Flights to Great Wall Half Marathon can be booked now so why not let the team at Travelling Fit help by booking your preferred airline on the dates that best suit you. We can arrange your complete holiday package all in the one place to help you save time and money.
Don’t put all that training to waste by running your same old marathon…snore. The Great Wall Half Marathon is not just a race; it is a moment that will live with you forever! Nowhere else can a marathoner run over one of the world’s most famous landmarks, through picturesque villages and alongside China’s own rice fields.
Sounds like the marathon of a lifetime right? It is! Having run the Great Wall Half Marathon ourselves, we can highly recommend it. We can even do better than that, we can help you book a travel package that will save you money and give you peace of mind so you can concentrate on the marathon itself.
The first section, covering approximately 9 km, takes the runners up to, across and down the Great Wall of China. This part of the course is marked by steep ascents and descents of up to 10% and consists of thousands of steps. Runners are advised to run slowly going up and down the mountain, as well as to walk when passing the steepest parts of the Great Wall.
The second section of the course, which takes the runners through picturesque villages and rice fields, is done on flat asphalt and gravel roads. All roads are in good condition and do not require special footwear.
Have you thought about extending your stay? Check out our amazing optional tours to make your holiday the trip of a lifetime.
Flights and Additional Travel
Travelling Fit is a fully accredited travel agency which offers a full range of services to our clients. This enables us to book your flights and additional touring to help us assist you in creating your perfect holiday experience.
The entry fee for the Great Wall Half Marathon is incorporated into the price of the package you choose and cannot be purchased independently.
There are no qualifying times for the Great Wall Half Marathon.
The Great Wall Half Marathon starts at 7:30am (to be confirmed). Please note that those runners that are staying in Beijing will need to check with their tour leader as to specific wake up times in order to ensure that they do not miss their bus to the start.
The cut off time is 8 hours. All runners with a net finishing time slower than 8 hours will receive a FNT (Finished No Time) on the result list.
Runners still on the route will be picked up by a race official car and taken to the finish area.
The Great Wall Half Marathon will be timed using BibTag technology to ensure that all finishers are accurately timed.
T-Shirts and Race information (including race numbers and your Great Wall personalised BibTag) will be handed out to you by your tour leader once you reach your hotel.
There are no official pace setters in this event.
There will be water stations at approximately every 4 kilometres along the route. Some stations will also serve energy drinks and bananas. All stations provide bottled water.
Personal Refreshments and Clothing
No personal drinks are able to be left out on the course
It is possible to deposit bags with personal items for use after the race. Luggage can be stored in the designated luggage area at the Yin and Yang Square. Please mark your bag clearly with your name and bib number. To avoid unnecessary queuing on the morning of race day, please mark your luggage before entering Yin and Yang Square.
Although the luggage area is manned, depositing personal belongings in the area is entirely each runner’s responsibility and the Great Wall Marathon organisers are not responsible for loss or damage of personal belongings.
Transport to the Great Wall and from the Great Wall is provided as part of your overall package.
There is no Expo as part of the Great Wall Half Marathon although there will be various stalls setup at the start/finish area
Finishers T-shirts, Medals and Certificates
All competitors will receive the official race t-shirt. All finishers will receive a Medal as they cross the finish line and Certificates will be emailed to all competitors after the conclusion of the event.
The average May temperature in Beijing is between 14 degrees Celsius and 27 degrees Celsius (56 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Light-coloured clothing, short-sleeve technical shirts are a good choice as sweat is not absorbed (like cotton), sun block is a must (use SPF30 or above), a running hat with visor is also advisable as it can help keep the sun out of your eyes.
Great Wall MarathonI had completed my 7th marathon and was ready to “up the ante” for my 8th. But, what one? My starting point was the Travelling Fit website. I had travelled with this company for five previous ...
I had completed my 7th marathon and was ready to “up the ante” for my 8th. But, what one? My starting point was the Travelling Fit website. I had travelled with this company for five previous events and have always found it to be professional in its approach, organized with the friendly staff and, above all, it knew the needs of runners. Once I had perused the events available, it was decided that the Great Wall Marathon would be the next challenge. After registering, my focus turned to the training that needed to be undertaken in an effort to succeed. Apart from the normal marathon training, 3 sessions a week were conducted on the slopes of Mt Coot-that in an attempt to mirror the undulating profile of the Great Wall Marathon. Was I ready? Only time would tell!
Soon my wife, Marlene, and I were jetting off to meet with our fellow travelers and runners in Beijing for this adventure marathon.
Having not visited China before, we decided on the 6-night package with the after-marathon extension to Tibet.
Prior to the marathon, we enjoyed some of the cultural and historical buildings of Beijing such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Beijing Zoo. One could not visit China without observing the giant panda! Traffic in Beijing was horrendous with pedestrians needing to be wary of becoming road kill with errant drivers disregarding traffic rules at will. Becoming aware of the quality of air in Beijing was part of our daily routine as a smog-like haze seems to be a permanent feature of this city of 23 million people.
By the time of the marathon, we had become friends with many of our fellow runners and supporters in our Travelling Fit group. As always, Mari-Mar was ever present with her smile and words of encouragement as well as her supreme organization.
The Great Wall Marathon takes place on the Huangyaguan Pass in rural China, a distance of approx 120km north-east of Beijing. Two days before the marathon, was Inspection Day. After leaving our hotel at 6:30a.m., we arrived some two and a half hours later. Over 2 000 runners and hundreds of supporters were crammed into Yin and Yang Square for the briefing which, incidentally, was given by an Aussie.
After the briefing, we were transported to the Great Wall itself. No amount of reading or perusing travel brochures prepares you for the historical and magnificent engineering wonder that stood before us. And to think, it’s stood the test of time for over 2 000 years.
It was compulsory for runners to walk/run the 3.5km section of the wall to appreciate the challenge of the 5 164 steps that would need to be traversed on Saturday. This also gave supporters the opportunity to walk this section of the course.
Having walked this small section of the course, all manner of thoughts was zig zagging through my mind. Had I bitten off more than I could chew? No backing out now!
The night before the marathon, I checked the route and course profile again. After the 7km mark, I wondered whether we’d need a parachute to get down the slope. After the 34km mark, will it be mountain climbing to make it back to the Great Wall as the profile showed an almost vertical ascent?
Finally, the big day arrived. After arising at 2:30a.m., dressing, checking and re-checking my gear, we assembled in the foyer where we collected our breakfast bag of goodies. We were good to go. At 3:30a.m. we were leaving Beijing behind; even at this hour, the traffic was building up. After a two-and-a-half-hour trip, we arrived at the old Huangyaguan fortress. It was just on 90 minutes to go before the start of the 19th Great Wall Marathon.
A local marching band entertained us playing Christmas Carols(in May) which made the whole thing seem almost surreal.
The haka was performed by the New Zealand contingent – over 140 in all.
We knew the start was getting closer when a number of aerobics instructors began with warm-up exercises.
The first wave started at precisely 7:30a.m. Soon, my wave was called to the Assembly Area and we were off hoping to finish the 42.2km course in 8 hours or under which was the official cut-off time.
The first part of the course followed an 8.5km loop back to Yin and Yang Square. The loop started off with a 1km flat section from the Square through Huangyaguan Village. It was along this section that we realised that runners and vehicles shared the same roads and streets. There were no barricades as in many other events.
The next 4km took us on a mostly ascending, meandering road that led us to the entrance to the Great Wall, passing villages along the way.
As we entered the Great Wall and took our first step, it dawned on us that we had 5 163 of these to go before we could say we had “conquered the Wall”. The challenge lay before us. No two steps were the same. They all varied in height with some wide and some very narrow, making it hard to find a good rhythm in climbing them. This section was challenging, as was expected, but the views and the sense of awe at this engineering marvel was invigorating.
After passing through Yin and Yang Square again, we headed towards the spectator-lined countryside. The route passed through villages where children and elders cheered enthusiastically. The section on the Wall may very well have been challenging, but the 24km or so through the countryside was far from flat. Two long hills with another 300m worth of climb was wickedly tucked in the middle of the course. This proved to be every bit as challenging as the humidity was high and the temperature soared into the thirties.
Aid stations were roughly 4km apart. They were well stocked with bottled water, bananas, energy drinks and gels. The rubbish bins, full of iced water with sponges, were very welcome. I used the iced water to splash onto my aching thighs.
Completing the 24km through the countryside, we returned to Yin and Yang Square. We collected an orange wristband to prove that we had completed the section on the Wall twice. Only 8.5km to go.
The most notorious and ‘feared’ part of the entire race is the “Goat Track”. This section of steps is roughly 700m long with up to an 800 gradient in places. I class it as ‘brutal’. Here, and along the Great Wall, I observed runners panting, gasping and cursing. Many were crawling up the steps; others were sitting catching their breath ready for that final effort to reach that finish line.
The final challenge lay in keeping up the pace as it was mostly downhill towards the finish line. The race finished where it started in Yin and Yang Square amidst hundreds of spectators, supporters and athletes cheering each finisher. A sigh of utter relief, yet with a huge smile, was there as my finisher’s medal was placed around my neck.There, at the finish line, was Marlene to congratulate me on completing the marathon. My time was 6h 15min.
After cheering the last of the Travelling Fit crew across the Finish Line, we embarked on the next bus back to the Great Wall Hotel.
The evening after the Marathon was the Gala Post-Marathon Dinner. It was being held at the China National Convention Centre. All runners and supporters were gathered in one large room – over 3 000 in total. There was a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival, a wide variety of food on the buffet and entertainment. It was a great night to celebrate and reflect on our success.
Sadly, it was soon time to say good-bye to our new-found friends as we went our separate ways – some to extend their stay; others to return to Australia. Ours was to travel to Tibet but that’s another story.
My thanks to Mari-Mar for being there when we needed her to be, for her encouragement and support and her liaison with the marathon organisers.
Great Wall MarathonSo finally the time came and the trip began, Team G&T (Grace Kendrick, Tania Goodwin and friends Simon Pearse & Ranelle Cliff) said goodbye to Perth and headed to Beijing. Beijing is an amazing ...
So finally the time came and the trip began, Team G&T (Grace Kendrick, Tania Goodwin and friends Simon Pearse & Ranelle Cliff) said goodbye to Perth and headed to Beijing. Beijing is an amazing city of a hustle and bustle, cars, buses, taxis, bikes and people with a smoggy air that shadows the sun.
A few days later saw the arrival of many other runners and the anticipation was building rapidly, what would our section of the wall be like, as steep as the pictures lead you to believe.
The day of the Great Wall preview tour was here, at 6:30 we climbed on board our bus and set off for 150km drive through to Tainjin and to part of the wall at Huangyaquan. What awaited us was one of the most awe inspiring sights that many of us had ever seen, a trail of wall rising and falling with the contours of the Chinese hills and countryside. Back onto the bus and a 5km steep dive up the hill (which we would be running up on the day) to the start of the 4km wall section.
This 4km section took us 1:30 hrs to walk and everyone was tried and starting to seriously worry about race day and just how difficult this course would be. Up and down uneven steps, down a goat track and small uneven paths with no real hand rails or barrier to save you from falling down the side of the mountain…exciting yes, scary definitely!
1800 people from 53 countries were to take part in this the 11th Great Wall Marathon. The idea for the Marathon was the brain child of some beer fuelled Danes in Copenhagen, from a small idea to a now global event! Some of the stories of dedication were simply humbling, 1 person raining funds was doing 52 marathons in 52 weeks, another lady had been given some serious health news by doctors with only a few months to live and was still determined to finish her marathon experience.
And so onto race day, a 02:30 wake-up call and a 03:30 bus departure to ensure we were all at the starting line on time. The bus was filled with nervous chatter and focused determination. Square would be the start and finish lines and was full of runners, stretching, making sure running belts, camelbaks were all full of water and other necessary fluids. Mass warm up aerobics and the starting gun for the first runners went off, we were next……….The starting line, hundreds of people and adrenaline pumping and we were finally running! First the 6km hill climb, all we wanted was to keep a steady pace to get up to the top to the start of the wall with enough energy to get us up and over the 2700+ steps. Slowly but surely we ran and jogged up the hill, over the wall and down a very steep goat track, back through the square and onto the 13km through the local villages. The locals were lining the streets and young and old had come out to cheer us on and high five us as we went past, it was this support and mass will power that got many of the runners through this gruelling race and is exactly that feeling and help that we hope Youth Focus will help others achieve.
The highlight was crossing the finishing line and receiving our medals, with the whole team finishing the race in under 3:15hrs which was itself under what we had hoped for.
Running the Great Wall Half MarathonJeff Meltzer, Karen Mason and Rachel Mason of Meltzer Mason Heath entered the Half Marathon event of this annual race. Billed as an adventure Marathon, where the course is at least 25% harder than...
Jeff Meltzer, Karen Mason and Rachel Mason of Meltzer Mason Heath entered the Half Marathon event of this annual race. Billed as an adventure Marathon, where the course is at least 25% harder than any other Marathon, times don’t matter and it’s all about the experience. It is a “tough, beautiful and definitely extraordinary experience. The 5164 steps of the Great Wall Marathon will put your physique to the test, and the breathtaking surroundings of Tianjin Province will compete with your tired muscles for attention. The Great Wall Marathon is the ideal way to combine an unusual running event with exploring one of the world’s most astonishing sights.”
It seemed like a good idea last November when we first had the notion that this would be a fun thing to do- climbing up a 5km mountain road, 2,582 steps up and down a 5km section of the Wall, gambolling through villages, soaking up the scenery and the atmosphere, not to mention the culture and the history. The reality, however, was completely different. In fact, it was so much better than we had anticipated.
Our journey began nearly six months ago, with some serious training. But had it prepared us for the big day? Endless runs up and down hills, numerous sessions on carpark staircases, and hours of pounding the pavements all in the wee hours of the morning. Would it all paid off?
May 15, 2010 dawns cold. It is 3.30am and we are heading out to Jixian, to “our part” of the Great Wall of China and the challenge we have taken on. The streets of Beijing are busy even at this time of the day and we watch the sun rise up from behind the mountains. It glows red, and two thoughts occur simultaneously: “where else can you look directly at the sun and not go blind?” and “what on earth have we got ourselves into?”. Two and a half hours later, the bus pulled into the carpark, and along with nearly 1800 other participants from 52 countries, we spilled from our bus, hopping up and down, almost bursting with nerves and excitement. We were greeted at the entrance to the race start area by a group of local villagers, decked out in traditional dress, dancing and playing music, and generally revving us up. We spent the next hour or so preparing ourselves for the start.
Finally, we assemble at the start line, and off we go. There was little of the usual pushing and shoving, and from the start we knew this was going to be something different. The first 5km was a hard slog up the mountain road, steep and hard going. This set the pace for the first half of the race, and we made it in reasonable time. Coming upon the entrance to the Wall we knew this was it – the main event, six months in the training, we were about to conquer or be conquered.
A difficult leg of the race, it was also the most thrilling and awe-inspiring. The fact that we were running along a structure built thousands of years ago, and was for the main part still wonderfully intact, was a very humbling experience. The view across the valley was stunning.
The morning mist had faded, there was no smog, just beautiful mountains (where you just knew that dragons lived). Still, the Wall tried its best to beat us. Two and a half thousand steps up and down. Not just normal steps. We’re talking steps with 30cm rises and 15cm widths, or vice versa. Goat trails, broken steps, sheer sided drops. This was no walk in the park, and it really was apparent why this is an adventure race, one where one’s personal bests don’t matter, and where a running time that is half as much again is considered normal.
Up steps, down steps, short flat-ish runs, through towers and down dirt goat trails, all too soon we had reached the end of the Wall section. We crossed through Yin Yang Square (the start/finish and half way area) and were cheered on by the watching crowd. Out of the Wall and onward to the villages. We had expected lush rice paddies, quaint houses, and perhaps the odd farm animal to be roaming around. Our romantic illusions were fairly quickly removed. For the main part, we ran along bumpy dirt tracks, with bare land either side. We had forgotten that China was just out of winter! We reached the village itself, and ran through the streets. With closely built mud houses, and drainage down the middle of the lanes, it was certainly a vastly different experience. The villagers lined the streets, and all wished us “Ni Hao”. Little children waved and were excited to run alongside for a bit. The people were so friendly, it made this tough leg a bit easier. It certainly lifted our hearts! Time was getting on, we were exhausted, dehydrated in the nearly 30 degree heat, but we were happy. We’d nearly made it, and look how far we’d come and what we had seen!
As we neared the finish line, we could hear the crowds, and we knew that this was it. Somehow, from somewhere, that last burst of adrenalin kicked in, and we found the reserves to finish strongly. In full on racing mode, we entered Yin Yang Square, heard our names over the PA, and burst across the finish line. Triumphant, exhausted, and thrilled. What an achievement, what an experience. And we got a medal.
As an adventure, running in the Great Wall Marathon was wonderful. It has become a part of our soul, and an experience we’ll never forget. After all the training, the gruelling day, would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Watch this space for next year’s bit of “adventure before dementia”!
Welcome to China
As Australia’s Official International Tour Partner for the Great Wall Marathon, Travelling Fit are pleased to be able to offer you a host of exclusive packages for the Great Wall Marathon and Half Marathon
- Budget Packages 1 & 2 are NOT hosted by Travelling Fit but by local representatives with no dedicated Australian representation
- All bookings received after 18th March 2019 incur a late booking fee of $150 per person.
For personalised Travelling Fit fully hosted tours (recommended) please refer to the Exclusive Travelling Fit Packages 1 through to 6. In summary, the exclusive packages are as follows:
- Exclusive Package 1 – Great Wall Marathon – 6 Days/5 Nights – Beijing
- Exclusive Package 2 – Great Wall Marathon – 7 Days/6 Nights – Beijing
- Exclusive Package 3 – 9 Days / 8 Nights – Exclusive Package 2 + Xi’An
- Exclusive Package 4 – 11 Days / 10 Nights – Exclusive Package 2 + Xi’An + Shanghai
- Exclusive Package 5 – 14 Days / 13 Nights – Exclusive Package 2 + Xi’An + Guilin + Yangshou + Shanghai
- Exclusive Package 6 – 14 Days / 13 Nights – Exclusive Package 2 + Lhasa (Tibet)+ Xi’An
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS:
- Book and pay your deposit no later than 30 November 2018 and receive a $68 discount off the price of Package 1 & 2 (Budget and Exclusive)
- Book and pay your deposit no later than 30 November 2018 and receive a $100 discount off the price of your Travelling Fit Exclusive Packages 3 to 6.
Please note that hotels in China are not always to Western Standards
- ALL PACKAGES INCLUDE:
- Guaranteed Race Entry (Runners Only)
- 5 or 6 Nights' Accommodation:
Check in: Tue 14 or Wed 15 May Check out: Mon 20 May
- Breakfast Daily
- Great Wall Marathon Course Inspection including lunch
- Gala Dinner post Marathon Event
- All other meals as per your itinerary
- TRAVELLING FIT EXCLUSIVE PACKAGES - ADDITIONAL INCLUSIONS:
- Arrival airport/hotel transfers
exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
- Pre-Marathon Group Dinner Asian Style
exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
- Sightseeing and excursions as listed (Optional tours must be purchased separately)
exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
- Supporters will be looked after on race day to cheer on the runners
exclusive to Travelling Fit supporters
- Personalised Travelling Fit Running Top
exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
- Travelling Fit Representative on site and available for questions
exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
- Invite to Travelling Fit's Great Wall Marathon Facebook Group
exclusive to Travelling Fit clients
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS:
Book and pay your deposit no later than 30 November 2018 and receive a $68 discount off the price of your Travelling Fit Exclusive package (Package 1 & 2)
Book and pay your deposit no later than 30 November 2018 and receive a $100 discount off the price of your Travelling Fit Exclusive package (Package 3, 4, 5 & 6)
STANDARD PAYMENT SCHEDULE:
Prelim Deposit: $300
Deposit (With Prelim): $250 per Runner and $250 per Supporter
Deposit (without Prelim): $550 per Runner and $550 per Supporter
2nd Installment: $300 per Runner and $300 per Supporter Mon 26 Nov 2018
Balance Due: Thu 14 February 2019