The Great Wall of China seems like a runner’s paradise, and every year, the Great Wall Marathon transforms the architectural wonder into just that.
Marathon venues do not come much more spectacular than the 6,000 km Great Wall Marathon. The marathon is held at, you guessed it, the Great Wall of China, one of the most stunning achievements in human history – a wonder of the world.
The race that has run since 1999 starts near the village of Huangyaguan (“Yellow Cliff Pass”), north-east of Beijing. Take your pick between three distances: a full marathon 26.2 miles, a half marathon 13.1 mile, or a 4.6 mile fun run. Whichever length you choose, you should feel the pressure because you will be charging up and down steps. Throw in 95 degree heat and an eight-hour time limit and you have one almighty challenge.
Still, over the years the race has swelled in popularity. Now it attracts several hundred participants. Last year, in the men’s category the fastest runner was Spain’s Luis Alonso, who finished in 3 hours 39 minutes; the fastest woman, Finland’s Mari Kauri finished in 4 hours 10 minutes. Denmark’s Henrik Brandt, a Danish running legend, is the only runner to complete all 13 editions of the Great Wall Marathon. According to Adventure Marathon, the Dane continues to run the marathon, even though he is well into his early 50s.
Best of luck to all the participants competing in tomorrow’s 2013 race.
Cover Photo Credit: Keith Roper / Flickr.com