My husband had always wanted to run on the Great Wall of China. He jumped at the chance to join a tour group that would take us to see all of the sights in Bejing and give us a day at the Great Wall to fulfill his dream.
We lucked out! A rare, sunny day greeted us at and we were able to see the Great Wall for miles. And yes, my husband got to enjoy his epic run. Anyone who has been to the Great Wall knows that is not an easy task. The Wall follows the contours of the hilly country side and goes up and down, in what is sometimes steep. Not only that, the Wall has not been repaired in all spots so you can’t go on a continuous run. Don’t even think about getting off the Wall and running through the hills. He tried that and was rebuked soundly by a Chinese guard.
For those wanting to actually run on the Great Wall, you have to push through the crowds first. Near the main entrance is the most crowded. Very few will venture very far. The walk or run is steep in many places. The masses usually don’t want to venture very far. In fact, most of our tour group climbed to the top of the wall, took pictures and went strolled around the tourist shops below. While I didn’t venture as far as my husband, I still pushed passed some of the crowds and got some great photos.
The steep staircase climbs seem daunting but they were worth the climb. I don’t like crowds and all of the tourist sites in China are very crowded.
The more we climbed, the further from the crowds we got.
|My son upon seeing what he had to run.|
With the air in nearby Beijing so dirty, I was pleasantly surprised to have clear air and a spectacular view of the miles upon miles of mountains. We could see more of the Great Wall than we had time to run. Part of the Wall are inacessable to the public anyway because of the lack of repairs. It is amazing how well the wall has held up considering how old it is.
My youngest son got to see what it feels like to be a rock star for a day. With his light brown hair, white skin and age, the Chinese flocked around him and stared at him. Many pushed their children toward him to take photos of them together, all while trying to be discreet or polite. It was all I could do to get my own family photo with him.
The only thing I could recommend bringing with you is a bottle of water, especially if you’re going to walk or run a good portion. For those who love to shop, bring a money belt or a bit of cash in your pocket.