Bad air? 7 said to suffer heart attacks at Beijing marathon
About 30,000 raced in Sunday's (Sept 20) Beijing Marathon raced amid smog and a high level of air pollution.
In the 35th edition on Sunday, Kenyan veteran Mariko Kipchumba, 41, became the first non-Ethiopian athlete to win the event since 2011.
He clocked 2 hours 11 minutes, Xinhua news agency said.
In the women’s competition, Ethiopian runner Betelhem Cherenet bagged home the title in 2:27:31.
But the air quality proved too much for some runners.
By the time the event ended, six runners and and one race official were believed to have suffered non-fatal heart attacks.
A 30-year-old man was among the seven affected.
He suddenly passed out just 4km from the finish line of the 42km marathon.
South China Morning Post reported that he regained consciousness after being rushed to the hospital.
The race started at Tiananmen Square and ended at Beijing's Olympic Park.
Shortly after the race finished, the US Embassy in Beijing recorded the Air Quality Index level at 175, signifying "unhealthy" air.
Levels between 151 and 200 are considered unhealthy and prolonged outdoor exercise is not recommended under such levels, Press TV said.
Conditions during this year's race were considered better than last year's "smog marathon".
Organisers then had refused to postpone the event which took place amid warnings on "hazardous" air quality, rt.com reported.
The level of pollution was nearly 14 times higher than safe air conditions recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
PM-2.5 particle level, linked to cancer and other health problems, reached 373 micrograms per cubic meter, against 25 micrograms considered safe by WHO.
Sources: South China Morning Post, Press TV, rt.com, Twitter, Reuters, Xinhua