The leakiness of the long distance runner: Relieving oneself on the outer wall of the former imperial palace has become a tradition for many, according to one participant. (Internet photo)
This year's Beijing International Marathon on Oct. 20 has caused a splash online after a lack of toilets led many male runners to urinate against the wall of the Forbidden City or in the bushes along the route, reports the state news agency Xinhua.
Photos of the runners relieving themselves on the outer wall surrounding the former imperial palace that houses the Palace Museum have been posted online, prompting outrage among internet users. A woman taking part in the marathon surnamed Wang said several male runners, including foreign nationals, made a dash to the wall not long after the race began.
"This happens every year. I don't know why it is being discussed so much on the internet this year," said another runner, adding that using the World Heritage Site dating back to the time of the Ming emperor Yongle in the early 1400s for a comfort stop has become something of a tradition.
Around 300,000 people signed up for the Beijing Marathon this year, with 15,000 completing the whole distance. The men's race was won by Tadese Tola of Ethiopia, who set a record time for the event of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 16 seconds. Zhang Yingying of China won the women's race in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 19 seconds.
The Beijing International Marathon was first held in 1981 and has since become one of the top ten marathons in the world.