On Saturday high winds and freezing rain hit participants in the 100km race in the Yellow River Stone Forest, a tourist site in Gansu province, state-run media reported.
The race was halted when some of the 172 runners went missing, Xinhua news agency said.
The bodies were found by search-and-rescue teams on Sunday.
Temperatures plummeted in the mountainous area overnight, making the search more difficult, according to Xinhua.
Yellow River Stone Forest is a rugged, 50 sq km area featuring spectacular stone pillars.