Great Wall of China event conquered
If you ever thought a normal marathon was tough, try running 42km in temperatures between 36 and 38 degrees, 65 per cent humidity and 5164 stairs.
Kerikeri woman Tracy Mackey did just that, completing the gruelling Great Wall Marathon in China in May in a time of seven hours and 50 minutes. Mackey says the event was the hardest thing she’s ever done.
‘‘Usually a marathon would take me about four hours. I went through 10 helpings of enduryltes (pure electrolytes); in a normal race I’d go through two.
‘‘The heat was so intense, it was too hot to run, so you would walk as fast as you could, or run 10 paces, then walk 10 paces. I was weaving my way through people who had collapsed from the heat.’’
To complete the race and record an official time, participants needed to make it to the 34km point in six hours and complete the entire race in eight hours.
With 176 New Zealanders
‘‘The heat was so intense...I was weaving my way through people who had collapsed from the heat.’’
taking part in the event from throughout the country, a haka was performed before the event began.
Mackey led a group of 23 others - who completed the half marathon and eight kilometre events which she had trained via her company Blast Fitness and Events.
The majority of the group from Kerikeri and the surrounding Bay of Islands areas had been training for two years, completing group sessions every Sunday, climbing stairs at Mahinepua and Opito Bay as well as completing the Wild Kiwi and other events.
Kerikeri woman Megan McCracken completed the half marathon at the Great Wall of China.
She says she was inspired to get fit a couple of years ago, after losing a number of people close to her.
‘‘Even on the wall, in 36 degree heat, it was quite inspirational to think about those people and be doing something they weren’t able to do. That was quite a big deal for me.’’
Mackey says it was special to be cheered on by her group as she crossed the finish line.
‘‘It was the most amazing experience to cross.’’
❚ Got an inspiring story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bay of Islands Group in China following the running event.
The Great Wall of China provided a challenging location for a marathon.