Half-marathon organizers in Shenzhen promised that 258 trappers caught during a recent race would not be able to escape punishment for their actions.
Up to 18 runners who found fake bibs, as well as three scammers, are facing a life-threatening event, Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
Another 237, most of whom had abbreviations during the race and were captured by traffic cameras and local photographers, could be banned for two years.
"We deeply regret the violations that happened during the event. Running a marathon is not just a practice, it's a metaphor of life, and every runner is responsible for himself," Xinhua told the organizers.
Reports of cheating caused China outrage, which caused it Folk Journal urge runners to "respect the marathon and respect the sporting spirit" in the editorial office.
The sharp increase in the number of events in recent years and mass participation has also been blamed on this problem.
China has 1072 marathons and road races this year, compared to 22 years in 2011, according to the Xinhua report, quoting the Chinese Athletic Association.