(ECNS) -- Extreme weather hit participants on Saturday in a 100-kilometer cross-country mountain marathon race held in Jingtai, Baiyin, northwest China's Gansu Province.
Twenty-one runners died of hypothermia after suffering from temperature plummet caused by hail, high winds and freezing rain.
Some survived thanks to shepherds and rescuers.
Zhu Keming, a shepherd, came to seek a shelter from the rain in a waste cave on the day. Hearing cries for help outside,
Zhu went out and brought the freezing runners in, putting quilts on them and making a fire to warm them. This cave is 2,202 meters above sea level.
Zhu often herds sheep in this area so he stored some clothes, beddings and solid food for emergency.
The six runners gradually recovered from hypothermia and were sent to safe places by rescuers.