Race organizers jailed for their role in deadly ultramarathon

Woman trail runner cross country running up hill to winter snow mountain top
21 runners died due to extreme weather during the ill-fated 2021 ultramarathon (Image credit: lzf)

The organizers of an ultramarathon which left 21 runners dead have been jailed for their role in organizing the event, according to local media.

The 100km race took place in May 2021 in Gansu Province, northwest China, despite predictions for extreme weather on the day. During the race, participants were exposed to freezing rain, high winds and hail that proved deadly.

Five individuals who were involved in planning and executing the race were handed sentences for dereliction of duty and bribery in "organising a large-scale event that led to a significant safety incident" on Friday, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

Ultra running and mountain running have exploded in popularity in China and Hong Kong in recent years, with three UTMB events scheduled to take place there in 2024. Following the incident, the General Administration of Sport in Beijing suspended events without national safety standards, including mountain trail running, wingsuit flying and ultrarunning.

A woman running in the snow

Whether you're running in an organized race or on your own, it's vital to check the condition and set off prepared when venturing into the backcountry (Image credit: Westend61)

Backcountry safety for trail runners

Whether you're running in an organized race or on your own, it's vital to check the conditions, research your route and set off prepared when venturing into the backcountry. Always pack the following items:

  • Electrolytes and energy bars
  • Trail running sunglasses
  • Running headlamp
  • Emergency bivy sack
  • Minimalist first-aid kit focused on items to stop bleeding, but also has meds and other minor ailment treatments such as moleskin
  • Folding camping knife
  • Fire starter
  • Map and compass
  • Two-way communications devices such as the Garmin InReach
  • Battery pack with appropriate cables for electronic devices
  • Wool or synthetic running gloves
  • Wool skull cap/hat
  • Soft water bottles and water filter
  • Phone with offline mapping app
  • Lightweight waterproof breathable shell jacket
  • 12-liter running vest
  • Mid-layer micro-puffy jacket for runs that will take you high or deep or when weather dictates need for extra warmth
Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.