Some do it to because they like it, others do it to stay fit and some, if they're good at it, do it for the cash. More than a dozen professional marathon runners from around the world will join an estimated 20,000 local participants in the first annual ING Taipei International Marathon this Sunday. Taipei will be the first Asian city to hold the ING marathon.
Since its first sponsored marathon in Amsterdam in October last year, the ING marathon has expanded into one of the world's largest international races. Currently there are annual races held in the US, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and now Taiwan.
A representative with ING Taipei expressed confidence in the future success of the Taipei marathon, which in addition to being the first is also the only ING marathon in Asia. The warm-up races have attracted more than 10,000 participants indicating a growing concern for physical fitness among the public and illustrating the potential benefits for the tourism industry, he said.
To attract marathon runners from across the globe, prizes amounting to NT$4 million, in addition to a NT$1 million prize for both the male and female record-breakers, will be awarded. The women's and men's champions from Taiwan will also be invited to participate in the 2005 ING Amsterdam International Marathon next year.
In an effort to increase local participation, there is a 21km, 9km and 3km family run in addition to the 42km marathon. The fun run is free and registration begins the day of the race. Those not enticed to join any early morning runs can take part in less strenuous activities held at the Taipei City Hall Plaza such as a fair organized by the Taipei Sports Office.
Registration for the ING marathon is now closed but the 3km fun run is open to the public. All races will set off from Taipei City Hall Plaza at 7am. Those interested should check in before 7am. Strict traffic control will be in effect so public transportation is strongly recommended. The closest MRT stop is Taipei City Hall exit 2. For details on the scheduled routes of each race, check the official Web site for information in English and Chinese: www.ingtaipeiinternationalmarathon.com