What’s the latest craze in China? Apparently marathons. In 2010 the Chinese Athletic Association held a total of 12 official running events; in 2014 there were 53, with marathons representing the majority, according to an article written by South China Morning Post. While China is often characterized as pushing economic and industrial boundaries, a recent surge in athletics proves there’s more than just machines grinding.
Many Chinese cities are now hosting running races as a way to showcase their landmarks and increase revenue, resulting in a multitude of races, each offering a different viewpoint on China. And what better way to experience a new land than by walking (or running) it in your own shoes.
Some of the most exotic marathons held in 2015 include The Great Wall Marathon, held on May 16, where runners take in panoramic views as they traverse the Great Wall of China and its surrounding villages. Be warned of the challenging 5,164 steps included in the 26.2-mile race.
The Beijing Marathon, recognized as an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, will take place on Oct. 18 and will introduce runners to sights such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Olympic Village. Despite smog last year there were still 30,000+ runners, and just as many are expected this year.
On Nov. 1, the Shanghai International Marathon, also labeled an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, as well as the Hangzhou International Marathon kick off. Both marathons take runners right through the heart of their cities and offer sights such as West Lake, the Bund, Nanjing Road, and Jing-an Temple.
This year start training early, keep that New Year’s resolution, and prepare for a unique adventure by racing in a Chinese marathon. We’ll help you get there to see China in style; we’ll even book you a foot massage afterwards. You just bring your shoes and stay hydrated.