Back in 2015 I decided that there were a couple of things I’d like to do, one – run a marathon. While easy enough to find a race, I somehow didn’t really fancy pounding the streets of Reading or somewhere else relatively local, if I was going to do some serious damage to my knees, may as well be somewhere interesting… two – experience the Great Wall of China which would take a little bit more organisation and planning.
What if there was a way to combine both of these?
A quick google search later and Albatros Adventures had the exact experience I was looking for, a small group, locally led, China experience with a marathon smack in the middle, part of which was on the Great Wall itself, perfect! They have a number of other, ‘exotic’, race events, and while I’ve yet to complete another, that’s still on the bucket list…
So after reading a variety of reviews and looking at the itinerary again and again, decided this was the best way for me to achieve the goals above – a great example of ‘killing two birds with one stone‘ in my mind. Well organised, packed and varied itinerary taking in some of the highlights such as the Forbidden City, Tienanmen square, Terracotta warriors, the Great Wall + more.
My longest distance prior to this had been the Basingstoke 1/2 marathon the year before (someone dropped out and asked if I wanted to take their place) so I figured some additional training was needed for a full marathon post that. I downloaded a marathon plan and kept loosely to that ahead of the race itself. I’d read also from previous Great wall runners, that it was important to get used to steps as there are a total (I didn’t count on the day) 5,164 to deal with! All in all an absolutely amazing experience, if you’re thinking of doing something like this or one of the other Albatros Adventure races, I can thoroughly recommend it – superbly organised, really comfortable accommodations, brilliant itinerary and got to meet and race with some great people to boot!
I’ve a tonne of photos from this trip and have included a small selection from both the race day and others below.
You can view my Strava route/stats from the day here – https://www.strava.com/activities/311114554