HENGSHUI, China, Sept. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2016 Hengshui Lake International Marathon & National Marathon Championships (No. 4 Station) kicked off on September 24th in Hengshui, a city in China's Hebei province. Two Ethiopian runners bagged the top titles at the Full Marathon competitions, with Woldaregay Kelkile Gezahegn winning the men's title and Meseret Legese Regasa taking the women's. Xu Wang and Cao Mojie from China respectively claimed the men's and women's titles at the National Marathon Championships (No. 4 Station).
Nearly 16,000 runners participated in one of the race categories, the Full Marathon, the Half Marathon and the Five Kilometer. The competition, approved by the Chinese Athletics Association, was co-organized by the Chinese Athletics Association, the Hebei Provincial Bureau of Sports and the Hengshui Municipal People's Government, in partnership with the Hebei Sports Bureau's Track and Field Management Center and the Hengshui Municipal Bureau of Sports.
The 2016 competition is the fifth Hengshui Lake International Marathon and the third National Marathon Championship. The inaugural event was deemed by the Chinese Athletic Association as a Silver Label race, while the second and third editions were awarded Gold Labels. In 2014, the event was upgraded to the status of a National Marathon Championship and named as one of China's 2014 top sports and tourism events.
The Hengshui Lake International Marathon is the only such event in China that can truly be said to take place alongside a lake for the entire duration, as the starting and ending points as well as the majority of the course are all located alongside Hengshui Lake. The elaborately planned, designed and constructed tracks around the lake have been acclaimed for their wide and flat surfaces, as well as the gently sloping course - the altitude ranges from 21 meters to 26 meters above sea level - complemented by the beauty of the surrounding terrain, landscaped with trees and flowers in bloom. The negative oxygen ion content of Hengshui Lake, measured at 4,600 per cubic centimeter, dozens of times what it is in the neighboring cities, allows the lake and its immediate environs to serve as a natural oxygen bar.
The professional runners who won the top titles at the men's and women's Full Marathons each also walked away with $US 40,000.