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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
VCG via Getty Images The Shenzhen half marathon attracts thousands of runners each year.

Chinese marathon to use facial recognition after 258 runners caught cheating

Anything to save the legs doing those extra miles…

FACIAL RECOGNITION WILL be deployed at a marathon in China to crack down on cheating, state media said, after a half-marathon was blighted by wide scale flouting of the rules

Organisers caught almost 250 runners cheating in the Shenzhen half marathon as police traffic cameras showed them taking shortcuts on the 13.1 mile distance course.

Footage taken from the on-street cameras clearly shows as many as 237 people cutting through bushes onto an adjacent section of the course, rather than following the route.

Organisers say those caught, who now face lifetime bans from the event, would have shaved three kilometres off their route, greatly improving their finishing times. 

In addition, 18 other runners were also discovered to be wearing fake bibs, while three were described by organisers as ‘imposters’, during the event which attracts 16,000 runners annually. 

“We deeply regret the violations that occurred during the event. Marathon running is not simply exercise, it is a metaphor for life, and every runner is responsible for him or herself,” organisers said. 

Xinhua, hardly masking its disgust at the widespread cheating, branded it “deeply shameful” and added: “No matter the participants or the organisers, they should reflect: What is the significance of participating in and holding marathons?

Don’t run and forget why you run. Don’t let the marathon turn sour.

Marathons in China have increased in popularity in recent years, with wearable technology and sportswear fuelling the hype around them.

In 2011 there were just 22 marathons, half-marathons or other running events in China, according to the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA).

However, that figure has skyrocketed to nearly 1,100 this year.

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Written by The42 Team and posted on

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