People across the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family and Kunshan offers the joy of marathon. At 8 am on March 24, with the triggering of the flash pistol, the 2019 Cross-strait (Kunshan) Marathon kicked off, with nearly 10,000 athletes sprinting against the beautiful sceneries to the South of the Yangtze River.
As one of the regions in the mainland with the most dynamic interactions with Taiwan in investment, businesses, and people-to-people exchanges, Kunshan has conscientiously followed the general principles laid out in General-secretary Xi Jinping’s talks at the 40th anniversary of issuing Message to Compatriots in Taiwan, and the review of Fujian Delegation at the recent “two sessions”. It leveraged the role of cultural and sports exchanges in strengthening the cross-strait bond. It made full efforts to make this marathon a brand and a carrier to deepen the emotional and cultural tie. Kunshan gave full marathon trial last year, which was well-received, and gained recognition from the Chinese Athletics Association for a “bronze medal”.
Zhou Xudong, Mayor of Kunshan City, extended welcome to athletes from the two sides of the Strait and from overseas at the opening. He said that Kunshan is a city with advanced economy, long history and sound ecology and it is a fertile land for Taiwan entrepreneurs and fellow countrymen to invest and start businesses. To ensure quality and organization of this Marathon, Kunshan cleaned the environment, improved the landscape and strengthened event management. The tracks were modified with Taiwan cultural elements, fostering a theme of cultural integration and national inclusiveness, so that Taiwan countrymen and other friends can experience the affinity of the city.
Li Shaowu, CEO of YYsports, spoke at the opening that this marathon had been fully anticipated, and he believed that with joint efforts from stakeholders, Kunshan Marathon would become a world-class “gold championship” with consistent presence. Lei Lisha, representative of Taiwan athletes, expressed appreciations to Kunshan for preparing the aesthetic surroundings and that there were many Taiwan participants. It was hoped everyone can encounter a stronger self through this game, and Chinese across the Strait, especially the younger generation, can intensify exchanges and bestow new connotations to a family across the Strait.
After rounds of fierce competition, Kenyan athletes monopolized the full and half marathons in both genders, winning all four gold medals. Zhang Ligang and Wang Zhenzi, both are from China’s mainland, won silver medals in full-men and full-women, respectively, whereas Taiwan contestant Lei Lisha won the second in women’s half marathon.
There were three programs in the event—— full, half and mini marathons, with race tracks covering natural views of parks, nature reserves and river banks, and artistic views of city plazas, innovation parks, and science parks. Over 7,000 police and security, 380 medical staff and 1,358 volunteers jointly escorted the whole event.