A race where no one reaches the finish line

On May 22, a gun went off and Liang Jing and 171 other runners took off. No one expected it to be a race where no one reached the finish line.

Only one survivor left in the top six

Guo Jian remembers that on May 22, he drove with a photographer to the fourth punching point of the course to take pictures at 2:30 p.m. He was one of the photographers for the Yellow River Stone Forest Marathon 100 km cross-country race. The start of the race was at the South Mountain Square in the Yellow River Stone Forest tourist attraction, and the end was at the Leopard Gorge Square. The whole course was set up with nine punching points, and some of them provided supplies. The distance from the fourth checkpoint to the start is 38 kilometers. Guo Jian is a cross-country runner himself, having participated in 70km and 50km cross-country runs. According to his calculation, from 9:00 pm to 2:30 pm, 5 and a half hours have passed, and at least one third of the runners have already run through this checkpoint. He judged that he could still shoot some runners. But the volunteers at the site told him that no one had arrived here yet. Guo Jian was a little anxious, “This is not quite in line with the level of these athletes, there must be an unexpected situation. “

Of these people, the one he knows best is Liang Jing, the “god” of the ultramarathon circle. Liang Jing, 31, from Anhui, began running in 2012, in October 2014, in Jinan 12-hour ultramarathon, ran an amazing 149.5 kilometers, breaking the national record. In the Guangdong Danxia 100km Hill Run held last year, Liang Jing finished in just 8 hours, 36 minutes and 55 seconds, taking the title.

Guo Jian told the magazine that at about 6:30 p.m. the night before the race, he was taking pictures at the scenic ticket office and saw Liang Jing receiving supplies, “I heard him chatting with his teammates and said, ‘The sun is very hot. The sun is very poisonous’, the sun hurts'”. When eating breakfast on the day of the race, Guo Jian also ran over to talk to Liang Jing, want to see what the super runners eat for breakfast, “for cross-country racing, food and training are very important. “He was a little surprised that Liang Jing only ate three eggs and a bowl of millet porridge, and a little shredded potatoes. After the start of the run, at the first punching point of the course, he also photographed Liang Jing, who was wearing a thin gray and black jacket, black shorts, with a white hat, and a number cloth of M001 on his right leg, he drank some water and continued to run.

Before being rescued back to the kiln by the sheep herder’s uncle, runner Zhang Xiaotao had been unconscious in the mountains for more than two hours. Before the coma, he has fallen no less than ten wrestling, the mountain wind is very strong, tired and cold, the rain washed the ground is very slippery, nothing can be seen, Zhang Xiaotao obviously feel the limbs began to become stiff, he relied on the only consciousness strong to hold on to the insulation blanket draped over the body, soon lost consciousness. When he woke up, he was already in the villagers’ kiln, with a campfire in front of him. There are other runners in the kiln who participated in the marathon cross-country race, in better shape than him, waiting for him to wake up and go down the mountain together.

After getting out of danger, Zhang Xiaotao shared his experience on Weibo. He said that when the race started at 9 o’clock in the morning, the wind at the race site was already very strong, and many people’s hats were blown away. After 20 kilometers, the weather got worse and worse, and the rain started to mix with hail, which kept smashing into his face, Zhang Xiaotao’s vision was blurred and he could not see the road somewhat. He kept falling and then got up. Originally followed the Guizhou runner Wu Panrong, to the half-waist, he found that the other party has begun to shiver all over, the state is very bad, he took the other party by the arm, two people together to hold.

But later, Zhang Xiaotao’s memory also began to blur, the wind is too big, the road is too slippery, the two people also separated. Subsequently, he met Huang Guanjun, he said hello to the other side, the other side pointed to the ear, waving his hand to say that he could not hear. At this time, Zhang Xiaotao did not know that the other party was once the National Paralympic Games marathon champion. When running here, he should be 4th, Wu Panrong is 5th, Huang Guanjun is 6th, “the first 6 only I a survivor. “

Baiyin City Fire and Rescue Detachment was received at 15:34 pm 119 alarm calls, a member of the fire brigade told this reporter, they first sent out 25 members, four vehicles. The search was not easy, the ground was wet and soft and the hills were muddy. The first runner they encountered was lying near the 3rd and 4th punching point, short sleeves and shorts, no scrapes on his body, breathing and heartbeat were still there, but there was no way to speak. They put cotton clothes on him and carried him into the kiln.

After that, between punching point 4 and punching point 2, they found 6 more people with abrasions on their legs and arms, all without vital signs, among them, a pair of male and female runners, embracing each other and dying. Before the end of the search and rescue at 11:50 a.m. on May 23, they found a total of 11 people, only one survived. “I have searched and rescued donkeys before, it was one or two people, this time the number of people killed is the largest. “On the phone, the fire team member’s voice was sad and low.

In 127 100 km trail runners, 21 participants were killed.On May 23, Zhang Xuchen, the mayor of Baiyin City, Gansu Province, claimed at a press conference that this was a public safety incident due to a sudden change in local weather.

Under-appreciated reminders

This is the fourth edition of the Yellow River Shilin Mountain Marathon 100km cross-country race. In the eyes of professional trail runners, this race is not difficult. “General 100 km race, a way to judge the difficulty of the race is to use the height of the climb to remove the number of kilometers of the race, generally speaking 100 km of climbing height is in more than 4000 meters, this event is only about 3000 meters. “A professional trail runner told this magazine.

However, the registration requirements for the race is not low, in addition to the registration requirements for this race, in addition to the requirements of the last year at least completed two full marathon or a 50 km and above trail running race, the registration requirements are clearly marked with the need to finish 20 hours, if not finish, can not get the finisher’s bonus (subsidy). “If not professional-type runners, the general runners to complete the 100 km trail running in about 28 hours, between 24-28 hours to complete the race belongs to the intermediate level, within 20 hours is the middle and high level of runners. “Cross-country running enthusiast, Peking University Sports Teaching and Research Department teacher Fang Xiang told this magazine.

This is also the reason why the race attracted many outstanding runners. Liang Jing represented the highest level echelon and was able to finish the race in less than 10 hours. Huang Guanjun is not weak either, as he also won the 10,000m event at the National Disabled Athletics Championships in 2018. Although Wu Panrong was a novice 100km runner, he had participated in many competitions before and ran a kilometer in just over 3 minutes. The victim, Cao Pengfei, and Liang Jing were hometowns, and he was more adept at road running. In the 2019 Jinggangshan Red International Marathon, he won the full marathon men’s race with a score of 2 hours and 27 minutes. Huang Yinbin participates in more 50km trail running races and has won various 50km level trail races for many times.

Another setting of the race is also very attractive to runners, the 100km category in addition to the top 10 to get the event bonus, all the rest of the finishers of the 100km cross-country race finishers will also get the finisher’s bonus, the event bonus of 1,600 yuan. “This fee can generally cover the entry fee and round-trip travel expenses for participation, people are also willing to participate, other domestic races have not heard of such treatment. “A trail runner told the publication.

May 22, 11:00 noon, Guo Jian and the shooting team from the second punching point to the fourth punching point, because the third punching point is not open to traffic, and even motorcycles can not go up, the photography team equipment, they drive far around to the fourth punching point. The most difficult part of the Yellow River Stone Forest off-road race course is in this section, from the second checkpoint to the third checkpoint, the mountain is a mixture of stone and sand road conditions, many sections are very steep, the length of 8 kilometers, the need for continuous climbing 1000 meters. Guo Jian noticed that there were only two volunteers at the site, and there were no supplies, tents or medical staff. This means that in case of an accident, the runners may not get any help. At this point, the wind had increased to seven or eight levels, and the rain was even denser. For every 1000 meters of elevation gain, the temperature would drop 6 degrees Celsius. At this time, Guo Jian carry fleece jacket fleece pants, fleece long-sleeved, as well as rash jacket, rash pants are put on, “before not feeling too cold”.

The majority of the runners are wearing short-sleeved shorts, Guo Jian judged that further up the run, runners may want to lose temperature. “Loss of temperature” refers to the body’s heat loss than heat replenishment, resulting in the body’s core temperature decreased, and produce a series of confusion, cardiorespiratory failure and other symptoms. Severe cases can cause death. In order to prevent the loss of temperature, the general trail running race, the organizing committee will be included in the mandatory equipment catalog, other survival whistle, GPS locator, water, insulation blanket, headlamp and so on. Before the race, Guo Jian noticed that the vests were not included in the mandatory equipment by the organizing committee, and the runners’ vests were put into the transfer bag and stored at the sixth punching point at 62km of the course. If all goes well, most runners will be able to make it to this location before dark.

Guo Jian had participated in the 2019 Chongli Columbia Supercross, and once encountered thunderstorms in the middle, the organizing committee at the time asked all runners to stay at the nearest site and not be allowed to go out to battle. The race did not continue until an hour later when the weather stabilized and the organizing committee staff chose an alternate course after inspection. Guo Jian asked the photography team leader to contact the organizing committee of the Yellow River Cross Country Race, they asked if the other party had the intention to cancel the race, did not get feedback. They had to rush back to the fourth checkpoint of the course.

At the fourth checkpoint, they shouted as they walked, hoping to meet the runners. At 2:40 p.m., 4 kilometers from the fourth checkpoint, they met the first runner, who was soaked to the bone, and told Guo Jian, “There have been a dozen people who have lost their temperature. “Guo Jian again asked the junior captain to reflect the situation with the organizing committee. The organizing committee did not notify or remind the team to terminate the race, but only told the staff that if they saw the runners, remind them to pay attention to safety.

Rough growth

Guo Jian soon discovered that such personal reminders were ineffective – as long as the race was not terminated, the runners still had in mind to finish the race. At the fourth clocking point, they eventually received four runners, and in addition to one who lost a serious temperature and abandoned the race, the other three continued to participate in the race. There was one female runner who left from the fourth punching point to the fifth punching point at 4:42 pm. At this point, no one had received the message to terminate the race. It was until around 8:30 when everyone confirmed the race was cancelled. Guo Jian and others found her again at the sixth clocking point, where the other party was very emotional and refused to stop the race. “Bad weather, I stopped, now why not let me run? “

“For a runner who participates in cross-country, the most attractive thing is to be able to run and breathe freely in nature. In a marathon or cross-country race, runners tend to become frantic once they stand on the side of the track. This is when you need the organizing committee or the organizer of the event to come in time to do the demerits and cool down the runners. “A cross-country runner told the publication. Fang Xiang said, even if the participants themselves are calm, faced with unexpected problems, but only in accordance with past experience to deal with, the organizing committee is different, is supposed to take extreme risks into account, good disposal plan, according to the risk assessment, according to the plan disposal, to protect the safety of race participants.

Marathon test runner’s race speed ability, but cross-country runners need to pay more attention to the project itself, in addition to the natural environment on the personal physical condition of the risk. Fang Xiang used to work in the National General Administration of Sports Mountaineering Management Center, mainly responsible for the organization and management of international and national mountain outdoor cross-country events. He told this magazine that in addition to the special ability of running, trail runners should also have the ability to overcome the risks caused by the natural environment.

But in the past work, Fang Xiang found that many high-level athletes may not have such ability, “for example, when encountering extreme weather, he does not know how to deal with, or is not able to make predictions on the development of the weather conditions, timely response strategies. Many cross-country runners used to run marathons, the spirit of the marathon, run the race is important, so runners will do whatever it takes to finish the race. So many people’s consciousness, they do not know that in the natural environment of the race, moderate and choose to give up is also admirable. This also has to do with our lack of appropriate nature education. “

Another point to note is that many event organizers also do not have the appropriate expertise, “Since 2003, outdoor sports in the country have been booming. at the end of 2014, the State General Administration of Sports issued a document announcing the cancellation of all approvals for commercial and mass sports events. The aim was to encourage social forces to run tournaments and activate the sports market. Most of the organizers, organizers and judges of many outdoor events have been transferred from previous competitions in venues, and many of them have not undergone special outdoor risk training, and their understanding of outdoor risks is very limited. “Fang Xiang told the magazine.

Cross-country runner Mao Xiaodong has been participating in cross-country running since 2016. He observed a phenomenon is that the initial event organizers, many are related to the event background, some event founders themselves also run off-road, “they have a deeper experience of off-road, know the psychology of the runner, in the line design requirements and supply point arrangements will go to meticulous Planning and consideration, the design of the route will also go back and forth a few times. “

In the past few years, the situation has changed, the cross-country market is growing rapidly, and the people who organize races have become diversified. A participant in the race recalled after being rescued, before the race, the organizers of the equipment check is very “casual”, “some may and staff know each other. “Some may know the staff, chatting with two sentences on the past, there is no check, and some were checked to have something not brought, but and staff pleading, also passed, this is not the organization of an extreme sports attitude. “

Fang Xiang told this magazine that although some organizations will conduct training for outdoor events, but the content basically revolves around the organization and management of the competition, and rarely is above the prevention of public safety areas in outdoor sports. “What kind of risks can arise from high altitude? What are the consequences of low temperatures? These are basic parameters that many organizers are unaware of. “

This reminded one race organizer of the marathon’s early beginnings in the country. 2016 Nanjing International Marathon was held, and three runners ran on the wrong side of the road because volunteers were misguided while running. Marathon just hot up the first few years, runners in the marathon sudden death news is also quite a lot, “it is not that the organizers did not prepare medical personnel and first aid forces, some are because the medical personnel stationed in the location is not scientific enough, carry response equipment is not enough symptomatic, poor accident response mechanism, etc.. Some are because there is no automatic external defibrillator prepared specifically for marathon rescue, the summary reason is still the poor level of running the race, and now the ability to slowly make up for it through experience and lessons learned. “

Liang Jing likes to update his shake, his last dynamic stays at about 7:30 am on the 22nd, a short 35-second video of him drinking millet porridge from a clear plastic bowl and quickly eating three eggs. Less than two hours later, a gun went off and he, along with 171 other runners, ran toward the finish line. Wu Panrong visited the Yellow River Stone Forest National Geopark before the race. He is a construction industry employee, and on the day of the race, he made a video of the scenery he took along the way and sent it to Shake. This is the last ShakeYin of his life. He said, “10 years ago, here to do construction sites. 10 years later, here is the first 100 (the first 100 km cross-country race) of my life. ” (Thanks to Yu Lixia, Li Yuan for the great help on this article)