Great Wall of China Marathon Race Report

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Asher and I signed up to run the Great Wall Half Marathon on May 1, 2017. However, we did not exactly train to run the Great Wall Half Marathon. In fact, we did not read enough about the race before we got there. I thought part of the race would lead us through a village before the assent onto the wall. When we picked up our packets, it was clear from the course map that there would be no running around in villages this year.

Monday morning as we rode past the easy part of the wall on our way to the race, we could see tourists climbing very steep stairs. A British woman in the rear of the bus began audibly swearing in terror. At the race start, girls in line for the toilet were discussing their race plans. One girl explained that the half marathon could take up to seven hours. On the spot, I decided that Asher and I needed to change our plan.

I caught up with the race director, and pulled on is sympathy until I convinced him to make an exception for Asher and I. We were allowed to drop down to the 5K. This was wonderful. Because we only ran the 5K, we actually enjoyed ourselves. The first kilometer was a steep incline, but it was not on stairs. The next kilometer and a half were a very steep incline up rickety stairs. (Oh yeah, the Great Wall is really just a gigantic staircase.) Before we knew it, we reached our turnaround, and we got to run down the rickety stairs and then down the steep slope to the finish.

Low and behold, we finished 5th. Then we got to sit and enjoy the mountain setting until most of the 10 Kers finished at about hour 3. It was quite an adventure, and it was the only race I have run since Psycho Summer at WYCO last year. It was wonderful to put on a race bib and line up at the starting line with runners from around the world.

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