Great Wall Marathon: Pre-Race

It’s  ovaaaaaaaah!! I don’t know how to sum up the whole experience except that it was really, really cool.

Getting out to the wall was a little like the Amazing Race. We were in a mad dash to find the Great Wall office to pick up our kits and catch the bus on time.


After a 2 hour bus ride, we arrived at the wall. The race itself was really organized but pre-race was chaotic. Leading up to the race I constantly had to transfer money and half the time it wouldn’t go through. China does not believe in credit cards.  Arriving at the Great Wall we weren’t sure where we were staying or where to go.

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More importantly, I wasn’t sure what we were going to eat. At the hostel check-in, I saw a girl with 5 pizza boxes. I was all, “Sa-weet, we can order pizza to the Great Wall of China!!! Hellooo 21st Century!” Ya. No, you can’t. Those girls were smart and brought food in advance. There are slim pickings on the wall peeps. We found our hostel and they told us they didn’t have any food either. Being prepared is not my motto.

At least where we stayed was beautiful.

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We eventually found Chinese food and laid around watching The Notebook all night. You know, a typical pre-race, pump-up movie.

The morning of the race was FREEZING.  Being the horrible ex-Brownie I am, I was not prepared at all.

We had to be at the start 1 hour and 1/2 early and everyone was standing around freezing their buns off.

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It was awesome to see hundreds of people from all over the world gathered together in costumes and country colors.


I don’t know if people felt more united over traveling so far to run on the Great Wall or the fact that we had to use side by side squatters. Wide-open.

90% of the female runners saw my bootay pre-race. No shame.

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The 5km runners were taken to the wall and started 30 minutes before us.  Then it was time for the first corral half and full marathons to line up. Just as we were about to start the sun came out…

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Characters on the Wall

I really wish I had thought to dress in a costume or at least wear some Canadian gear, there were so many people dressed up in awesome costumes and supporting their country. (I did get interviewed by ESPN and gave a shout out to the babe patrol!)

These were a few of my fav’s:

Great Wall Marathon 052 Marathon Maniac’s: This was a couple from the states who had run 163 marathons. They were flying home Monday and going to compete in 2 more marathons next weekend! In order to be a maniac you have to run 3 marathons a week at some point. They are awesome. 

Great Wall Marathon 053 Team South Africa: These guys actually became my friends at about 35km as we struggled to climb up the wall  the second time. 

Great Wall Marathon 057 Brazilian Brothers.

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Slipper man: I thought he was just going to run barefoot until I saw the chip fastened to his shoe. HC.

Great Wall Marathon 043 And of course, my Vancouver girl representing the Canucks!

Great Wall Marathon 184  Proof that the Wilderman and I actually completed the race.