Marathon is proving to be a real winner（中国日报 10月19日）
People wanting to take part in Sundays Beijing Marathon had to be quick out of the starting blocks this year because the race is now so popular that all spaces were snapped up by Sept 10 - a month earlier than last year.
Organizers said people are still calling the office on a daily basis to see if they can sign up.
"Our office in Beijing is still receiving 30 to 40 calls a day from those who want to participate in the competition，" said Dou Hong， an official with the Beijing Marathon Organizing Committee. "What I hear every day in the office is， sorry， registration is closed."
People from 48 countries and regions were among the 30，000 lucky applicants who won the race to sign up. The race will include 1，138 foreigners and 8，226 Chinese participants from outside the capital. The rest taking part will be locals.
As a result， Wang Dawei， vice-president of the Chinese Athletics Association and director of the organizing committee， said the race may be opened up to more participants in future. Wang said they may also look at the idea of selecting participants by drawing lots from those who register.
The list of runners includes some high-profile names， such as the winner of the 2010 Paris Marathon， Tadese Tola， the 2010 Ethiopian marathon champion Gena Siraj and former winner of the Tokyo marathon， Salim Kipsang.
Some 9，000 of those taking part this year will participate in the mini marathon， a 4.2-km race that is one of four events taking place on the big day. The other three events are the marathon （42.195 km）， the half marathon （21.0975 km） and the 9-km race. The three races have attracted 8，500， 5，500 and 7，000 contestants respectively.
"As many as 99 percent of the contestants are not professionals，" said Wang.
Starting at 8 am on Sunday， the 30，000 people taking part will leave Tiananmen Square. Those going the farthest will run all the way to the National Olympic Sports Center， passing some of the citys most famous landmarks along the way， including Financial Street， Xuefu Road and Zhongguancunes.
For some contestants， the route represents an exhilarating challenge.
Georg Jansen， a German professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University who has participated in similar events "10 or 12 times"， said he clocked his best time of 3 hours 42 minutes at last years Beijing Marathon. He said he is hoping to "get better" this time and has been training hard. He said last week he increased his running distance to 110 km.
"Im not going for any awards，" he said. "Im just glad I made it and can take part."
The situation is a little different for Lu Chibin， a 30-year-old who works in advertising and who will take part in the half marathon for only the second time. His first attempt at the distance came when he was a student in 2002. He said the race is a wonderful opportunity to try to run such a long distance.
"The only reason that I joined the competition is that I love sports，" he said， adding that he is viewing it as a chance to get some extra exercise. "I am running for myself， not for anybody else. My goal is simply to finish the course."
Jimmy Nesbitt， from Kentucky in the United States， is also just hoping to have some fun when he runs in the half marathon. The Beijing-based journalist will be running in the place of a friend who broke his ankle and is unable to take part.
"I am not a competitive runner，" he said. "I run simply because I want to stay in shape."
While the vast majority of those taking part will not be expecting to win any awards， race organizers have lined up some generous prizes. The winner of each of the four races will take home $20，000 and a special reward of $42，195 if he or she breaks a record.
So far， the record for the Beijing Marathon is 2：07：35， which was set in 1986 by the Japanese runner Kodana Taisuke and which was equaled two years later by Abebe Mekonnen of Ethiopia. The time is recognized by the Association of International Marathons and Road Races as the fifth-best in marathon history.
The Beijing Marathon， a fixture for 30 years since it was first held in 1981， has been approved by The International Association of Athletics Federations （IAAF） as one of the top marathons in the world. This allows participants to also receive IAAF scores.
（江山一笑 译 BLACK）