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(NEWSER) – Tens of thousands of people took part in the 34th Beijing International Marathon yesterday, despite warnings that the city's notorious air pollution had reached "hazardous" levels and it would be wise to avoid exertion.

Many runners were spotted wearing face masks or even gas masks, and organizers provided 140,000 sponges at supply stations so runners could wipe residue from the filthy air off their skin, reports CNN. Even with a face mask, British runner Chas Pope had to pull out 6 miles in, saying he looked at the state of his mask and "decided enough was enough," the BBC reports.

Photo: Getty Images

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