This year’s redesign of the Xiwuqi event also affects the runners, but the new version gives participants a taste of what it is like to go beyond the standard marathon distance. The run is as pure as it gets: relatively flat with just some minor bumps, but magnificent scenery all the way in cool summer temperatures at nearly 1000m altitude on a Saturday morning. The Grassland 50, part of our King of the Grassland Challenge, also gets more and more interesting as the race progresses. The first odd-24k are nearly entirely on road with grasslands views on your left & right leading to the meanwhile famous Mongolian Yurt camp (finish venue of the 22km running race and the cycling TT in the afternoon), and then you actually run inside the grassland. Offroad on jeep trails at first, on pure earth and grass trails after. To keep things easy, you finish where you started at the Culture Square in Xiwuqi town after 50km – which many would already a call a “ultra run distance”. In any case, 50k is a recognised distance by the International Association of Ultrarunning (IAU). If you have never gone beyond the marathon, the Xiwuqi Grassland 50 is a unique chance. It’s running pure, without the heaps of elevation gain that characterises so many ultra races to the extent they are more hiking than running events.
As always, we also cater for the less ambitious. There’s a 22k race option to the Mongolian Yurt Camp, and there’s also a 11k fun run that goes around the Nadamu Square, the main festival square in Xiwuqi, the gateway to the grasslands.