China's booming running industry witnessed a seven percent increase to reach 74.6 billion yuan (about 11.10 billion US dollars), according to data released by the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) on Monday.
According to the "China's annual marathon report" released by CAA vice president Yu Hongchen during a press conference, a total of 1,581 road running and cross-country events were held in China last year, a 43.46% increase compared to the 1,102 events in 2017. The total number of participants rose by 17.07 percent to 5.83 million, while the participants in marathon and half-marathon races rose to 1.91 million.
"The total consumption boosted by the running events reached around 28.8 billion yuan and the annual output value of the industry amounted to 74.6 billion yuan," Yu said.
Yu expects the rapid growth, which is widely believed to start from the year 2011 when there were only 22 marathon races held by the CAA, to continue in the foreseeable future, and also emphasized a primary target for the CAA is to improve the quality, instead of just the quantity, of the races in 2019.
"In spite of the increase in the number of the races, most of them are lack of unique characteristics and creativity in terms of race organization and runner service. In 2019 our main target will be helping the organizers in such aspects so that the sport can better live up to its potential to promote public fitness among the country," Yu said.