The course traverses through secluded and rarely visited sections of the Great Wall featuring prestigious pathways on the most picturesque parts of the Great Wall giving marathon runners breath-taking panoramic views and memories that will last a lifetime.
The Conquer the Wall Marathon on the Great Wall of China is not your everyday marathon. It is an adventure marathon with a challenging course that contains 10,518 countable steps throughout varied terrain along the length of the race.
While a small portion of the wall on the course has been restored, much of the wall is still in its original state and in ruins. You’ll encounter loose stones, gravel, missing steps, and crumbling walls along with trees and grass in some areas. Runners must use extreme caution as there are sections of the race course where you must exit the wall and run on the trail along side the wall to avoid extreme hazards. Runners should be physically fit and in shape as this marathon can be extremely strenuous. Each section of the course will offer different challenges and we suggests training to help condition your body to make your race experience unforgettable.
As our new 2016 Year of the Monkey course is being designed please email us for updates until we can post our race course information. We would be glad to fill you in on what to expect.
How tough will it be?
DID SOMEONE MENTION THE STEPS?
When the Great Wall was constructed, the designers intentionally varied the height of the steps to upset any running charge by invaders. It’s a design strategy which has also upset the thousands of runners from around the world who try to conquer the wall each year. The 10,000+ steps you will encounter will vary in height from a few centimeters to over 40 cm in height, with many of the original sections little more than underfoot rubble. The message here is to train for rugged conditions!
WEATHER & SUN PROTECTION
In the area you will be running the average temperature at the start of May is 21.8°C / 71.2°F but has been know to go as high as 27.3°C / 81.1°F and as low as 15.1°C / 59.2°F. With an average of only 6 rainy days in May, and plenty of sunshine, it is important to reduce your dehydration risk and to have adequate sun protection. We recommend that runners use hydration packs, however there will be water stations along the course. Generally the morning will be cool (sometimes chilly), and will warm up quickly through the day. With more than 30km of the 42km being run on the Great Wall, there will be very little shade, so a running hat and sunscreen is highly recommended. Sunrise on race day will be at 5:15am – 45 minutes before the start of the marathon.
One of the greatest dangers for runners is completing the race in a dehydrated state. After the race ensure that you continue drinking water and make sure that you have been to the toilet BEFORE getting on the bus back to Beijing. If you can go to the toilet it means that your kidneys are working and you are in good shape for the journey home.
FOOD ON THE RUN?
On race morning a light breakfast will be provided for all runners at the departure hotel. We recommended that breakfast is eaten at least 2 hours before the start of your race.
There will also be a light lunch served at the Great Wall of China at around 12:30pm for those competing in events that will finish before this time. For those still running the full marathon we will have fruit, gels and water available along the course route.
The full marathon course runs the Red Loop twice (X2) followed by the Blue Loop four times (X4).
The half marathon course runs the Red Loop twice (X2) followed by a section of the Blue Loop (X1).
The 10 kilometer course runs the Red Loop once (X1).
The 5 kilometer course runs the Blue Loop once (X1).
Overall the Great Wall of China running course varies in height by around 200m (about 650feet) between the start line and the highest point.
Stone guard towers are spread along the length of the wall, each some 200m to 300m apart. Stone steps and walkways, following the up and down contours of the ground, connect the towers.
The effect this creates for runners is similar to interval training, with an effort required to climb up, followed by a recovery period coming down. Regular training on steps as part of your preparations for the Great Wall is highly recommended.
COURSE TIME LIMITS
The course time limits will be STRICTLY ENFORCED. There is a 12-hour time limit for all races, start time is approximately 6:00 AM with a 6:00 PM CUT-OFF time. Participants must maintain a pace faster than the course time limits in order to complete the race. Note that start times are approximate.
- FULL MARATHON: START 6:00 AM
- HALF MARATHON: START 6:10 AM
- 10K: START 6:20 AM
- 5K: START 6:30 AM
Be sure to pack the following recommended running gear.
- Trail running shoes and running socks
- Running shorts and shirt
- Running hat or visor
- Water bottle and/or water hydration pack
- Gel Packs
- Sunglasses (optional)
- Garmin/GPS Tracking (optional)
- iPod (optional)
- Camera (optional)
- Mind of a champion!
The Conquer the Wall Marathon on the Great Wall of China is not your everyday marathon. This is an adventure marathon with a challenging course. Runners should be physically fit and in shape as this marathon can be extremely strenuous. We suggests using the training program to help condition your body to make your race experience unforgettable.
RECOMMENDED SHOES TO WEAR
Because sections of the Great Wall of China have very rough underfoot conditions, we recommend you train and compete in a pair of ‘Trail Running’ shoes. These shoes are designed to reduce the impact from underfoot conditions whilst supporting the feet.
Please note that locations, hotels, course information here represents the Great Wall of China Marathon as of 2015. Locations, hotels, course variations, adjustments, and changes may apply for future races depending on conditions, availability, and improvements. We strive to improve the event experience from year to year for the runners.