The Origin of Marathon
Marathon is the name of a village in Athens, Greece, and the site of an ancient battle between Greeks and Persians in 490 BC. Following triumph by the Greek forces, a wounded soldier ran to Athens to deliver the message of victory, subsequently dying from his injuries. Long-distance running events have since been called marathons in memory of this fallen soldier.
Marathon: The Ultimate Means of Expressing the Splendor of Running
Fast forward to the present and there are now over 800 marathons held around the world annually, comprising the quarter marathon (10km race), half marathon, standard marathon and ultra-marathon – the standard marathon being 42.2 km (26.4 miles) in distance, established by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) back in 1921. There are also bronze, silver and gold label marathons, as graded by IAAF. There are only four gold label marathons in the PRC, namely Beijing International Marathon, Shanghai International Marathon, Xiamen International Marathon and Yangshou Jianzhen International Half Marathon. XTEP has been sponsoring the gold label races in Xiamen and Yangshou over the years and is the dominant marathon sponsor in Greater China, sponsoring marathons in over ten major cities in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
China's Growing Passion For Running
China has an increasing number of respectable long-distance running events, reflecting marathon’s rising prominence as the nation benefits from a growing affluent population who have greater health consciousness, among other favourable government policies focused on national fitness. Case in point, while there were approximately 10,000 participants in the inaugural Xiamen International Marathon in 2003, by 2014 there were over 77,000. XTEP has been the sole official apparel partner of the Xiamen International Marathon since 2009, and has also been sponsoring a number of renowned marathons over the years, including the Dalian International Marathon, Yangshou Jianzhen International Half Marathon, Xi’an City Wall International Marathon, China Zheng-Kai International Marathon, Hangzhou International Marathon, Tianjin International Marathon, Guangzhou Marathon and Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, promoting the 'Run with Fun' spirit that encourages community-wide participation.
XTEP: The “Runner’s Choice”
As XTEP furthers its commitment to promote the joys of running and to be the “runner’s choice”, it will seek to capitalize on the efforts of the State Council of the PRC to develop the sports industry, which it estimates will be valued at over RMB5 trillion by 2025. In particular, the Group will continue to introduce the highest quality running footwear and apparel, sponsor well-selected and prominent running events and running related programmes, and further develop its Xtep Runners Club. Already, XTEP has for the second time renewed a five-year sponsorship agreement with the organizers of the Xiamen International Marathon (2014 – 2018). The Group will also be sponsoring the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon from 2014 to 2016, and the Chongqing International Marathon from 2014 to 2018.
Conquering the Great Wall of China
Aside from supporting running events, XTEP has sponsored a number of athletes who provide inspiration to others, including the American renowned track and field sprinter Justin Gatlin and American paralympic ultra-endurance triathlete Jason P. Lester. In respect of Gatlin, the World Indoor Sprint Champion and London Olympics 100-meter Bronze Medalist has been XTEP’s brand representative since 2012. In fact, donning XTEP customized spikes and running outfits, Gatlin has been sweeping up a series of notable champions on numerous track fields, helping capture the limelight for the brand with the ‘X’ logo. With regards to Lester, he completed running the entire length of the Great Wall of China in October 2014. To help him conquer the grueling 4,200 km journey – a 42km full marathon distance each day for 83 consecutive days – the Group specially tailored endurance running shoes and gear to suit his specific needs. Lester fully lived up to his “Never Stop” attitude, which also corresponds with XTEP’s own motto to “run without fear”.