Friendlier! Closer! More close-knit! – The SCO International Marathon in Kunming unites 15,000 people from 27 countries

Friendlier! Closer! More close-knit! – The SCO International Marathon in Kunming

On 31 December 2017, Kunming (Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China) hosted the second SCO International Marathon. Under the slogan Friendlier! Closer! More close-knit!, 14,300 amateur runners from 27 countries, united by the "Shanghai spirit" greeted the New Year from the race tracks of the city of "the eternal spring". Tens of thousands of people witnessed the spectacular sport and cultural event taking place on the shores of the magic Dianchi Lake.

Over 50,000 amateur runners applied to take part in the SCO International Marathon but only one in three were selected by lot. The race included four relays, with the full marathon covering 42km 195m and involving 1,469 people. At the start of the half marathon, which covered 21km 975m, there were 5,389 runners. The "health race" of 7km had 5,847 participants. The "SCO Mile" relay of 2,017m was especially popular, involving 1,657 runners and 526 families. The event was opened by the SCO Secretary-General, representatives of the administrations of Yunnan Province and of the city of Kunming, and ambassadors and diplomats from the countries of the "SCO family."

Of the total number of runners, men made up 58 percent and women 42 percent.

To meet the runners' needs, 2,538 volunteers, 12,000 security and law enforcement officers, 32 ambulances, 270 medics and 130 rescuers were provided.

Special arrangements were made for children, the elderly and disabled people. The oldest runner was 84 years old and the youngest, only two months.

The SCO Marathon engaged 271 referees, five of them of international class.

The marathon received wide coverage by the media. Throughout the three hours of the event, the China national sports channel, CCTV5, broadcasted the main event of the year live. Helicopters and aircraft were also deployed.

The SCO Marathon featured a major cultural programme in which 666 people took part. Colourful performances by folk groups and demonstrations of the traditional customs of Yunnan Province's ethnicities attracted tens thousands visitors.

The honorary guest at the SCO Marathon was Dilshod Nazarov, champion at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, four-time Asian hammer throw champion, deputy chairman of the Committee for Youth Affairs and Sport under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and president of the Athletics Federation of the Republic of Tajikistan.

According to SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov, "The SCO Marathon became a practical embodiment of the synergy of sports and the Shanghai spirit, the triumph of strength of the human spirit, the adoption of a healthy lifestyle and an important contribution both to friendship and cooperation between the peoples and nations and to cultural and humanitarian interactions in the SCO space."