Marathoning in China

Perhaps you've run a marathon in the past and are looking for the next one, or you simply want to tackle the challenge of completing the long foot race.  How to make your experience even more exciting? Combine racing with a travel adventure!  It's a wonderful way to experience the culture of your vacation destination by running side by side with local running enthusiasts.  There is no language barrier between you and your fellow endurance athletes, with your feet doing all the communication.

Running a marathon in China is an excellent way to cap off a world tour of the far east.  There are over twenty annual races in China that are professionally organized, and draw international crowds from all over the world.  If you opt for a big city race, you'll see plenty of fellow foreign competitors, but running a local race will give you the most authentic experience of the sport on the ground in China.

Before you go, don't forget a few essential sports supplies .  China doesn't stock a lot of premium sports supplies, like Gu or other energy gels.  Also, be sure to take your own supply of Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm. It can be a real hassle trying to find things you take for granted in your home country when you get on the ground in China, especially if you don't speak Chinese. You don't want to be caught unprepared for the big race day!

Race Schedule:

(UPDATE: Follow this link for the 2013 Chinese marathons schedule)

The 2012 Chinese racing calendar is as follows:

1. Shijiazhuang Marathon Invitational January 1 Shijiazhuang
2. Xiamen International Marathon Classic January 7, Xiamen City
3. Standard Chartered Bank International Marathon February 5th Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
4. Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province Culture & Tourism Half Marathon March 11 Zhenjiang City
5. Chongqing National Marathon Championship (Olympic Trials) March 17 Chongqing City
6. Zhengkai International Marathon April 8 Zhengzhou / Kaifeng City
7. Suzhou Jinji Lake Half International Marathon April 15 in Suzhou City
8. Yangzhou International Half-Marathon Championships April 29, Yangzhou City
9. Dalian International Marathon (2) May 12, Dalian City
10. Yellow River Mouth (Dongying) International Marathon May 13, Dongying City
   ( May 19, the Great Wall Marathon, Tianjin huangyaguan Tianjin Jixian - Not a Chinese organized event)
11. Tianjin International Marathon May 26 Tianjin
12. Wuxi Taihu International Marathon May 27 POSTPONED in Wuxi City
13. Dandong International Marathon May 27, Dandong City
14. Zhangjiakou Half Marathon June 3, Zhangjiakou City
15. Lanzhou International Marathon June 10 in Lanzhou City
16. Inner Mongolia Erdos International Marathon June 30 Ordos City
17. Taiyuan Taiyuan City International Marathon September 2
18. Jilin Dragon International Half Marathon, September 8 and the Dragon City
19. Lhasa International Half Marathon Challenge September 9, Lhasa City
20. Ningxia Yellow Gold Coast International Marathon September 16 Wuzhong
21 . Liupanshui International Marathon September 16 Liupanshui City
22. Hengshui International Marathon, Hengshui City, September 23
23. Guizhou Huangguoshu Half Marathon, September 30, Anshun City
24. Beijing Marathon and the National Marathon Championships October 14, Beijing
25. Guilin Half International Marathon, October 28, Guilin
26. Xi'an International Marathon November 3 Xi'an
27. Hangzhou International Marathon November 4, Hangzhou
28. Guizhou Southeast super one hundred kilometers Challenge November 11-13 in Southeast Guizhou state
29. Guangzhou International Marathon November 17 in Guangzhou City
30. Dali, Yunnan International Marathon November 23, Dali City
31. Shanghai International Marathon December 2, Shanghai
32. Nanning International Half Marathon December 8th Nanning
33. Hainan Dan Island International Marathon 12 15 Danzhou City
34. Zhuhai International Half Marathon Open December 16th, Zhuhai City

Please note that schedules frequently change in China, so be sure to search well for confirmed race times and details on event websites.

Things to Remember

Don't forget that to travel to China you will almost surely need a visa.  Prepare your Chinese tourist visa well in advance by contacting your local Chinese embassy.  The time necessary to process passports and obtain visa documentation can vary considerably, so prepare early!

Also, English isn't widely spoken in all of these Chinese running destinations.  You will probably need some excellent travel planning by a tour guide or travel agent to reach your destinations.  Many of these races don't have English websites, so you will probably need help translating them for race details.  Payment is usually done by bank transfer, which may be a hassle.  But the good news is, most races in China are far cheaper than ones in English speaking countries!

Best of luck running in one of China's marathons!