A Brief History of Taiwan’s Road Running

在文檔中 女生跑起來! 企業、媒體與路跑中的女性 - 政大學術集成 (頁 34-42)

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Taiwan’s road running development first.

2.4 A brief history of Taiwan’s road running

“Road running” is a modern term. In ancient times, running was included in the

track and field domain; it usually took place on a track, not a road, and was based on

kilometer lengths and named marathon or ultramarathon. Nowadays, road running

includes wider genres, such as jogging, long-distance runs, marathons, half marathons,

ultramarathons, triathlons, and run ups. Distances from 200-meter children’s events to

42.195-kilometer or more than 100-kilometer marathon adult events are available to the

public (朱立心 Chu Li-Hsin, 2013).

Among the sporadic research focusing on Taiwanese marathons and track and field,

雷寅雄Lei Yin-Hsiung’s (1998) Taiwan Track and Field Development is considered a

representative book on early Taiwan track and field. It contains many precise data,

documents, and rare images from 1946 to 1973, authentically recording Taiwan’s early

sports development. According to 雷寅雄 Lei Yin-Hsiung (1998), in 1946, the Taiwan

Province government held the first provincial sports meet(台灣省運動會) on October

25 to celebrate Taiwan Restoration Day(光復節), and such meets were held every year

for thirty years. Restricted by muddy sports fields and capricious weather, the quality

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of early track and field improved slowly. The men’s competitive marathon started in

1947, at the second Taiwan provincial sports meet, and it was only open to the top two

athletes from each city. Women’s competitive marathon late until 1983 officially

included in Taiwan province sports meeting competition events (雷寅雄 Lei

Yin-Hsiung, 1998). Similar to the case in other countries (Hargreaves, 1994), early sports

development in Taiwan extoled the virtues of masculinity and sports elitism.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, running events were controlled by the government.

With a clear diplomatic purpose, sports had more political meaning in constructing

nationalism and ruling legitimacy in early Taiwan sports history.3 In 1955, the

Republic of China Track & Field Committee(中華民國田徑協會)4 was established.

In 1978, under the leadership of Chi Cheng (紀政), the Republic of China Track &

Field Association initially arranged a four-month winter outdoor road running event to

promote a countrywide atmosphere for sports running annually from November until

February. As the number of road running participants gradually increased, in 1982, the

quarterly cross-country events officially became “road running” events; the

3 During the 1960s, the best-known Taiwanese athletes, the “Asian Iron Man,” Yang Chuan-Kuang (楊 傳廣), and “Asia’s Flying Antelope,” Chi Cheng(紀政), both stood out in international sports

competition in the 1960 and 1968 Olympic games (雷寅雄 Lei Yin-Hsiung, 1998).

4 Now Chinese Taipei Track & Field Association

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government opened the whole year to hold road running events, and this paved the way

for local governments to hold road running events individually (邱榮基、畢璐鑾Chiu

Rung-Chi & Bi Lu-Luan, 2005).

In 1986, the Taipei International Marathon became the first marathon named after

a city, standing for Taiwan road running from field to road, from suburb to city. The

milestone embodied a new form of sports tourism that was encoded in the city

marketing strategies to increase the marathon tourism momentum. 許績勝、許光麃、

呂佳莉Hsu Gi-Sheng, Hsu Kuang-Piao, and Lu Chia-Li (2013) examined the route

planning and transitions of the Taipei International Marathon. As the first city-held

marathon in Taiwan, because of the road route length growth (from 10 kilometers5 to

42 kilometers) and urban development conflict6, the city marathon challenged the city

order and was considered the best city-promoting tool. It is a pity that the study was

only based on route planning descriptions instead of conducting a deeper analysis of

the relationship between the Taipei International Marathon and the Taipei City

spectacle or image. In 2004, the Taipei International Marathon became the ING Taipei

International Marathon, sponsored by the ING Capital Life Insurance Company, and

5 From 1981-1985, a 10-kilometer mini-marathon was held every year in Taipei.

6 During the Taipei city metro construction, it was difficult to hold a marathon in the city.

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created many breakthroughs, appealing to great athletes from both inside and outside

Taiwan to take part. It was even recognized by the International Association of Athletics

Federations (IAAF) as an international credentialed event, showing the public and

private sector’s co-partnership. According to 吳 孟 書 Wu Meng-Shu (2010),

corporations could foster their reputation and draw consumer support by holding road

running events. Thus, at this stage, the marathon was combined with tourism and

sponsored by private entrepreneurs, creating a different picture compared with previous

periods. However, 郭豐州 Kuo Feng-Chou (2013) stated that, “around 2008, local road

running clubs started to hold small-scale marathons by themselves, which became a

special characteristic of Taiwanese marathon.” Therefore, not just entrepreneurs but

grassroots power was involved. Extending from the city marathon, more actors have

joined road running since 2011, which I regard as the “marathoneconomic period.” It

was a whole new stage for road running development in Taiwan, characterized by

“interesting,” “genderizing,” and “more youth people involved”.

Nike launched the first female road race in 2011, and it dominated the female road

running market until 2013, when two more female road races were held by Mizuno and

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a female website7. In 2014, Nike, Mizuno, and a non-sports company, the Chungwa

Association for International Exchange of Recreational Sports (中華國際休閒運動交

流協會) initiated three other female road running events. This was the first time that

road running had a gender restriction, which is my focal point in the current study. In

2013, Taiwan introduced the “Color Run” fun run, and within a couple of months, the

fun run started a new fad, leading to a series of themes with diverse titles, such as the

Zombie Fun Run, Hello Kitty Road Run, Red Wine Fun Run, and Run for the Earth.

From then on, road running is not purely a sports but has cosplay elements that people

enjoy, which is “interesting”. The marathoneconomic period does not have apparent

organizers but multiple authorities (蕭涵 Shiou Han, 2014), even the crowd itself (張

家瑋Chang Chia-Wei, 2014).

張烽益Chang Fong-Yi (2015) ultimately concluded that the Taiwan road running

trend that started in 2010 had apparently connecting to Taiwanese youth. In 2005,

runners 40-49 years old accounted for the main percentage, while in 2014, those 30-39

years old were the biggest running group. Youth and adolescents massively joined road

running and changed the original running environment. And the growing number of

7 Baby You, a women’s website devoted to gender topics.

http://www.babyou.com/opencms/?__locale=zh_TW

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road running participants in this period was attributed to government’s promotion and

the arise of social media. The Taiwan Sports Administration promoted sports through

several plans: the “Sunshine Fitting Plan,” the “Sports Population Growth Plan,” and

“Build a Sports Island.” Through the efforts of the government, non-government

organizations, schools, and local groups, Taiwanese people have become more aware

of the importance of leisure sports and participation has gradually increased, but “fun

run,” followed by the rise of the Internet generation, grew fast and became omnipresent

(葉基 Yeh Ji, 2013). Especially with the use of smart phones, message communication

has become instantaneous. 邱仕騰、蕭嘉惠 Chiu Shih-Teng and Shiou Chia-Huei

(2014) took Color Run as an example, showing that fun runs exhibit some differentiated

features from previous road running activities. For example, promotion is done via not

just traditional media but also through social media such as Facebook and Twitter to

spread the message. Fan pages, embedded pictures, retweet, and reposts are all potent

factors that announce the success of the fun run wave. Similarly, 萬年生 Wan

Nien-Sheng(2015) cited the rise of social media as one of the prime reasons that people

replaced photos of restaurant delicacies with pictures in the sweltering gym or outdoors.

It became apparent that road running had a spillover effect. If we analyze the

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popular road running events in Taiwan recently, it becomes clear that most of them were

hosted by sporting goods manufacturers, and almost all of them required high entry

fees, with many limited consumable products and gear. In Taiwan, not just sports related

products but also food, clothing, and smartphone applications have enthusiastically

been combined with sports elements (萬年生 Wan Nien-Sheng, 2015). The first

runner’s restaurant, Rest & Run, which featured meals designed especially for runners

and offered a shower room and cloakroom in Taipei, the popularity of athleisure

clothing, designed for athletic workouts, are all strong evidences of the spillover effect

of road running craze. However, at the end of 2014, Taipei city government first

announced a new regulation for road running: the “Taipei Road Race Events Audit Pilot

Plan” (Taipei City Government, 2014). Road running events with more than 3,000

participants would be categorized into three different sections: A (boulevard-lined

route), B (great scenery and artistic aura route), and C (riverside park and family

playground route) based on the running route and number of participants. This

regulation went into effect in 2015. The frequency of road running events was restricted,

we could take this new regulation as the countermeasure taken by city government in

response to the non-stop road running craze in Taiwan.

To sum up, the four stages of Taiwan road running development, started from 1946

till now, feature different characteristics and leading by different institutions,

represented diverse social meanings (see Table 1). This study, thus, focused on the

“Marathon economy” period, especially on how media and business co-constructed the

female road running with different means. In the next chapter, based on the literature

review, I would clarify my research questions and describe my methodology in detail,

including how I collected the sampling data, selected interviewees, and my analyzed

dimensions.

Table 1: Four stages of Taiwan road running development (1946- now) Stage Taiwan province

Leader ●Country/city government ●Republic of China Track & Field

Meaning ●Ruling legitimacy

●Nationalism

●Sports for all citizen

●Central government decentralized

●Internationalized

●Private sector involved

●City spectacle, urban

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Chapter Three: Research Questions and Method

在文檔中 女生跑起來! 企業、媒體與路跑中的女性 - 政大學術集成 (頁 34-42)