Runners highlight causes at Beijing Run

More than twenty thousand running enthusiasts participated in this year's Beijing Run.

At the starting line, the music shows the tempo of the event and why so many runners view it as a festival.

The Beijing Run, which takes place near the end of Spring each year, has regularly attracted a wide consortium of groups and individuals to take part.

It's common to see employees running under the banner of their company, reminiscent of the mass rallies on the May Day and National Day holidays.

There are also those young individuals who seek to express themselves with their unusual costumes.

A 30-year-old male runner who gave his name as Unique Style explained his decision to wear a complete Superman outfit.

"I am championing for animals rights. I chose this outfit because I think it is eye-catching. My group looks after abandoned pets, street dogs and cats. And we also call on people to pay attention to wildlife, to stop wearing fur and for poachers to stop killing animals."

Unique Style added that he has worn this outfit on many other occasions too, including last year's Color Run and the Beijing International Marathon.

He said such exposure has drawn attention to him and given him opportunities to explain his cause to people.

Unique Style may not be that unique however, as there are others who are wearing even more outspoken costumes.

A 24-year-old college student who declined to give his name ran alongside his girlfriend with both wearing fluffy skirts of a style more commonly seen on teenage girls.

Participants of the annual Amway Nutrilite Long Distance Running Festival begin running from Tian'anmen square in central Beijing on Sunday morning, April 20, 2014. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Xu Fei]

The man explained that he opted to wear the skirt after being asked by his girlfriend to show his commitment to the relationship.

There are also fathers like Liu Kexun who brought his six-year-old son along to the 5,000 meter run in the hope of allowing him to develop an interest in running.

"I want my son to like sports. Nowadays so many kids indulge in video games and the internet. I hope he can become more comfortable with people and outdoor activities. Today's kids have a serious problem socializing and I think running is a good practice to help them pick up such skills."

This year's Beijing Run, which starts off from the Tian'anmen Squre and passes through a fleet of famed historical sites such as the Qianmen, Tianqiao, and Xiannong Temple, has attracted participants from several other countries.

Sussie Degrandmonte is from California.

"I am running because this is my first 5K, and today is my birthday. So i thought why not do this on my birthday. I am turning 52 today, and I can run 5K and i think its a good acomplishment."

Aside from the usual speed chasers, this year's Beijing Run also features a group of wheelchair riders.

For them, the event is as much an exercise as a way of showing how one can overcome an impairment to achieve great things.

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