I’m writing this a bit tired on my couch. Today I ran my fourth half marathon, not in Shanghai, not in Seoul but in Yangzhou. About two months ago, Marc mentioned the Yangzhou marathon. One month later, we subscribed together with Marc’s father. And yesterday we drove off. We headed out one day in advance because Yangxhou is a stunning 300km from Shanghai. That’s at least 4 to 5 hours depending on the traffic james.
Whilst I had never heard about Yangzhou before the marathon, its a (moderate Chinese) city with 4.5 million inhabitants. Arriving in the city, we noticed that everything is brand new. Everything, except some old artifacts in the center was less then 10 years old. Most of this city was demolished and rebuild to scale with wide roads and huge buildings everywhere. With some decorative lights around the rivers, it’s seems like quite a nice place.
Our hotel is right in the center of yangzhou. We checked in around dinner time but immediately left again to subscribe for the marathon. The subscription was quite well arranged, English speaking workers/volunteers that kindly helped us. Here is a big advantage to run in a smaller city: less queues and much better mood. We decided to take a long walk back to the hotel and look around. Interestingly, besides the check in – we didn’t see anything marathon related. Back at the hotel, we had a ‘Italian party’ (In the west, the night before the marathon you would usually eat pasta) at the restaurant, which wasn’t related to the marathon but we got to eat tasty pasta for the protein we needed for the next day. In the morning I got up early to eat my breakfast and meet the team. We drove away to the start and were amazed how lively the city already was at 6:30 in the morning. Suddenly, the whole city was breathing the marathon.
Whilst we couldn’t’ discover anything the night before, in the morning the whole track was build up. not only that, when we arrived at the start-line, we were amazed by the amount of people cheering. Thousands of people were chanting ‘fighting!’ all along the course. They put the foreigners (not many, mostly Kenyans who would run at about double my speed) at the start of the track. This was the first time I ha
d such a great start location. We were supposed to start at 8 but we had to wait a little bit because we were broadcasted on the Chinese national tv. (CCTV 5) We realized the race was advertised as the national half marathon championship. The crowd counted down and we were off! It was a very fast track, but most of all, it was a track that lead us though green area’s, beautiful sceneries and touristic locations.
Looking back I have to say the marathon was very well organized, the vast amount of cheerful people at the lines kept me going! I didn’t ran a new record but really enjoyed this race. I can recommend it!