Body & Sports

Run for the Amazing Nanjing Tulou, the fun-filled Hakka Marathon

Updated: 2014-11-05
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Read more on: Hakka Marathon   Nanjing Tulou  
tulou
 
Last month towards the end of October, a selection of the X-Bionic team were invited to test run the planned route of the Hakka Marathon which is being organized for the first time and will take place on Saturday the 15th of November 2014.
 
On Friday the 31st of October 2014, the X-Bionic team was taken to Nanjing in Fujian Province, just a couple of hours away from Xiamen. Getting out of the car, the first thing to hit us was the fresh air. We quickly filled all the rooms in our small guest house and also filled our stomachs with noodle soup Hakka style. You would not dare to call it a hotel, the atmosphere was too familiar. A short walk outside the guest house in the night already gave a hint of the beauty we would be encountering the next day.
 
tulou
 
One of the organizers, a passionate Chinese who is good at all kinds of sports who is also an early bird, he had prepared the breakfast hours before he gave us a wake-up call.
 
Equipped with our X-Bionic running clothes we drove to the designated starting point – a Tulou building, it was 7.30am, and time to start to run. We all stuck together and followed the route in which you could easily get lost. There was always a river next to you connecting all the small villages you pass by. The sun was still hiding behind the mountains. The road was gently going up and down which was free from any obstacle, this enabled you to freely look around, enjoying the surroundings.
 
tulou
 
The support vehicle was following us, and would stop to offer us drinks and food if needed. Two motorbikes were leading. The group was divided in two small groups. With the different running speeds, if uncontrolled, the gap between the two groups would have got too big when we reached the destination after 42km run. So, during the run, the first group would have to wait for the second group from time to time to catch up.
 
tulou
 
tulou
 
After the first 21km of running, the conditions changed. We left the road and ran on a narrowed and unpaved path. At this point, the thought of coming here with a bike came into my mind again. The scenery was marvelous. But the path was trickier because it was filled with small stones. Though your feet were thankful for the softer ground, they were afraid of getting twisted.
 
tulou
 
tulou
 
You looked and checked the ground that you ran in order not to fall over. Occasionally, you forced yourself to look up and look around so as to note the beautiful sceneries around you. However, the best way see the beauty of the land was by simply stopping but you wouldn’t want to do so because you were running a Marathon.
 
tulou
 
tulou
 
After a while we reached a village by crossing the river on stones that were laid out. The village is a main interest for tourist groups. We returned back to civilization by a cobble stone path. My feet were sending warning signals to not take the risk, considering the additional pressure to my shoes. Slowing down was recommended and our speed fluctuated more and more.
 
tulou
 
We took the opportunity to sit down for a minute next to some old people who were making music with traditional instruments. Passing through this small village took us longer than expected because the designated route kept us imprisoned inside going back and forth and we even got lost for a moment. Once, we also had to share a small pebble stone path way with a group of tourists.
 
tulou
 
It was time to take a short break. We replenished our bodies with salted water, energy drinks, and special bananas called “mijiao”. We were ready to continue, however, we might not have been ready to complete the last ten kilometers of our journey. Nobody had a clue what upcoming task we had to master.
 
tulou
 
tulou
 
The course was planned as a round trip. In order to run back to the starting point we had to run over the mountain. We were going up, up, up, on a small road just wide enough for our support motorbike to lead the way. Needless to say, we were rewarded with wonderful views. But the more we went up, the more I was afraid of the other side when going down. Yes, it was quite a descent on a road made by concrete. Just have a look on the graphic and you might be able to imagine how it felt.
 
tulou
 
tulou
 
Our final steps brought us to several Tulou buildings again before we reached the finish line. One Chinese teammate and I shared second place. He gave me a lot of moral support for the last part. We are proud to say that all nine team members reached the finishline.
 
This was just a test run, so in the same evening we met with the organizers to share our opinions of the course. With our feedback they will make sure that everything, and everyone, will run smoothly. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this event.
 
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Perhaps some readers of this article might get the opinion that it is a bad idea to join this Marathon. It certainly is - with the wrong approach. If your goal is to finish the 42km as fast as possible, no matter what, then you should consider participating somewhere else.
 
For a trained runner who wants to escape the buzzing city for some time, enjoy nature, and delve into the China of the past, this is a great trip.
 
tulou
 
Grab your camera or just save every view in your memory when you go into any of the small villages. You will encounter tourists occasionally, but they typically do not stay overnight.
 
If you do not feel ready for the whole run, you can join the 21km or 8km run.
tulou
 
For more information, questions, contact information, you can add my WeChat: bakedinchina.
 
SOURCE: Hakka Tulou people
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Comments Area ( Total Comments: 1 )
fritz commented on 06 Nov 2014
This article was edited poorly and put here without my permission. It is not true that we went there on the 31th. Who is responsible for this?