What would you eat after forcing your body through a 26.2 mile run in the heat of a nearly 80 degree day? Maybe something sugary to give you a quick boost of energy? Maybe some protein to start your recovery? How about some soap, so your insides can get cleaned up? Yeah, soap. That’s probably what you want. In China, that unlikely eating event occurred for lots of people recently at the QingYuan marathon in the Guangdong province in Southern China. As runners crossed the finish line of the race they received goodie bags, not an uncommon occurrence at road races. Usually those bags are filled with granola bars or tiny bottles of water or coupons for overpriced running shoes. But in China, race organizers decided to include a bar of perfumed soap. Providing soap after a long race is a nice thought—participants almost certainly got sweaty and smelled pretty ripe. The problem with this soap however, is that it looked surprisingly like food (seriously, what kind of soap says it’s “grape?”).
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And because the packaging had English words on it, native Chinese speakers that comprised most of the field had no idea what they were opening. You can probably guess where this is going—thinking the bars were edible, race participants took big bites out of the soap bars. Although they quickly realized their mistake. According to The People’s Daily Online, “photos from the scene show many soaps with one bite missing from the corner, ditched on the roadside.” In an odd twist that is almost certainly not soap-related, over 12,000 of the runners sought some sort of medical attention during or after the race.
While the runners certainly have grounds to be unhappy, it could be worse. They could have had to eat oatmeal raisin Powerbars. Those are a fate worse than soap.