21 runners dead as extreme weather hits China ultramarathon

Twenty-one people were killed after hail, freezing rain and high winds hit runners taking part in a 100-kilometer cross-country mountain race in China, state media said.

The extreme weather struck a high-altitude section of the race held in the scenic Yellow River Stone Forest near Baiyin city in northwestern Gansu province on May 22.

Among the dead were elite Chinese long-distance runners, local media reported.

News agency Xinhua confirmed the death toll had risen to 21, citing the local rescue command headquarters. State broadcaster CCTV also reported the final missing competitor had been found dead.

Baiyin’s city mayor said that at around midday Saturday a section of the rugged ultramarathon course — between kilometers 20 and 31 — was “suddenly affected by disastrous weather”.

Shortly after receiving messages seeking help from some participants, marathon organisers dispatched a rescue team to save the participants.

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