Asian Premier Marathons Made its Debut in Beirut
The world’s first ever continental marathon event league Asian Premier Marathons (APM) made its debut in Beirut as the second race of the inaugural APM season kicked off in the Lebanese capital on Sunday. This is the first time that Asian Premier Marathons visits Beirut after it successfully kicked off the 2017-2018 season in Beijing Marathon on September 17.
November 12,Beirut- The world’s first ever continental marathon event league Asian Premier Marathons (APM) made its debut in Beirut as the second race of the inaugural APM season kicked off in the Lebanese capital on Sunday. This is the first time that Asian Premier Marathons visits Beirut after it successfully kicked off the 2017-2018 season in Beijing Marathon on September 17. Dominic Ruto from Kenya and Eunice Chumba from Bahrain crowned Men’s and Women’s race respectively with the result of 2:10:41 and 2:28:38, while China’s Li Zicheng finished with 2:18:23 respectively, successfully defended their title as the fastest Asian men in the APM series，He Yinli finished with 2:57:23,NO.3 of the Asian wemen runners.
Debut in APM, Beirut stuns the world
Asian Premier Marathons (APM) is jointly established by Infront China, a full subsidiary of Infront Sports & Media, one of the most respected sports marketing companies in the world, together with Beijing Marathon, Beirut Marathon and Seoul Marathon under the leadership of Asian Athletics Association (AAA). Starting from its official launch ceremony held in July 21, the first race of the inaugural season 2017-2018 of APM series successfully kicked off in Beijing Marathon 2017 on September 17. The first season is followed by Beirut Marathon 2017 which finished just this Sunday. The reason will continue in 2018 in Seoul Marathon 2018, and finish with Beijing Marathon 2018.
The second race of this season’s APM series, Beirut Marathon is the biggest and most influential marathon in West Asia. It was created by its legendary founder Ms. May El Khalil in 2003. Ms. El Khalil was hit by a truck while out running 20 years ago. Even though she cannot run anymore, she turned her passion and love of the sport into devotion to hosting an elite world class marathon in the Lebanese capital. Over the past 15 years, Beirut Marathon has been growing steadily in attracting more and more elite athletes to compete, while a growing number of ordinary runners were entertained with consistently high quality experience, contributing greatly to the growth of running in Lebanon. World marathon record holders Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) as well as Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF have attended the marathon over the past three years, an indication that interest in the event is growing at a phenomenal rate.
This year is the 15 year anniversary of the Beirut Marathon, also marking their first appearance in the APM series. His Excellency President Mr. Michel Aoun of the Lebanese Republic participated in the race starting ceremony to officially start 2017 Beirut Marathon. Similar to past years, Ambassadors to Lebanon from more than ten different countries, together with the Ambassadors of United Nations, European Union and the World Bank also joined the race as usual.
This year, the joining into APM helped Beirut Marathon attract an even wider range of attention from across Asia, especially among elite Asian athletes and amateur runners. A total of more than 47,800 runners including both professionals and amateurs from 105 countries and regions participated in this year’s Beirut Marathon. Many old friends of Asian marathon races including defending champion Edwin Kibet Kiptoo from Kenya and Dominic Ruto from Kenya in the men’s category. On the women’s field, Eunice Chumba who is also from Kenya, and the defending champion Tigist Girma from Ethiopia all participated in the race, bringing the competition to a very high level.
As the first showdown in APM, Beirut Marathon has made some significant upgrades this year in turns of event operation and services. In order to cool down the average temperature, the race started 30 minutes earlier. The course reduced the number of curves & U-turns by 25 percent, made reductions in the average slope, maximum slope and total elevation gain, which in essence has changed the course to be the flattest & fastest one yet. The roads now include more vibrant scenes and friendly faces to cheer the runners along the way. Famous tourist attractions such as Beirut Park and the National Museum of Lebanon are along the course, and a breath taking beautiful coastal view of the Mediterranean is just along the way. In addition, the organizer has done a great job in runner registration, race promotion, medical service, supplies stations, transportation, etc. Water station every 2.5 kilometers is only one example of how runner friendly the race is.
Tailor-Made Grand Prize for Asian Athletes
There are 4 races in 2017-2018 APM series. In order to stimulate active participation and best performance from Asian athletes, APM organizing committee established a dedicated ranking system for Asian full-marathon runners. The first to fifth place top Asian runners in every race in APM series will obtain 19, 12, 7, 3, 1 points respectively. Each season, top two results in the APM series will be allowed for the ranking and the total score of each athlete is the amount accumulated from his/her two best results in the current APM season. The top 3 men’s and women’s (6 in total) will share the prize of $500,000, with 1st place getting $160,000, 2nd place getting $60,000, and the 3rd place getting $30,000. APM aims to raise the competition level and international appeal of marathon events in Asia as well as attract more runners to take part in the series.
After excellent performance in Beijing Marathon, Chinese runner Li Zicheng and He Yinli also finished with good results in Beirut, further fortified their lead in the APM ranking for this season. He Yinli said in an interview after the race, "This is my second race in APM, it is my pleasure to travel abroad for the race, meet so many high level runners from other countries and regions and compete with them. I learnt a lot from this race while also got to experience the diverse marathon culture here in Beirut. I love it. Thanks a lot to APM, through the platform, there are more opportunities for Asian runners like me to communicate with and learn from each other."
And Li Zicheng said, "APM's prize is a big incentive for Asian professional runners like me, and the $160,000 Champion prize money is really attractive. I'm glad now that I've got 38 points, but there are two more races to go in the season, anything is still possible. I will carefully prepare for next year's races, and try to be the final winner at the end of the season."
2017-2018 APM series ranking now stands as follows:
Zicheng Li (CHN)
1. 2:17:36 2. 2:18:23
1. 2:42:53 2. 2:57:23
Yousheng Guan (CHN)
Ma Wan (CHN)
Lihua Gong (CHN)
Zaher Zein Eddine（LIB）
Chung Yunhee (KOR)
Mou Zhenhua (CHN)
Jin Mingming (CHN)
Nisrine Njeim Leene（LIB）
Munkhbayar Narandulam (MGL)
Yugui Ma (CHN)
In addition, APM also has a ranking and awarding system for all Asian runners. As the first ever continental marathon event league in the world, APM will fully leverage its geographical advantage and integrate the full marathon results of its member races, so that runners will be able to compete with peers from all over Asia in the same age group, enabling Beijing runners to compete with runners from Beirut and Seoul.
"A small step forward, but a remarkable step for APM. By the first ever continental marathon event league in the world, we can not only see the Asian professionals competing with and learn from each other on a more regular basis, but also see the great potential of APM as an important platform for marathon events to communicate and learn." said Mr. Wu Hongtao, head of APM program, "All runners want to run and compete abroad. APM is willing to build a platform for Asian professional athletes, mass runners and the organizing committees of major Asian cities to create more value together."
Next to come, the third race in the APM series for 2017-2018 season will move to Seoul, South Korea, in March 2018.
About Asian Premier Marathons
As the first ever continental marathon league in the world, Asian Premier Marathons (APM) is jointly established by Beijing Marathon, Beirut Marathon, Seoul Marathon and Infront China under the leadership of Asian Athletics Association (AAA). The new league aims to raise the competition level and international appeal of marathon events in Asia as well as attract more high-level Asian athletes to participate in top-tier APM events.
As the inaugural season of APM series, 2017 – 2018 will start with Beijing Marathon 2017 on September 17, followed by Beirut Marathon 2017 and Seoul Marathon 2018, and finish with Beijing Marathon 2018. Top 3 men’s and women’s Asian runners (6 in total) will share the USD500 thousand prize. Moreover, APM member events will jointly set a ranking and awarding system for all APM runners.
For more info, please visit APM website www.asianpremiermarathons.com.