Temperatures are rising, and people’s patience with sitting in the office is dropping. It’s a great time to train for a road race. In China, there are more opportunities to do that these days. Here are some quick hits on recent running events in China:
The Great Wall Marathon (run this year on May 16) is one of the craziest running events in the world. It consists of a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon, each with portions run on the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall, in Tianjin. Those crazy enough to do the marathon face two 3,700-step climbs (and if you’ve never been to the Great Wall, these rugged stairs are nothing like the ones at your nearby football stadium). Times come out to about 150 percent of usual marathon times, says Rebekah Pothaar, who ran the half marathon and wrote about it for Ctrip and ChinaTravel.net. But in her report on the race, she insists that it’s not just grueling, but also an incredible experience.
Li-Ning’s Evening Fun Run (May 2) in Beijing’s Chaoyang Park drew 2,000 runners, mostly university students, according to China Youthology, a marketing firm that helped plan the event. Judging from the video that China Youthology put together, the 6K run attracted a lot of runners who aren’t too serious about training and showed up mostly for the party atmosphere. Participants enjoyed a festival atmosphere, with bands, games, goodie bags and plenty of time to mingle. (The video is really worth watching if you’re an event planner or sports marketer in China).
There’s an interesting thing to note about these two events. The Great Wall Marathon attracts a majority of non-Chinese participants, and the Li-Ning run appears to have consisted almost completely of Chinese runners. It’s not too hard to figure out why. The Great Wall Marathon has an international reputation, and generates a lot of buzz in global English-language media. The Li-Ning event was promoted at universities in (and maybe around) Beijing. But both, on the surface at least, appear to have been successful. Anyone looking at staging road races (or triathlons, or cycling races–even youth basketball tournaments, for that matter) in China, would do well to click on the links above for a better understanding of what fits the market here.
Great Wall Marathon image courtesy of Rebekah Pothaar
Tags: Great Wall Marathon, Li-Ning, Li-Ning Evening Fun Run, marathon, road race, running, sports marketing