Genghis Khan Grassland Extreme Marathon: Extreme for a reason

by William Wang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, July 5, 2012
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A group of 290 runners take the first steps of their respective runs. [Photo: Wang]

Aesop's fable about the tortoise and the hare connects with the human psyche in a pure and simple way: everyone understands it. But in fact, if you put an actual tortoise and a hare next to each other at the starting line, only a fool would put money on the tortoise. Slow and steady clearly should not win the race. The unrecognized true lesson of the story is that being a cocky, overconfident punk can lose you the race.

Incidentally, I mentioned this interpretation to a friend as we approached the start line of the 4th Grassland Extreme Marathon, having no clue that at that moment I myself was not unlike the cocky, overconfident hare.

I'd been running pretty consistently for a few years, and had tucked a couple Great Wall marathons under my belt, so obviously trading thousands of stairs for gentle rolling green hills would make a run in Inner Mongolia a piece of cake. This attitude allowed me to slack off my training in new ways which gave me plenty more free time to enjoy DVDs and go on dates.

Friday night, I was on a plane full of runners from around the world. We arrived at Xilinhot airport and disembarked on a 2.5 hour bus ride to the town of Xiwuqi. It was midnight by the time I was in my hotel room, and I decided to skip a late dinner of instant noodles.

At five a.m., I scrambled out of my room to eat a ridiculously large breakfast, hoping that my newfound ability to gluttonously eat before running would stay true. For good measure, I downed a can of cheap coffee while jogging to the starting line.

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