Beijing Marathon
Medal in 2014
DateAround October
LocationBeijing, China
Event typeRoad
Primary sponsorCFLD
Established1981 (40 years ago) (1981)
Course recordsMen's: 2:07:06 (2019)
Kenya Mathew Kisorio
Women's: 2:19:39 (2003)
China Sun Yingjie
Official siteBeijing Marathon
Participants4,897 finishers (2009)[1]
The National Olympic Sports Centre has previously served as the finish
The National Olympic Sports Centre has previously served as the finish

The Beijing Marathon (Chinese: 北京马拉松) is an annual marathon race held around October in Beijing, People's Republic of China, since 1981. The race begins at Tiananmen Square and finishes in Celebration Square in Beijing's Olympic Park.[a] The full marathon is the only distance offered.[3]

The marathon is categorized as a Gold Label Road Race by World Athletics.[4][c] The course is certified by AIMS.[5][d]

Beijing Marathon is the first international sport event ever to be held in China. The race is also the first marathon race to use lottery system to allocate entries and the first full marathon race only in China.[6]


The Beijing International Marathon has been organized by the Chinese Athletics Association annually since 1981. The creation of the race, which was international in nature from its inception, was part of a wider movement to open up China and its culture to foreign innovations – a change which was led by Deng Xiaoping, who sought to move China away from its Maoist past.[7]

In 1997, the marathon hosted the Chinese men's national marathon championships, with the title going to race winner Hu Gangjun, who had won in Beijing two times previously.[8]

The 2005 race served as the marathon for the 2005 National Games of ChinaSun Yingjie took the Games gold medal for women while seventh placed Zhang Qingle (18 years old at the time) was the highest placing Chinese man and won the men's Games gold.[9]

Also in 2005, the men's race winner Benson Kipchumba Cherono missed some 800 metres out of the course due to being misdirected. The race organisers accepted the blame for the mishap and, although James Moiben was the first to finish the complete course (2:12:15), Cherono was declared the official winner as he held a large leading margin before the incident.[9]

The marathon hosted the Asian Marathon Championship races in 2006.[10]

At the 2009 edition of the race, 4897 runners finished the marathon course, which included 556 women.[1]

The 2014 edition of Beijing International Marathon was held on October 19 under intense smog.[11][12] Many marathoners used face masks and sponges to help their performance.[13]

The 2020 edition of the race was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.[14]

2012 Japanese entrants

When the online registration of runners for the 2012 event started on November 8, 2012, it did so without the option for Japanese to do so. The events organizers said that Japanese couldn't enter this year because of "safety concerns" due to tension between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands dispute.[15] The Japanese embassy protested the decision.[16]

This move attracted a large amount of criticism and on the night of November 10 the option for Japanese runners re-appeared, although there was no Japanese-language version available, which had been available the previous year.[17]

The Chinese Athletic Association subsequently claimed that Japanese runners had never been rejected. CAA Deputy Director Shen Chunde said that in the past Japanese athletes had mainly applied through Japanese organizations so no individual registration was available.[18]

Course record

In 1986 Taisuke Kodama of Japan set a men's course record in a time of 2:07:35. Ethiopian runner Abebe Mekonnen equaled this time in 1988 and some commentators (including the Association of Road Racing Statisticians) regard this as the true course record, in respect of reports that the 1986 course was around 400 m short of the marathon distance.[8]

After 27 years unbeaten, Taisuke Kodama's course record was improved by Tadese Tola in 2013 as the Ethiopian beat the previous mark by nineteen seconds with 2:07:16 hours.[19] In 2019 Mathew Kisorio improved the course record with a time of 2:07:06.

In 2003, Sun Yingjie of China set the current women's record of 2:19:38 – this run was an Asian record and the fourth fastest ever at the time, and it remains the Chinese record for the event.[20]


External image
image icon Course map of full marathon in 2019[21]

The marathon starts in Tiananmen Square between the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the National Museum of China, and finishes in Celebration Square in the Olympic Green, slightly north of the Beijing National Stadium and the Beijing National Aquatics Center.[22][21]


Chinese runner Bai Xue (pictured here in Berlin) has won twice in a row
Chinese runner Bai Xue (pictured here in Berlin) has won twice in a row
   Course record (in bold)
   National championship race
   Asian Marathon Championship race
Date Men's winner Time[e] Women's winner Time[e] Rf.
1981.09.27  Kjell-Erik Ståhl (SWE) 2:15:20
1982.09.26  Li Jong-hyong (PRK) 2:14:44
1983.09.25  Ron Tabb (USA) 2:18:51
1984.10.14  Hideki Kita (JPN) 2:12:16
1985.10.13  Shigeru Sō (JPN) 2:10:23
1986.10.19  Taisuke Kodama (JPN) 2:07:35[f]
1987.10.18  Juma Ikangaa (TAN) 2:12:19
1988.10.16  Abebe Mekonnen (ETH) 2:07:35
1989.10.15  Peter Dall (DEN) 2:12:47  Mun Gyong-ae (PRK) 2:27:16
1990.10.14  Peter Dall (DEN) -2- 2:14:55  Li Yemei (CHN) 2:32:14
1991.10.13  Negash Dube (ETH) 2:12:55  Deborah Noy (GBR) 2:35:18
1992.10.11  Takahiro Izumi (JPN) 2:11:29  Xie Lihua (CHN) 2:28:53
1993.10.17  Hu Gangjun (CHN) 2:10:57  Li Yemei (CHN) -2- 2:30:36
1994.10.30  Hu Gangjun (CHN) -2- 2:10:56  Wang Junxia (CHN) 2:31:11
1995.10.15  Meng Xianhui (CHN) 2:16:20  Ren Xiujuan (CHN) 2:30:00
1996.10.20  Nelson Ndereva (KEN) 2:10:37  Ren Xiujuan (CHN) -2- 2:27:13
1997.10.04  Hu Gangjun (CHN) -3- 2:09:18  Pan Jinhong (CHN) 2:26:39
1998.10.10  Kim Jung-won (PRK) 2:13:49  Wang Yanrong (CHN) 2:28:50
1999.10.09  Kenichi Suzuki (JPN) 2:11:33  Ai Dongmei (CHN) 2:29:20
2000.10.15  Nelson Ndereva (KEN) -2- 2:13:52  Wei Yanan (CHN) 2:26:34
2001.10.14  Gong Ke (CHN) 2:10:11  Liu Min (CHN) 2:23:37
2002.10.20  Li Zhuhong (CHN) 2:13:09  Sun Yingjie (CHN)[g] 2:21:21
2003.10.19  Ian Syster (RSA) 2:07:49  Sun Yingjie (CHN) -2- 2:19:39
2004.10.17  James Moiben (KEN) 2:10:42  Sun Yingjie (CHN) -3- 2:24:11
2005.10.16  Benson Cherono (KEN) 2:06:55[h]  Sun Yingjie (CHN) -4- 2:21:01
2006.10.15  James Kwambai (KEN) 2:10:36  Sun Weiwei (CHN) 2:34:41
2007.10.21  Nephat Kinyanjui (KEN) 2:08:09  Chen Rong (CHN) 2:27:05
2008.10.19  Benjamin Kiptoo (KEN) 2:10:14  Bai Xue (CHN) 2:26:27
2009.10.18  Samuel Muturi (KEN) 2:08:20  Bai Xue (CHN) -2- 2:34:44
2010.10.24  Siraj Gena (ETH) 2:15:45  Wang Jiali (CHN) 2:29:31
2011.10.16  Francis Kiprop (KEN) 2:09:00  Wei Xiaojie (CHN) 2:28:05
2012.11.25  Tariku Jufar (ETH) 2:09:39  Jia Chaofeng (CHN) 2:27:40
2013.10.20  Tadese Tola (ETH) 2:07:16  Zhang Yingying (CHN) 2:31:19
2014.10.19  Girmay Birhanu (ETH) 2:10:42  Fatuma Sado (ETH) 2:30:03
2015.09.20  Mariko Kipchumba (KEN) 2:11:00  Betelhem Moges (ETH) 2:27:31
2016.09.17  Mekuant Ayenew (ETH) 2:11:09  Meseret Mengistu (ETH) 2:25:56
2017.09.17  Salah-Eddine Bounasr (MAR) 2:11:18  Meselech Beyene (ETH) 2:27:44
2018.09.16  Dejene Debela (ETH) 2:12:08  Valary Aiyabei (KEN) 2:21:38
2019.11.03  Mathew Kisorio (KEN) 2:07:06  Sutume Asefa (ETH) 2:23:31
2020 cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic [14]


  1. ^ In the past, the National Olympic Sports Centre stadium has served as the finish.[2]
  2. ^ The Shanghai Marathon is categorized as a Platinum Label Road Race.[4]
  3. ^ It is one of twelve marathons in the People's Republic of China to hold the distinction as of 2020.[4][b]
  4. ^ This makes it eligible for world record performances.
  5. ^ a b h:m:s
  6. ^ The course is believed to have been around 400 metres short of the official 42.195 km distance.
  7. ^ Wei Yanan, the original winner in 2:20:23, was later disqualified for drug abuse.
  8. ^ Time invalid – finished the race 800 metres short due to misdirection.


  1. ^ a b 3.07.38 og 54. plass på Veslemøy Hausken i Beijing Marathon (in Norwegian). Kondis. Retrieved on 2010-08-21.
  2. ^ Jiang, Yi (2007-10-21). Kinyanjui, Chen take top honours in Beijing – Beijing Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-08-21.
  3. ^ "Beijing Hyundai Beijing Marathon 2016 Registration Notice". Committee of Beijing Marathon. 2016-07-20. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ AIMS Race Directory. AIMS (2010). Retrieved on 2010-08-21.
  6. ^ "About Beijing Marathon-Beijing Marathon". Archived from the original on 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  7. ^ Butcher, Pat (2010-10-22). Sammy Mugo aiming for Beijing Marathon title defence. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-10-23.
  8. ^ a b Beijing International Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2009-10-20). Retrieved on 2010-10-23.
  9. ^ a b Jalava, Mirko (2005-10-16). Sun Yingjie scores fourth consecutive Beijing win, Benson Cherono men's winner. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-08-15.
  10. ^ Asian Championships Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2013-03-02). Retrieved on 2013-09-28.
  11. ^ Beijing Marathon website Registration Instructions Archived 2012-10-28 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "2014 Beijing International Marathon to be held on October 19". IANS. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  13. ^ "30,000 runners participate in Beijing Marathon despite heavy fog". China Central Television. Oct 19, 2014. Retrieved Oct 20, 2014.
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ ABC website Japanese runners barred from Beijing marathon November 10, 2012
  16. ^ Daily Yomiuri Chinese block, clear Japanese for marathon November 12, 2012
  17. ^ Asahi Shimbun Under heavy fire, China allows Japanese to enter Beijing marathon November 12, 2012 Archived June 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Beijing Marathon never rejects Japanese athletes November 11, 2012
  19. ^ Jalava, Mirko (2013-10-20). Beijing course record finally broken by Tola. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-10-21.
  20. ^ Sun Yingjie sets Asian marathon best with fourth fastest time in history. IAAF (2003-10-20). Retrieved on 2010-08-15.
  21. ^ a b
  22. ^