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.’’

Tracy Mackey

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 jenny.ling@fair­fax­me­

The Bay of Is­lands Group in China fol­low­ing the run­ning event.

The Great Wall of China pro­vided a chal­leng­ing lo­ca­tion for a marathon.

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