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Business trends

China's marathon mania sees sports gear makers pick up pace

Market for long-distance events forecast to be worth more than $18bn by 2020

Runners take off at the Xiamen Marathon. The races have grown in popularity as Chinese consumers have become more health-conscious. (Photo courtesy of C&D Xiamen Marathon website)

BEIJING -- Marathons, the 42.2-kilometer-long races that trace their roots to ancient Greek legend, are becoming more popular in China. They and other long-distance races are providing a tailwind for the country's sporting goods manufacturers as millions of runners hit the pavement each year.

The long-distance running market has doubled since 2015, reaching 74.6 billion yuan ($10.8 billion) in 2018, according to the China Athletic Association. It is forecast to be worth more than $18 billion by 2020.

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