Great Wall Marathon
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/
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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.