of plum blossoms and green mountains shine in the distance... During the run, a poetic picture of the countryside can be seen.

According to the relevant person in charge of the event, this year's race has optimized and adjusted the track, and the starting and ending points of the three groups of full horse, half horse and happy run are set in the main urban area. The newly added urban circuit links the coastal city with the tranquil countryside, providing runners with a unique space to compete.

"Coming to the competition this time is like a class reunion, everyone meets old friends in the beautiful scenery, and there is no feeling of rustiness at all." Chen Dahei, a runner from Taiwan, said.

Pass perseverance and courage with running

In 1 hour and 57 minutes, Luo Shujian used a three-wheeled cart to push his son into the Fenghua Sports Center. He gave his son the peach blossom-shaped finishing medal to share the joy of finishing.

Luo Shujian, a courier in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, was born in 2009 when his son Xiaobai suffered from severe brain damage caused by severe asphyxia, and suffered from "Lennox syndrome", the most difficult to control in childhood epilepsy. Today, although Xiaobai is 13 years old, he only has the intelligence of a child of one or two years old.

The heavy blows in life made Luo Shujian suffer for a while. In 2010, Luo Shujian was very shocked to see the story of American Dick Hoyt running all over the United States with his son with cerebral palsy and completing more than 1000,<> road running events.

"I also want to run and take my son to see the world!" Since then, Luo Shujian has started training for long-distance running. In 2015, he took his son to run his first marathon, and in the following eight years, they "ran" more than 8 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

In Ningbo, father and son ran their 57th marathon together. To this end, the organizers of the event specially prepared a number plate with the tail number "57" for Luo Shujian.

The medals are a testimony to his father's love and tenacity, and interprets the perseverance and courage of the marathon. "As long as the conditions are still allowed, I will push Xiaobai to continue running." Luo Shujian said that he hopes that through his run, more people can pay attention to vulnerable groups such as cerebral palsy children and autistic children, and encourage more people to run to their own spring.

Use events to expand the space for cultural tourism

What does a marathon mean for a city?

With the deep integration of national fitness and national health, outdoor sports have gradually become a popular exercise method for the masses. According to data from the National Physical Fitness Monitoring Center, running is one of the sports with the highest participation of adults in China, with a participation rate of 19.8%.

On the marathon track, you can see both professional long-distance runners and newcomers who have just come into contact with road running; There are elders with gray hair, and there are children who compete with their parents. Tracks of different distances and forms, such as full horse, half horse, and happy running, allow more people to run and run smoothly.

After the successful completion of the race, Mr. Wu from Guizhou said that in addition to participating in the competition in Fenghua, he also brought his wife and daughter, a family of three, to the spring outing. "I heard about the beauty of peach blossoms here for a long time, and I finally had the opportunity to see it."

Industry insiders believe that in the "economic account" of marathon events, in addition to direct income such as broadcasting, sponsorship and registration fees, derivative income such as hotels, transportation, tourism, shoes and clothing equipment is also considerable. The data shows that half of the marathon runners have experience in competing abroad, of which about seventy percent will taste local food and special snacks, and more than sixty percent of runners will choose to travel locally.

Many places also hold marathons as a window for urban publicity. Taking the "Peach Blossom Horse" as an example, in addition to natural scenery and urban scenery, the 42-kilometer track also has historical and cultural landscapes such as Wuling Gate and Wenchang Pavilion. In 2021, the event incorporated intangible cultural heritage elements, adding intangible cultural heritage food supply points to 19 regular food supply stations, providing special foods such as peach gum drinks. This year, the organizers set up a variety of cultural and entertainment activities such as waist drumming and martial arts performances along the way, and explored the local cultural heritage with the help of the event. (Reporter Sun Yahui)