Shanghai Running Magazine volume 1, Q1 2014 - Page 21

Race Review Shanghai Running, We Run Shanghai Hangzhou Mountain Marathon: By James Mcleod Runners in China who love hills and technical trails have the opportunity each Spring and Fall to participate in the Hangzhou Mountain Marathon; 42 kilometres of wild trail on the mountains 20 minutes from the City of Hangzhou and an hour from Shanghai by fast train. This year 50 intrepid runners started the Trail at the Shangri-La Hotel on West Lake and wound their way towards the National Park and up in to the hills. The last finishers ( myself and my partner Louise) arrived back at the Shangri-La 10 hours and 28 minutes after we had begun. We were two of approximately half the field who had completed the full distance. We had lost the light 2 hours before our return but were luckily far enough along the trail to know the course and finish by torchlight. Darkness falls very suddenly out on the high peaks, so remember never to attempt the full race without a fully charged torch and cellphone. If you get in to trouble up there, there is no one around to come and help you. What are the fun aspects of this particular trail? There is 5200 metres of ascent/ descent. Your legs get an excellent workout. About 60% of the trail is dirt and very steep both up and down. If you are comfortable on technical trail, you will love this race and come in with a good time. The fast athletes can compete the latest course in around 6 and a half hours whilst the average runners amongst us will be looking at anything between 8 and 10 hours. The circuit is almost all in National Park land. There are bamboo forests, tea plantations, Monasteries, pagodas and fabulous views down over the lake and the river. There are no official water stops so it is essential to bring an aqualung with a 3 litre capacity. You can buy water at various small villages, so remember to always stock up when you can. The locals are all very friendly and seem to find the novelty of predominantly foreign runners limping through their villages as being something quite amusing. It is interesting how one feels the next day after this race. Despite it taking Louise and I over 10 hours to finish and she was the only woman to complete the distance, we felt fresh and energized and there was an absence of any stiffness. The extreme ascents and descents seem to have the result of stretching the body in a way that mitigates the effects of most of the lactic acid. The people who take on this run are invariably friendly and this creates a fabulous atmosphere out on the mountain and at the pre race briefing and post race get-together in the bar at the Shangri-la. If you want details of the race, contact your friends at Shanghai Running. Next Hangzhou Mountain Marathon is on April 12th. Check out the website The last 4 kilometres are run over the causeway of West Lake. During the day, the Causeway is pretty horrendous as it is a major tourist spot in the region. This makes for a boring finish as you dodge people, mopeds and vans coming at you from all directions. However if you come in after dark like we did, it is terrific. There is enough artificial light and a general absence of people to truly enjoy the wonders of the lake and surrounding vistas. Copyright Shanghai Running 2013. 21