A complex search-and-rescue mission ensued, according to local officials in a news conference, with more than 700 personnel called in to search for runners who went missing during the storm.
"I ran 2 kilometers before the starting gun fired to warm up. but the troublesome thing was, after running these 2 kilometers, my body still had not heated up", the competitor said in a first-person account that has been viewed more than 100,000 times on his WeChat account "Wandering about the South".
Baiyin city mayor Zhang Xuchen said that at around midday on Saturday a section of the rugged ultramarathon course - between the 12th and 19th mile waypoints - was "suddenly affected by disastrous weather".
Shivering in the cold, she turned back before the high-altitude section, due to previous bad experiences with hypothermia.
Temperatures in the mountainous terrain dropped further overnight, Xinhua said, making search and rescue "more difficult". "The temperature dropped sharply".
Gansu Meteorological Bureau warned of "sudden heavy showers, hail, lightning, sudden gale-force winds" and other adverse weather conditions across the province in a report dated Friday.
Alongside elite athletes Jing and Guanjun, local media reported father-of-one Lu Zhengyi as one of the victims.
Liang had won multiple Chinese ultramarathons in recent years while Huang won the men's hearing-impaired marathon at the 2019 National Paralympic Games. Marathon organisers confirmed his death to a friend, who was cited in local media.
Six participants were aided by a local shepherd who guided them to a cave dwelling, per the Paper of Shanghai.
Temperatures plummeted again in the mountainous area overnight, making the search more hard, according to Xinhua.
The incident has sparked public outrage on Chinese social media, with anger mainly directed at the Baiyin government and unhappiness over the lack of contingency planning.
In the past too, flash floods and landslides have been reported here; in 2010 over 1,000 residents of a town were killed in the mudslides.
Numerous stranded runners reportedly suffered from hypothermia, and had lost their way on the route as the weather affected visibility.