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The Runners Racing Through Delhi's Smog

The city’s air-quality crisis coincided with the half-marathon. Some runners weren’t deterred.
A participant wears a gas mask as he runs Delhi's half-marathon in 2016.
A participant wears a gas mask as he runs Delhi's half-marathon in 2016.Tsering Topgyal/Reuters

An army of masked men and women take to the streets equipped with high-performance gear and gadgets capable of reading hazardous weather conditions. Though they may sound like a band of superheroes, they’re not. They’re the running community of New Delhi—one of the world’s most polluted major cities.

For months, many of them trained for New Delhi’s half-marathon, a fixture of the Indian capital’s November calendar, which was held on Sunday.