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Gao wins women's 'super-race' while Han prevails on men's side

Reporter: Damion Jones 丨 CCTV.com

10-17-2016 15:53 BJT

Running for yesterday's second edition of the Great Wall Marathon was held in Beijing. Over 1,000 people would push their limits, while enjoying the sights along the the more than 45 kilometers that made up the super-marathon category. And to help encourage the competitors, several of China's most famous sporting champions would make appearances, to cheer the runners who tackled the treacherous route around Mutianyu.

Gao wins women

Gao wins women's 'super-race' while Han prevails on men's side

The 2016 edition of the Great Wall Marathon attracted a diverse range of athletes from 14 countries around the world, and those runners would be treated to a unique dose of Chinese culture while competing. Zhang Mengxue, who won the women's 10 meter air pistol for China's first gold medal at the Rio Summer Olympics, was on hand to help kick off the festivities.

"I think the Marathon is the best way to explain the spirit of sports as athletes must persist through tremendous mental and physical strain to complete it. I hope every runner can persist until the end," said Zhang Mengxue.

To motivate the participants even more, Liu Shasha, the first Chinese woman to win the 9-Ball World Championship, would lead the athletes for a short distance.

"I haven't attended a marathon before, but it has great meaning for me. I hope more and more people could join in and pay attention to this energetic competition, to interact with each other and improve their health," said Liu Shasha.

Along with the multitude of Chinese runners, several foreign athletes also joined the competition. Michael, for example, made the trip from Denmark to Beijing for the opportunity of participating in a marathon along such a historic landmark.

"I've been dreaming on the Great Wall for a long time, but it seems the race is been changing a lot all the past few days so I'm very eager to see how what it likes now," said Michael.

The route was adjusted this year as well -- and in addition to the mini, half, and full marathons -- the super version included an additional three kilometers of uphill terrain, for a total distance of 45.195 kilometers. The race started in the Jiugukou Natural District, and ended in front of the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall. The women's event was won by China's Gao Meng, while her friend and compatriot, Han Shunyuan prevailed on the men's side.

"I felt good after the first 43 kilometers, but the final 2 kilometers were really exhausting, as the increasing slope made it very difficult. But I felt so cool when I finished it."

"If I have time in the future, I would do this marathon again," said Gao Meng.

"I was in the leading group after about 30 kilometers, but I'm good at climbing so I was able to push ahead, and finally finished in first place."

"I will certainly come to this marathon next year," said men's super marathon winner Han Shunyuan.

With the Great Wall Marathon taking place at one of the most famous structures on the planet, it is able to attract running enthusiasts from across China, and around the globe. And with the organizers committed to improving the competition, they are confident this event will become a regular fixture on the country's annual sporting calendar.

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