China is in the midst of an outdoor sports boom. The amount of people exercising, and specifically running, is growing exponentially. A country that 20 years ago had only a handful of distance running competitions now hosts at least 100 annually. Jumping into this ever-increasing tumult of marathons and ultra races is the 2016 China-ASEAN Mountain Marathon, which will be held November 6 in Guangxi province.
The event is actually three separate races, a full, half and mini marathon across the gentle slopes of Ma Mountain (马山) on the northern outskirts of Guangxi's capital, Nanning. Registration is currently open to foreigners only, and the first 20 to sign up will receive free roundtrip airfare from Kunming to Nanning, as well as free room and board provided by event organizer Guangxi China Olympic Sports Culture Development Company (广西华奥体育文化发展有限公司).
2016 China-ASEAN Mountain Marathon details
All three courses criss-cross the mountain and pass through bamboo forests, over low ridge lines and through small villages. The total purse for the three races totals 150,000 yuan, with the top 12 male and female finishers of the full marathon receiving prizes ranging from 1,000-12,000 yuan. The same holds true with the half-marathon, although cash awards are slightly lower, ranging from 400-4,000 yuan.
The full marathon covers 42 kilometers and has a total elevation gain of 1,200 meters. Nine supply stations dot the course, which traverses tarmac, gravel roads and mountain trails. Participation in the full marathon has been capped at 300 people.
The half-marathon is 21 kilometers long with a total elevation gain of 520 meters. Five supply stations will be set up as the course winds its way predominately over paved and gravel roads. As with the full marathon, the half-distance race will feature no more than 300 runners.
The mini marathon fun-run covers eight kilometers and also features roughly 500 meters of total elevation gain and two supply stations. Although the winners of this race are not eligible for cash prizes, the top finishers will be awarded medals. No more than 400 people are allowed to participate in the fun run.
Foreigners wishing to participate must have a valid passport with a current visa. Additionally, competitors must be able to prove they are in good health. Race organizers request but do not require all participants to undergo an ECG, blood pressure test and blood glucose analysis before participating in any long-distance competition.
Racers must be between 18 and 60 years old at the time of the event. If you think you have what it takes, call Yang Xiaofeng (杨晓峰) — who speaks both English and Chinese — at 15887846846 to register. More details and information are available, in Chinese, at the official 2016 China-ASEAN Mountain Marathon website. Also, if you would like to register online while signing-up for future updates regarding similar sporting events and contests in Yunnan and southwest China, please fill out the attached form located just above the Related Articles section.
Images: 2016 China-ASEAN Mountain Marathon