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Singapore runners. Handy guide to the Great Wall Marathon

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The Great Wall is one of the all-new Seven Wonders of the World. Given the opportunity to run on it, why wouldn’t you reach for your trainers?

This is a dramatic event, because of the number of people and the challenge of the wall itself!

Around 2,500 runners take part from more than 60 countries and with Beijing a convenient plane trip from Singapore this race should be on your running calendar.

The speedy team at Budget Direct Insurance has everything you need to know to get involved:


Marathon of 41.195km, a half marathon of 21.1km and an 8.5km non-competitive Fun Run. 

The run

Dating back over 2,000 years the Great Wall is one of the most amazing places to take part in a run. It’s billed on the website as one of the world’s toughest marathons and by the 5,164th step you may be starting to agree! 

All distances start and finish in the Yin and Yang Square at the fortress at the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall, Tianjin. 

The marathon route comprises two main sections; the first covers approximately 9 kilometres and takes all runners, irrespective of their chosen distance, to and over the Great Wall. 

This part of the course is marked by steep ascents and descents of up to 10%. It consists of thousands of uneven steps, some of which are up to 1.5 feet tall. 

Easy does it when going up and down the mountain, as well as steepest parts of The Great Wall. Full marathoners will complete this section of the course twice; all other runners will traverse it once. 

The second section of the course, taking runners through picturesque villages and rice fields, is run on flat asphalt and gravel roads. 

If you start to feel you can’t run any longer, friendly locals will keep you going by cheering while their the children offer an encouraging ‘high 5’. 


This is a popular race and early registration is recommended. The Great Wall Marathon is run by Albatross Adventure Marathons, the same company behind the Bagan Temple Marathon.

The race and accommodation must be booked through the tour company.


Cold at first as you arrive before the sun rises above Beijing city. It’s hot and humid as the day wears on. 

Who can take part?

You must be over 18 to take part in the full marathon, half marathon runners must be 16 years, 10km runners must be at least 12 years old on the race day. Runners under the age of 12 can complete in the Fun Run but must be accompanied by a runner aged 16 or above.

Next run

Third Saturday of May every year.

Travel from Singapore

Several flights a day to Beijing, flight time around six hours.

If you’re a serious runner, or you just like to challenge yourself, why not take part in one of Asia’s great runs? Go for it! Next up, our handy guide to the Bagan Temple Run.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good travel cover.
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