More Than 20 Runners Die During Ultramarathon in China Due to Extreme Weather

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2021

This aerial photo taken on May 23, 2021 shows rescue vehicles preparing to leave after finishing search for runners who were competing in a 100-kilometre cross-country mountain race when extreme weather hit the area, leaving at least 20 dead, near the city of Baiyin, in China's northwestern Gansu province. - China OUT (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
STR/AFP via Getty Images

At least 21 athletes died while competing in an ultramarathon in China Saturday, according to John Bacon of USA Today.

The Huanghe Shilin Mountain Marathon is a 62-mile race in Baiyin City, Gansu Province, but this year's version saw a dramatic shift in weather in the mountains. There was reportedly hail, freezing rain and gales that unexpectedly hit the runners, who were wearing shorts and T-shirts at the time.

"Participants suffered from physical discomfort and loss of temperature due to the sudden drop in air temperature," Chinese state media reported.

Three-time race winner Liang Jing was among those who died.

The event was halted after multiple competitors posted videos in a group chat requesting help, leading to a search-and-rescue operation with over 1,200 workers. Eight people were hospitalized but in stable condition while 151 participants are accounted for after rescue efforts.

Baiyin City Mayor Zhang Xuchen announced there would be an investigation into the tragedy.