More than just a run…it’s an off-the-beaten-track, cultural and camaraderie experience!
There were some very sore legs after just the inspection day, where roughly 2,500 aspiring runners from over 45 countries had an opportunity to climb on the 3km of wall that was going to be the focus of the run in a couple of days. It was also the opportunity to revise your choice of distance. Most people who changed their entry reduced the length of their run, but a few actually extended their distance from the 8km ‘fun’ run to the full marathon. This is an adventure event, with only a fraction of the distance on bitumen and even less in rhythm mode. Not only are you likely to spend 50% more time running than for a standard city road run, there are large stairs (all 5,164 of them) for much of the wall as well as rough tracks through rural villages plus the sting in the tail for the marathon runners……which is the second pass along the wall after already completing 34km of the run. There are some really tough people out there!
The run was the initial focus of the holiday; however the whole travel and camaraderie experience quickly became front and centre of the trip. Beijing continually surprised us….plus 21 million locals; great range of food, surprisingly good restaurants, drinking holes and roof top bars, the full range of shopping experiences and a real insight to the way the people are embracing the ‘new’ China, warts and all. Pure capitalism within a socialist bureaucracy.
For those who love statistics:-
Mens marathon winning time 3:09
Mens half marathon winning time 1:39
Womens marathon winning time 3:32
Womens half marathon winning time 1:49
Mens 8km fun run winning time 0:56
Womens 8km fun run winning time 1:11
My stats for the half-107th male, 133rd overall, 4th in my age group
Helen’s stats for the 8km – 6th female, 24th overall, 1st in her age group
Marathon participation 755 (64% men, 36% women)
Half marathon participation 1248 (51% men, 49% women)
Fun Run participation 448 (63% women, 37% men)
And to put it to rest once and for all – no, you cannot see the Great Wall of China from space.
I know, I haven’t been there (space, that is).
Helen doing the Toyota leap.