Have running shoes, will travel: The best and worst Chinese marathons

By That's Beijing, June 1, 2015

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It’s nearing summer and you need a fitness goal to keep your training plan on track. Yes, it’s time you signed up for a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time runner or a seasoned veteran, there’s nothing quite like the fear of a punishing long-distance run to keep you from sleeping through your alarm call and missing out on that early morning run.

With China undergoing something of an explosion in long-distance competitions, there’s more race options available than ever before. From rugged mountain ultras to scenic ocean runs, there’s something for everybody and every level of fitness.

The question is, which race should you opt for?  We caught up with some of the runners over at HeyRunning! to get the low-down on the best of this season’s top competitions – and which events to avoid.

Jun 13: Lanzhou International Marathon

“One of China’s 14 government certified ‘Marathon Golden Medal Races,’ so will have, at a minimum, water stations and timing chips. Probably get a nice free race T-shirt too.”

Jul 19: Genghis Khan MTB Adventure & Grassland Marathon

“Massively popular, one of the very best races out there. Amazing running environment, top-level organization, great post run party vibe. Register early before it sells out.”

Jul 19: Zhangjiakou Kangbao Grassland International

“Potential home of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Likely to be a pretty well put together race this year. Within easy reach of Beijing too.”

Sep 26: Yunnan Shuifu Half Marathon

“Apparently there was an 80-year-old runner competing last year. That said, it’s pretty rugged and undeveloped out there. One for the purists.”

Oct 18: Beijing International Marathon

“Like running on Mars if the PM2.5 is high. The route is pretty lame too. But being that it’s Beijing, it’s hard to say no. Hometown pride!”

Nov 6: Qiandongnan International 100KM Ultra Challenge

“Possibly the best long distance race in Asia, impeccably organized, stunning mountain scenery and very friendly locals.”

That’s Beijing is proud media partner of HeyRunning. Join a session on Monday evenings, Wednesday evenings, Sunday mornings – or all three. It costs RMB30 for each individual session. Go online at www.heyrobics.com/heyrunning for membership pricing information. Follow HeyRunning on WeChat, username: HeyRunning. All levels welcome!

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