China's smog gives rise to its first-ever vertical marathon

In Beijing and other Chinese cities, walking outside -- let alone running -- is a health hazard thanks to high levels of air pollution. Indoor vertical marathons offer a safer alternative.

In Beijing and other major cities in China, walking the city streets -- let alone running -- has become a health hazard thanks to dangerous levels of air pollution.

The answer for fitness-focused Chinese might be vertical marathons: indoor races gaining in popularity worldwide in which participants run up the stairs to the top of skyscrapers.

Next month, China will host its first-ever vertical marathon, reported the WSJ's China Real Time Report blog. The race will held at the 82-floor China World Trade Center Tower 3, located in Beijing's central business district.

These ascents aren't new. Since 2009, a coordinated skyscraper racing circuit known as the International Skyrunning Federation has held events in locations where the air is relatively free of particulate matter. Races were held earlier this year at the Empire State Building in New York City, the Messeturn in Basel, Switzerland and the Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan.

Race organizers are reportedly worried about the smog ruining the view at the top of the China World Trade Center. Even if the smog is thick, as it was for much of June, the race could help spur Chinese demand for the indoor, pollution-free sport.

Photo: Vertical World Circuit

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