Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Great Wall 1/2 Marathon

I don't know how I came across it or what possessed me to do it, but I decided I wanted to run the Great Wall. I'm ashamed to say in my ten months in China I hadn't even seen the Great Wall. What better way to see it than running a 1/2 marathon on it?!

Words really can't describe the experience. I was very nervous before the race because I had never done one and let's face it I was going to be climbing over 5,000 steps. We got in at about 9 the night before and had to make it to the hotel. We took the public transit (which by the way is amazing) and made it to the area where our hotel was. I didn't think to have the address translated, I just figured people would know "Hilton". Well Chinese people must not know about Paris and Nikki, or their parents because NO ONE knew. We were sent to about five different hotels before we finally arrived at the Hilton. We got to the room at around 11:30. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but we had to be on the bus to take us to the section of the wall we were hiking at 3:15 am. Yep, you read that right 3:15 AM. The wall was a three hour drive. So we grabbed our prepacked breakfasts and jumped in the bus. We all fell asleep and woke up to the Great Wall. Seeing the wall stretch through the mountains would have been miraculous on any other occasion. Somehow knowing I was going to be doing them and running an additional 8 miles didn't feel so miraculous.

We sat around and waited for the race to start. It was pretty cold so we tried to keep moving...at around 7:45 we were off. The race started with about 3.5 miles of switchbacks uphill to the wall. We hiked on the wall for about 5 miles. Parts of it were so narrow you had to go single file and hold onto a rope. I didn't get a picture of this as I am beginning to realize I don't like heights. Once we got off the wall we ran through villages with the locals cheering us on. This is where words fail me...so I'll leave you with pictures for this life experience. Enjoy the ride...

Hopefully the pictures portray the experience a little. I realized a lot during the run. Our God is an awesome God. Jess and I were talking and I pointed out how amazing His creation is. Jess quickly agreed and said something about the people. I was meaning nature, but we laughed as we were both right. God created a masterpiece with works of art all around. It taught me to enjoy the scenery...both nature and the people.

Zie Jian