Straight but hypnotic (about: 2013)|
M. S. from Shanghai, China (12/7/13)
11-50 previous marathons
| 1 China Zhengkai International Marathon
I've run 10+ marathons in China and this was by far my favorite. Yes, it's a 42km straight line on a highway from 15km outside of Zhengzhou to the ancient capital of Kaifeng, but it really wasn't as bad as that sounds. There were lots of runners and there was just something hypnotic about settling into a pace and aiming for the horizon. When I ran, there were so many villagers lining the course - and the number of kids who wanted high-fives was hard to believe; the first time I've had sore hands at the end of a race. It was generally flat, with some undulating hills, but all in all a course that was easy on the legs. When I arrived in Kaifeng for the last several km, the streets were lined with spectators, and, as one of the few foreigners to run the race, I was pulled along with a wave of cheers. At the end, there was a 1-to-1 volunteer group to walk you to the rest area to pick up your bag - very efficient - and get your medal. The only mistake I made was to stay in Zhengzhou beforehand, as you have to take a bus back to the city, which is about 55km from Kaifeng. That was the last thing I wanted to do after a run like that. Better solution is to stay in Kaifeng and take a taxi to the start in the morning. For China, a very enthusiastic thumbs-up to the organizers.