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Joggers of 9 Nations Run on New Silk Road

SHANGHAI, August 7 -- In the heaviest rain Shanghai has seen in the past 30 years, 180 people from eight European countries - but mainly France - started their annual Marathon from Nanjing Lu yesterday. And 200 local Shanghainese joined yesterday's event,according to today's China Daily.

The route leads the runners to the renowned ancient Silk Road, which linked ancient Roman and Chinese empires for trade.

They ran along the downtown areas in the city for some 5 kilometres in the early morning.

"Shanghai is actually not on the Silk Road. However, such a big event needs Shanghai's participation," said Jean-Claude Le Cornec, initiator of the activity in 1996. "That's why Shanghai is the starting station."

This year's event has the most participants, compared with the past five years.

Each stop will have a champion. Two competitors won yesterday morning's Champion cups in Shanghai.

They then flew by air to Xi'an in Shaanxi Province yesterday afternoon to begin their trudge on the Silk Road.

The journey will cover Xi'an, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan and Lanzhou, and, lastly, up to the Great Wall in Beijing. It will also pass mountains, deserts and plains.

However, jogging is not the only goal, as the event aims to highlight ancient cultures and civilizations. Participants run 10-25 kilometres every morning, and in the afternoon they visit attractions.

"I'm fond of jogging, as well as Chinese culture," said Marie Fransoise Coussin, 63, a retired teacher, "and I am proving to be still young with this activity."

The competitors' ages range from 16 to 70, and 40 per cent of them are female.

The oldest lover of the marathon in Shanghai is 83-year-old Liu Shichang, who is taking part.


-- source: Xinhua News Agency


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