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December 3, 2011

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1 in 5 of marathon runners are foreigners

ONE in five of the runners set to take part in Shanghai's annual marathon tomorrow are foreigners, city sports officials said yesterday.

The Shanghai Sports Bureau said that some 26,000 people, professionals and amateurs, are registered to run in the 2011 Toray Cup Shanghai International Marathon.

The event includes a full marathon, a half marathon and a fun run.

The number of entrants represents a 51 percent increase on last year and 21 percent of the total are foreigners.

Participants are also getting younger, said Chen Yiping, deputy director of the bureau.

Chen said the authority is very pleased to see that running is becoming increasingly popular in the city and "as the marathon turns 15 this Sunday, it is becoming more and more international."

Many foreign runners are running not only for health and sporting achievement but for charity, said bureau official Yang Yong.

Among those is Omar Reinero, an Italian living in Shanghai. Reinero wrote on his microblog that he is running for Dang Sijie, a disabled girl helped by the Ankang Charity House in northwestern Shaanxi Province.

"Sunday will be my first full marathon," Reinero posted. "I run for Sijie and the Ankang Charity House. I hope you all can support me."

Reinero has had customized T-shirts made for the event, emblazoned with the slogan, "I run to give everyone the chance to run."

The T-shirt is available at for 80 yuan (US$12.5), with proceeds going to help Ankang Charity House.


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