"I ran 2 kilometers before the starting gun fired to warm up. but the troublesome thing was, after running these 2 kilometers, my body still had not heated up", the competitor said in a first-person account that has been viewed more than 100,000 times on his WeChat account "Wandering about the South".
After an all-night rescue operation in freezing temperatures involving more than 700 personnel, rescuers were able to confirm that 151 people were safe, out of a total of 172 participants. Eight were injured. The remaining racers were found dead at various points along the course, with the latest victim discovered Sunday morning. "The temperature dropped sharply".
According to one of the rescued participants, the previous day's weather forecast had not predicted such extreme conditions.More news: Reopening Ontario isn’t just on Doug Ford - it’s down to us
Runners farther along fell off the trail into deep mountain crevices, per a report by CCTV.
Screenshots of messages sent in the race participants' chat group were published in local media. I couldn't stand up straight because of the wind, I was very anxious I'd be blown over.
Among the dead were top long-distance runners Liang Jing, who has won several ultramarathons in China in recent years and Huang Guanjun, a deaf-mute athlete, who won the men's hearing-impaired marathon at the 2019 National Paralympic Games in Tianjin. Marathon organisers confirmed his death to a friend, who was cited in local media.
More than 84 million viewed the hashtag "Is the Gansu marathon accident natural or man-made?", while 130 million scoured a thread around safety concerns for marathons and cross-county races.More news: Palestinians Killed, Over 100 Hurt in West Bank Unrest
The search continued into Sunday morning, with further temperature drops making the search more hard.
The deaths sparked outrage on Chinese social media, mainly directed at the regional government over its lack of contingency planning.
Deadly floods and landslides have hit the province in the past, with mudslides reportedly killing well over 1,000 people in one town in 2010.
What was described as one of the most fatal incidents to happen in the history of Chinese sporting events, happened during the 2021 100km mountain ultra-marathon. The temperature plummeted, and dozens of runners suffered hypothermia.More news: Masks no longer required for vaccinated people at the White House