Overall Rating
Overall Rating (7 Reviews)
4.6
(7 Ratings)(7 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
5
SCENERY
4.9
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
3.1
5,164 steps into history! Since its inception in 1999, the Great Wall Marathon has become revered as one of the world’s most challenging marathons. Run the most demanding marathon of your life along one of mankind’s greatest monuments. Since the inaugural Great Wall Marathon in 1999, the field has grown … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Truly iconic and challenging. Once in a lifetime experience. Not a course for any sort of good finish time, but scenery, location, and support of the local villagers made it … MORE

    Truly iconic and challenging. Once in a lifetime experience. Not a course for any sort of good finish time, but scenery, location, and support of the local villagers made it a wonderful experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    This was a really tough race but amazing to have done! Getting to run on the Great Wall was something to never forget; the first mile takes you up a … MORE

    This was a really tough race but amazing to have done! Getting to run on the Great Wall was something to never forget; the first mile takes you up a mountain and then when you get to the top you get to climb up on the wall to one of it’s tallest peaks and down again. By the time you finish that you think: I’ve run at least half the race already, but no, only 4 miles! The rest of the course keeps you on street level and you run through a local country/mountain village. You really get to see the local people and experience a race like none other.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    M_Sohaskey Mar 22, 2017 at 3:26pm

    You had me at "Toughest race of my life"! Sounds like a quad and calf burner for sure, this one's definitely near the top of my must-run list. Congrats on getting it done Erik, and thanks for letting me live vicariously through you! :)

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    gdavis68 Oct 08, 2017 at 6:05pm

    Congrats, Eric! Were you able to find any other information specifically about the trip other than on the main site? I've tried contacting the promoters several times but haven't heard back. Just curious about your experience.

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    I've done Antarctica, and I didn't think another race could be so tough. I stand corrected. This race was unbelievably tough but by far the most amazing experience I've ever … MORE

    I’ve done Antarctica, and I didn’t think another race could be so tough. I stand corrected. This race was unbelievably tough but by far the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. Just when you think you’re done climbing stairs, there’s more. And more. And more. It will test everything you have, but crossing that finish line has never been sweeter. The event is very well organized with safety a priority, and the people in the nearby village will have you smiling the entire time. Well worth the training, the money, the travel . . . everything.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    martinevans007 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Breathtaking scenery on the Wall and in the villages, great camaraderie with other runners, light on aid/drink stations - the steps are real and well known, but the heat during … MORE

    Breathtaking scenery on the Wall and in the villages, great camaraderie with other runners, light on aid/drink stations – the steps are real and well known, but the heat during our run was brutal and far more impactful (cool start but heats up quickly to mid-80’s). Would definitely do it again and recommend it to others (but eyes wide open).

    Some additional thoughts:
    – first KM is easy, but then uphill to wall and the undulating hills of The Wall is a rough start-up.
    – the heat took it’s toll on people and the aid stations/water breaks were a little sparse on the marathon loop after the half-marathoners cut off – carry a bottle (even the cheap disposable kind) from station to station so you don’t get nailed while out there. Consider dry packs of gatorade or equivalent to carry with you to mix with water in case you need an electrolyte boost and there is none at the station. Also, bring cash with you in case you need to pop in a store and buy a water or something
    – the 6-hour cut-off is no joke for the last wall section – they shut it off hard and have a ‘sweeper’ coming along behind (for safety of the runners).
    – passed 5 people on the last wall section in various stages of distress and all laid out on the ground – one was already stretchered, IV’ed and being carried off. The medical staff was excellent and provided by the Danish organizing company with multi-lingual doctors, but the heat is so intense after so many hours it just overwhelms many. Sobering running past runners in various stages of distress that were being attended to….consider the heat in your training plans as much as the steps (if you’ve struggled with heat runs before – that’s certainly my case).
    – the camaraderie amongst the runners and the fans that came out was beautiful

    Overall, an incredibly intense, difficult, and hugely satisfying run that should be on any runners short list of destination runs looking for a complete experience. Humbled to run it.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '15

    The course is a tough, challenging course. The first 5 miles and the final 5 miles are tough, although the miles in between are not so bad. It can tend … MORE

    The course is a tough, challenging course. The first 5 miles and the final 5 miles are tough, although the miles in between are not so bad. It can tend to be a little warm, a little humid, a little crowded early on, but the crowds disperse quickly, the heat and humidity are tolerable, the people along the course are appreciative, the views are spectacular, and oh yeah, YOU GET TO RUN ON THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!! The tour associated with the marathon may have been even tougher. Although the organizers do a great job trying to get you around your chosen cities, one realizes too late that you spend a LOT of time on the bus. The food is the same almost every meal. If you enjoy Chinese food (I do, a lot), then you are going to be happy.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    jrohlede REPEAT RUNNER '15

    Ran the full here in 2008 and did the half this year in 2015. So will do the full review. First of all it is one of the great running … MORE

    Ran the full here in 2008 and did the half this year in 2015. So will do the full review. First of all it is one of the great running venues in the world. And the course does not disappoint. From the first 3 miles straight up hill to the wall followed by 3 miles on the wall then out in the country to climb a mountain at mile 13 then back to the wall at mile 21 and 1200 steps straight up to the final 2 miles on the wall then 3 miles of downhill hell to the finish in Yen / Yang square.
    It is constantly rated as one of the top 3 most difficult in the world and it lives up to it’s billing. If you are a casual marathoner or have just run mainly flat marathons this may not be the marathon for you. Not unusual to see many people throwing up or crawling on there hands and knees on the steps on the back half of the wall. I know because I was one of the crawlers. There is an 8 hour time limit strictly enforced. The time guidelines for the marathon is take your normal marathon time divide by 2 and add it to your normal time. Example – normal marathon time = 4 hours / 2 = 2 hours = total of 6 hours. About 20% of the starters for this marathon do not finish or are stopped for time. The trip to China is long and great and the run is unbelievably cool but just be aware of what lies before you.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Gruma FIRST-TIMER '12

    I’m not a mountain runner. This race is not what I am good at. I am better at flat. I am also not made for heat. In fact, this race … MORE

    I’m not a mountain runner. This race is not what I am good at. I am better at flat. I am also not made for heat. In fact, this race combined everything I am NOT good at, but I would do it again in a heart beat.

    Training Tips:
    Do stairs. Then do more stairs.
    Run in temperatures that make you feel like you are being melted

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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