The "Exciting Hangzhou" marathon and race walking showcase, the first domestic track and field competition of the season, will take place on Sunday in the eastern Chinese city and serve as a test event, qualifier, and trial for September's Asian Games, as well as the upcoming world championships in July.
The competition, held in Hangzhou's Binjiang District, will use the 10-kilometer course set up for the Asian Games. More than 100 athletes from 23 domestic teams are expected to participate.
So far, 27 men and 16 women have already qualified for the marathon at the Asian Games, including China's top eight from the Tokyo Olympics. The top two male and female finishers in Hangzhou will earn spots on the national training team list for the Asian Games. Well-known runners taking part in this weekend's event include Zhang Deshun and Dong Jianguo.
"This route will also be used at the Asian Games, so it is good for us to experience the course," Dong's coach Zhang Guowei said. "The athletes will be more familiar with the route, and know where to make turns, as well as where to go straight. One thing that they might want to pay attention to is that there are four laps, and some of the turns are quite sharp. This might be tough, but we all compete on the same course, so we are all equally challenged."