XIAMEN, China, April 10 (Xinhua) — Having been rated a 2021 World Athletics Elite Platinum Label race in late February, the 2021 Xiamen Marathon kicks off here on Saturday with a total of 12,000 runners.

The 2021 Xiamen Marathon, scheduled for January 3, was postponed to April 10 following a circular issued on December 31, 2020, by China’s State Council task force on combating the Covid-19 epidemic.

As the first domestic platinum event recovered and launched in 2021, pandemic prevention and control remained the top priority.

According to the organizers, all staff and volunteers in close contact with runners passed nucleic acid tests before the match. All contestants were notified to take proper measures against the pandemic via SMS and other means. The green health code, 14-day travel routing card, and nucleic test report were required to be checked upon material pickup. The runners who picked up a number bib were also given a bracelet for pre-match security check convenience. In addition, disposable face masks were also included in the contestants’ packages and post-match supplies for all runners.

As one of China’s top marathons, the 2021 Xiamen Marathon has attracted 67 outstanding contestants, including 54 male runners ever finishing a full race within 2:35:00 and 13 females within 2:50:00.

Beatrice, who is working in Zhejiang Province, said this is her third time to join the Xiamen Marathon.

“I’ve been waiting for 3 months. It is really a long time,” Beatrice said, “I love Xiamen Marathon for its beautiful course, with the 42.195-kilometer route passing by the best scenery in the city.”

Guo Zhiwei from Macao attends the marathon held in the Chinese mainland for the first time.

“I’m excited to have the chance to join all the runners,” Guo said, “the city is clean and the weather is good. I wish I can have a good result.”

The Xiamen Marathon has run successfully for 18 years since its inception in 2003. The result of 2:06:19 made by Kenyan Moses Mosop at the 2015 version stands as the race record for the Xiamen Marathon.

The Xiamen Marathon gained the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label in February, alongside the six world marathon majors (Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, and Tokyo), becoming the second race to win this label in China after the Shanghai Marathon.