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PICTURES: Beijing Marathon runners wear masks due to severe haze

As if running 42.195km isn't hard enough ...

Some runners at the Beijing Marathon this morning (Oct 19) put on face and gas masks to combat the severe smog that enveloped the city and other parts of northern China over the weekend. 

The marathon, into its 34th year, kicked off at Tiananmen Square and ended at the Olympic Park. 

According to Fox News, organisers made 140,000 sponges available to the 30,000 participants, so they could clean their skin. 

According to the @BeijingAir Twitter account, the PM2.5 PSI reading in Beijing in the morning hovered between 300 and 400 - which is considered hazardous.

PHOTOS: AFP

Sources: Xinhua, Fox News, @BeijingAir

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