Only one week left to go until the start of the 8th Genghis Khan Festival in Xiwuqi, the grassland town 2 hours north of regional city Xilinhot. A record 1200 participants will be taking part in either the 3-day mountainbike stage race or the Grassland Marathon run. Some even do both in an attempt to be crowned King of the Grasslands.
The registration system for this year’s edition already reached its maximum limit at the end of April, which is unprecedented. It proves the continuously growing appeal of the ‘green weekend’ in what remains a remote part of China. Indeed, participants come from all over the Middle Kingdom and quite a number even travel to the event from as far away as California, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England and Thailand. The Genghis Khan MTB Adventure & Grassland Marathon event is now firmly on the map and in the minds of amateur athletes all over the world.
Among the participants this year we find Linus Holmsäter and Wang Lidong, both aiming to repeat their victories of last year. Holmsäter recently finished third in Sweden’s national marathon championship and will logically be the one to beat in the Grassland Marathon. Wang Lidong convincingly captured the King of the Grasslands crown, but finds himself up against a field double as big as twelve months ago. Nearly 80 people will indeed combine the three days of mountainbiking with the full 42.5k marathon run. In the absence of the Mongolian top guns who dominated the past two editions, the MTB competition will see new names on the podium. In Hu Hao China has one of the top favourites. A more detailed preview of the respective competitions will be published next week.
Also on the start list of the Grassland Marathon and for the third year in a row is the team of our charity partner Operation Smile. The team will draw special attention as one of its runners is Blanca Ramirez, an 11-year-old girl from California, who is on a world tour to complete a marathon on every continent within 12 months. Blanca and her accompanying father have chosen the Grassland Marathon as the Asian leg of their tour!
The event also continues to benefit from commercial sponsorships, some brands & companies supporting us for the third year in a row, and increasing international media attention. Several video and photo providers will be present next week, and participants would need to be very unlucky if they were not to be photographed once during the event.
Participants can check their number bib on the provisional start list, as published on these webpages now. Should there be any issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . The number bibs and race bags can be collected in the race office at the Xiwuqi Hotel as of Thursday morning. The office will remain open until late in the evening so no point in queuing should you arrive with lots of other people together.
11-year-old girl Blanca Ramirez aims to complete a marathon run on every continent within 1 year. The Grassland Marathon is her Asian event, following Los Angeles (North America) and Kigali (Africa).