China dominates World Athletics highway race calendar

China dominates World Athletics road race calendar

Of the near-200 events on the global governing body’s “Label road race calendar” in 2022, more than 60 are from China

World Athletics’ Label road race calendar for next year includes almost 200 events in more than 40 countries and are led by ‘elite platinum’ races like the London, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Berlin and Tokyo marathons.

But the list also has a whopping 62 races in China compared to just three in Britain – the London Marathon, Cardiff Half-Marathon and Antrim Coast Half-Marathon. The Chinese events, meanwhile, include the Xiamen Marathon in February and Shanghai International Marathon in November.

The calendar starts and finishes in Spain with the Valencia 10km on January 9 and New Year’s Eve races in 12 months’ time in Madrid, plus Bolzano in Italy.

World Athletics says that while the schedule remains subject to change given the ongoing uncertainty created by the global coronavirus pandemic, more races are expected to join the Label programme once it is confirmed that they will take place.

The three-tier programme, introduced in 2020, comprises three Labels: a World Athletics Label, a World Athletics Elite Label and a World Athletics Elite Platinum Label. The Labels are available to all officially sanctioned road races that have taken place for at least two consecutive years prior to 2022 with an international measurement certificate in place.

“Despite the continued uncertainty around global travel and on mass gatherings in some parts of the world, the number of events that have chosen to be part of the World Athletics Label Road Races programme in 2022 exceeds 200 – another all-time high – but some of the events need additional confirmation given the global pandemic,” says World Athletics road running manager Alessio Punzi. “This speaks volumes of the vitality of the running industry and of the optimism of operators worldwide.

“Over the last two years alone, millions of people around the world have taken up running as a way to manage their physical and mental health – many of them will pin a race bib to their vest for the first time in 2022.

“We are grateful to all the race directors and their teams for their determination and tenacity. Staging marathons has never been easy, but in this day and age its complexities are mind-boggling. Now, more than ever, every race’s starting line is a testament to its organisers’ resilience and sheer passion for the sport and the community they serve.”

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