On November 28, 2020, the annual Jiangsu University Marathon League and NNU held a marathon as scheduled. This year’s event involved three groups: a 3.5KM fitness group (walking), a 7KM group, and a 14KM group. The harsh winter did not dampen the students’ enthusiasm. Within a few hours, after registration opened, all available slots in the three groups were taken. A total of 3,220 people participated in this event. The number of participants has increased as compared to previous years.
The first part of the event was a performance related to sportsmanship and competition. With a singing show from the Karaoke club and a cheerleading rooting-dance show performed by students from the School of Sports Science and Physical Education, the atmosphere became more and more enthusiastic. In the end, a hip-hop song originating from three students brought the atmosphere to a climax. The audience and the players couldn't help waving their hands with the beat.
Then Xuyu Zhang, the vice president of NNU, addressed to the participants. He said, "I hope that our students can enjoy the joy of a campus marathon, appreciate the beauty of the campus, and harvest a healthy and pleasant life."
The fitness group went first, and at 2 P.M., runners from the 7KM group and 14KM group set off. Because of their body heat and other people's cheering, the winter chill on the campus was also dispelled.
As a frequent participator in the 7km group, Wei Sun has many thoughts about this event. From freshman to junior year, she has set foot on the roadway as a participant every time. Asked about the main reason for her participation, she said, "I started participating along with my friends, mainly to find out how far I could run. Because I have always liked long-distance running, this activity was very appealing to me." Her 7km time from the past three years has been getting better and better. From the first at 53 minutes to 39 minutes then to 38 minutes at present, the road has been a witness to her effort. Wei Sun also said that she likes the purity of long-distance running. "The world seems to be quiet. I can hear my breathing and feel myself, which is very suitable for thinking."
For Jian Zhang, a student from the NARI School of Electrical and Automation Engineering and a participant in the 14KM race, the marathon league is a competition that he has been looking forward to since the beginning of this semester. As a sports fan, “Last year I missed the registration so this year, when it was time for signing up, I clicked onto the website as fast as I could. I just couldn’t wait anymore!” he said. For him, a middle-distance race is merely a matter of a daily occurrence. “Normally I go for a run three times a week. However, starting from this year’s Sports Meet, in order to prepare well for the marathon league, I increased the frequency of my weekly practice. Now I run every day!” he said.
Apart from athletes, many volunteers can be seen, as well as other back-up staff members. Li Qian, a freshman from the School of Physics and Technology and a member of the Red Cross Club of NNU, was walking back and forth on the track to make sure that all athletes were taken care of. Together with her partner, long before the start of the marathon, had put up a tent and prepared several first-aid kits. For her, “being involved in the activity as a medical service volunteer is very meaningful.”
Li Qian (the girl in the right) with her partner
Standing at the head of the line of the 3.5 km fitness group, as part of the School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, was Shiyue Hu, a member of the SFLC Sports Center and also a freshman. For her, it was a huge pity not being able to sign up in time for the marathon, so she chose to become a line leader and help the students in her school to contact the organizing committee as well as prepare for the competition. “As far as I know, there were lots of students like me, who wanted to take part in the activity but couldn’t register due to the limit to the number of participants allowed to take part. However, my work as a team leader has made me feel wholly involved. I especially love the well-rounded back-up support provided by NNU. The wonderful opening performances have also ignited the spirit of all athletes!”