Great Wall Marathon The big day

Runners log 16052015 0500

An alarm call at 0445 resounded around the hotel where runners, guides and drivers were the only residents.  The orientals are inscrutable and efficient!  Breakfast was 2 eggs on bread, 2 jam sandwiches and 2 bits of banana.  Whilst I was waiting for some of my group to appear I was pounced on by a group of Americans for a photo shoot something that happens to me quiet regularly!  Of course I asked one to reciprocate.

The buses left in a big convoy for the start area and after 4 mins we were back where we had been on Thursday only this time it was for real.  Ying and Yang sq was full of runners trying to keep warm in the shadows while waiting for the sun to come up over the hills.  First wave was off at 07:30 with waves going off every 10 mins the waves were a mix of full marathon runners and half marathon runners.  Bag dropped and a nice warm spot found I waited patiently for wave 2 to be called forward.  It was soon time and we were off up the hill that the buses had taken us up on Thursday.  We were already passing stragglers from wave 1 within the first 3 K.

Onto the wall and bottlenecks began to form it was possible to pass other runners but a lot of the time it was just too narrow!  Legs still fresh and I was prancing down the steps two at a time all too soon the time on the wall was over and we ran through the villages of Huangyaguan, Xiaying, Qingshanling, Chedaoyu and Duanzhuang.  The running surface was a mix of tarmac, concrete and farm paths.  As the race went on the temp steadily rose.  I made sure to grab a bottle of water at every aid station and made sure to drink rather than spill it.  As the race went on and the temps rose I walked every 400m or so to top my fluid up.  The course climbed steeply between 16 and 23K.  Many were walking now.

As we came back onto the half route at 30K half runners were still heading out!  The temp was really rising and my stomach started to feel upset at this stage my feet and legs were fine it was only the heat that was causing distress.  At 35K the route returns to Ying Yang sq and begins climbing the goat track back onto the wall the opposite way to the start.

    I passed several runners in distress now some gamely going on others being treated by first aiders.  With 5K to go, all downhill, the finishing line truly was in sight.  Finishers were directed down one funnel whilst others going onto the wall for the second time were directed down another.

Done Great Wall marathon 5:54:35 4th in age group 160 overall.  A surprise awaited me at Beijing- when I got to my room I had been put in a suite!



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