Great Wall Marathon

My incredibly beautiful wonderful daughter
My incredibly beautiful wonderful daughter
Beautiful old architecture
Beautiful old architecture
Stone carvings
Stone carvings
And the Great Wall of China
And the Great Wall of China
Spectators
Spectators
Getting ready for the start
Getting ready for the start
Almost time to set off
Almost time to set off
Bottlenecks made even those wanting to run, walk
Bottlenecks made even those wanting to run, walk

16 May 2009

 A couple of months ago I phoned my daughter, "Hey Kerri, there are a few teachers at our school doing the Great  Wall Marathon, I thought it would be cool if you did it and raised sponsorship money for the Hermanus Rainbow Trust!"

Kerri is not very sporty.  She's never even watched a marathon in her life let alone run one.  She wonders why men playing soccer don't pick up the ball and run with it as they do in rugby.  But, Kerri is blessed with a spirit of adventure.  She's game for anything.  "Sure Mom," she said cheerily, "Why not?  Could be fun!"

Kerri agreed without even knowing how long a marathon was.  That was a bit of a worry.  "Um, you'll have to do some training," I suggested worriedly, mentally thinking the half-marathon might be a wiser choice.  Kerri does like to party, hard.  "Er, you might have to give up partying for a bit as well."  Kerri just laughed.  "You'll have to eat a lot of pasta," I added, remembering that Kerri had told me the previous week that she had given up eating carbohydrates.

I set up a Facebook support site for Kerri where people could give her training tips.  However, she always planned to start the training the next day, but the next day never came.  I started to get worried.  "I'm giving my elbow a lot of training," she'd tease jokingly, "And I walk to work instead of taking a taxi.  And I live on the seventh floor and don't have an elevator!"  My heart sank.  All the teachers from our school who were taking part were going crazy with their training.  Every evening you'd see some of them out jogging.  Kerri appeared to be doing no training.  No matter how many times I explained to her that this was one of the toughest races in the world, she'd just keep saying, "Don't worry Mom.  I got it all under control."

I should have believed my beautiful child.  She left Friday night with the group of teachers, heading to Beijing to take part in the Great Wall Half Marathon.  She didn't run it as she knew her capabilities.  She just wanted to complete it within the allocated time so that she could collect the sponsorship money for the Hermanus Rainbow Trust that had been promised her.  All money collected will be used to build a kindergarten classroom for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in a disadvantaged township in Hermanus, South Africa.  Kerri completed the arduous half marathon in just under four and a half hours.  She walked most of the way, and took photos of the amazing scenery. 

WELL DONE MY EXCEPTIONALLY SPECIAL BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER - I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!

If you'd still like to donate money to Kerri's mission to get a kindergarten built, you can still visit her sponsor site  http://www.backabuddy.co.za/china or find out more about the Hermanus Rainbow Trust http://www.rainbowtrust.co.za/

Steep stairs
Steep stairs
Even steeper stairs
Even steeper stairs
And ahead, more steep stairs
And ahead, more steep stairs
Then you have to go down the stairs
Then you have to go down the stairs
Up and down, winding around and over hills
Up and down, winding around and over hills
Local officials watching
Local officials watching
Bottlenecks at some of the stairs
Bottlenecks at some of the stairs
Sheer drop next to a narrow path
Sheer drop next to a narrow path
Amazing scenery
Amazing scenery
Not sure which is worse, going down or going up?
Not sure which is worse, going down or going up?

More info on the Great Wall Marathon

It's steep, it's high and in places it's very dangerous. The Great Wall Marathon in China is one of the world's best adventure marathons.
Runners cross the wall over the Huangya mountain pass in Tianjin province. The first 5km is uphill and the wall rises from there.
Runners cover 3.6km on the wall, over the mountain ridge, including 2550 steps. A narrow, steep goat track leads them back to road level and to the unpaved streets of nearby farming villages.
Marathoners finish with a second tough wall crossing in the opposite direction and a 5km downhill run.

Sometimes it was steep and there weren't stairs
Sometimes it was steep and there weren't stairs
Narrow paths
Narrow paths
Amazing sights
Amazing sights
Traditional dancing
Traditional dancing
More steps
More steps
Water bottles were plentiful along the way
Water bottles were plentiful along the way
Local spectators on the side of the road
Local spectators on the side of the road
Spectator
Spectator
The Great Wall
The Great Wall
Official photo of Kerri
Official photo of Kerri
Completely focused on walking and her ipod
Completely focused on walking and her ipod
Finished the race before the cut-off time
Finished the race before the cut-off time
A bar near the finish
A bar near the finish
A couple of drinks with friends
A couple of drinks with friends
A treasured bottle of Lucozade
A treasured bottle of Lucozade

More by this Author


Comments 51 comments

frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 7 years ago

Cindy - well done to Kerri! What a great girl :) You must be all warm and fuzzy inside!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Ah man Froggy, can't tell you how proud I am of her. There are just no words. Can you believe I was actually crying while writing that hub?


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

What a wonderful story and sounds like you have a great kid with a lot of spunk and fun in her. Amazing pictures too.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Jerilee, yep, she took the pics, well not the official race ones, which I guess was one of the advantages of walking and not running! She's already saying next year she wants to train and then run it!


frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 7 years ago

Cindy - yes I can! And now she's a Hub-Up (pin-up for hubs!) - And she wants to do it again! Like I said, great girl!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

lol Froggy Hub-Up, love that!


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Amazing pics, amazing daughter. If she was running we could not see this so interesting and mystical scenery.

When I go hiking, I never go quickly - how anybody can enjoy the surrounding and see any of wanders of this world if one is just focused on the goal and nothing else? The choice of your daughter was the best possible, send her my regards, congratulations and I am very thankful for the pics...


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Tatjana! I'll do so!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Wow and Wow! Sometimes our kids amaze us! This is great, and the pictures are stunning! Many hugs to you today!


CC 7 years ago

Hey! What a beautiful daughter you have. Really, simply gorgeous. I think you are probably the proudest Mom right now, huh? You should be. She took wonderful pictures too. Just fabulous scenery, I would have walked my self to just enoy it. Afterall it was a fundraiser for a wrothy cause so why knock yourself out. thanks for a heads up on this cindy. I love it. and she is beautiful


dianacharles profile image

dianacharles 7 years ago from India

Absolutely amazing, a race on the Great Wall... hats off to all the marathoners...

Your daughter shines with an inner glow.:)


jj 7 years ago

What a great thing your daughter is doing. She is so beautiful. and the photos are great!! Wonderful!!!


AshleyVictoria profile image

AshleyVictoria 7 years ago from Los Angeles

WOW congrats to her!! Is there anywhere online where I can find information on the Great Wall marathon. That sounds like something I'd love to do!


Janetta 7 years ago

I really liked this one! Beautiful pictures, and your daughter is gorgeous!!! She must get her good looks from her mama ;) Some of those "spectators" looked more like they were waiting in the bushes for runners to go by so they could jump out and scare the crap out of them lol.. Congrats to your daughter for finishing, too!! That did not look easy! She should be very proud of herself, I know I couldn't do it!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks for the hugs Candie, yes the pics were stunning. I have been to the Great Wall and it is worth the visit.

CC, she is beautufk, eh?

Diana, it is a good idea to have a race on the Great Wall! People come from all over the planet to take part,

BC, you only appreciate how difficult and steep those steps are when you climb them. The pics do not do the steps justice!

JJ, maybe I can persuade my daughter to do the Kiliminjaro marathon next year!

Ashley, think if you just type in Great Wall Marathon then heaps of info sites will come up. It's run in May every year.

Janetta, some of the spectators did look a little scary lol


Marlene 7 years ago

How wonderful! Cindy, you have been such an inspiration to me. I saw little Kerri grow up all those many years ago and I am so proud of what you and your children have achieved. Yes, Kerri has grown into a beautiful girl and many pats on her back for her courage and enthusiasm.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

She is just beautiful thumbs up to her woo hoooo, gutso like her Momma.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Marlene and BP, I still get quite emotional when I think about her taking on the Great Wall! She didn't need any persuading, Just said, "Yip, cool, I'll do it."


Gin Delloway profile image

Gin Delloway 7 years ago

great hub! I like it!!


CabinGirl 7 years ago

That was a really nice thing of her to do and she looks really lovely, you must be really proud !!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Gin and Cabin Girl, I am really very proud of my daughter!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

fantastic, well done her! Not surprised you are so proud of her.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks LG, you wait till your little one starts to do amazing things, you'll feel the same!


Janet21 profile image

Janet21 7 years ago from New York

Congrats to your daughter. Great job! The photos are amazing. That sheer drop near the path would have done me in, though. :)


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Janet! She is a very special girl! The drop would have done me in as well, but not as much as those steps!


trooper22 profile image

trooper22 7 years ago from Chicago

Way to go! She rocks. I have been on a couple of 20+ mile runs (a long time ago) and all I can say is I am inspired by anyone that actually does this out of choice. I despise running, and am all about my bicycle now. Great photos!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Trooper, yeah, my daughter isn't really a runner either!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas

Wow! What a great story! I know how incredibly proud you are of her and what beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

KCC, I will never have been able to do what she did!


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 7 years ago from Cornwall

All those steps, what an achievement, Congratulations to Kerri.


J.Stump profile image

J.Stump 7 years ago from USA

amazing


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Hawkesdream and Stumpie, thanks for dropping in!


My Inner Jew profile image

My Inner Jew 7 years ago

wow that is amazing! Definitely a race of a life time! How many people can seriously say they ran a marathon ON THE GREAT FREAKING WALL OF CHINA!!!!!!! Congratulations kerri!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Yeah, Inner Jew, it does sound kind of cool, doesn't it?


icewave5 profile image

icewave5 7 years ago from Australia

Nice journey, i wish i could go to CHina.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Icewave, China has some great scenery and old buildings, but some not so nice things as well!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Congratulations to Kerri! What a cool thing to do, and I just love all the photos. I trained for and ran a much, much, flatter marathon last fall and I recall posting some video in a Hub about the Great Wall Marathon. I can exactly see why you would be crying with pride. :)

Very inspirational hub!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Steph! If you're a marathon runner, maybe you could try the Great Wall one next year!


Emma Harradine 7 years ago

Huge congratulations to Kerri! I did the Great Wall Half Marathon two years a go and can testify to how tough it is WITH training... I can't even begin to imagine how she did it with virtually NO training! I think I remember reading that there are about 3770 steps in the half marathon... I'm guessing that Kerri's 7 flights didn't help her much! Good on her! E x


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Emma, she must have the natural stamina of a camel used by the Arabs to travel those old trade routes through the deserts.


Oremie B profile image

Oremie B 6 years ago from North London

What a nightmare! I have run 5 London marathons (Hub How to Run 26.2 miles and Survive....!)but I could never do this! I went to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics (Hub Usain Bolt, The Bird's Nest.......)and visited the Great Wall and was amazed at how steep and frankly dangerous it was. Walking up and down alone was enough, mind you I hate heights. Well done to your daughter, I would not even attempt it!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Oremie, I walked on the wall and have to agree, i couldn't have run it either!


gidtset profile image

gidtset 6 years ago

I guess this must be one of the hardest marathons. I prefer to run mine on a flat road.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Gidtset, apparently this is a really tough one!


Aaron Megquier profile image

Aaron Megquier 5 years ago from Belfast, ME

Nice hub and great photos! The Great Wall Marathon is on my wish list, and it was great to see the section where the half marathon is run. It doesn't look like the place to go for a fast time, but the scenery is spectacular. Congrats to your daughter on her achievement a few years ago!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Aaron, she says it was a great experience so definitely something for your wishlist if you are into running!


thushar 5 years ago

awesome


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks Thushar!


againsttheodds profile image

againsttheodds 4 years ago

Wow, never seen this marathon before. It's on my list of things to do if I ever can. Great Photos!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Apparently this marathon is quite the experience!


kjrzeek1 profile image

kjrzeek1 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

That looks awesome! What an experience...Thanks for sharing.

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