It has been 16 years since our first event in the grasslands of Xiwuqi (West Ujimqin), 2 hours north of Xilinhot. The event was called the Genghis Khan Festival and became a cult event that was even heralded by CNN as ‘one of the ten best mass sports events in China’. Now in 2023, for the first time since 2019 and the corona crisis, we are inviting everyone again to return to the sea of green for the new Xiwuqi King of the Grasslands Challenge on the weekend of 1/2 July.
The event has a totally new concept and race design compared to before. The emphasis now lies on distance running and road cycling, and the combination of those in the King of the Grasslands competition (KOG).
In a nutshell, the KOG event begins on Saturday morning, 1 July with the Grassland 50 run, followed in the afternoon by the Route 99 Individual Time Trial of 30 km ‘Through the Grasslands’. Finally, on Sunday morning, there’s Cyclo Xiwuqi – a 112km long mass start cycling race around the area on mainly brand new concrete roads through the grasslands. That’s the KOG.
Less ambitious participants can also choose to run the Grassland 22km and Grassland Fun Run of 11 km, or the Grassland 47km MTB. Please note that – contrary to the past – the running races are almost entirely on road. The longest one of 50 km, however, does have a significant off-road part (approx 40-45%) in the second half of the race. People who have taken part in the GKF event before, will recognise some of these sections. Off-road means gravel, earth and grass paths and jeep tracks. The 47km MTB bike race largely follows the Grassland 50 course and therefore also has a lot of road in it, but the off-road part is off-limits for road bikes, hence it’s MTB-only.
You can check course details and competition regulations on this website in the relevant sections.
Rest assured you will be amazed by the scenery during the new event weekend. Cyclists will cut through the grassland during the inaugural time trial on route 99, a brand new tarmac road that has been laid to bring tourists from the Xilinhot highway to the famous Mongolian Yurt Camp. A fast course for setting top speeds! The next day’s Cyclo Xiwuqi goes all around the town and goes further than ever before. It’s basically as flat as a pancake, so accessible for riders of all levels. Of course, be aware of the necessary cut-off times, especially should it be a windy day. No wind protection in the grasslands!
For the first time, the award ceremonies afterwards will also feature 40+ and 50+ age groups for the KOG competition.
In addition to the event, Xiwuqi has many surprises waiting for you to explore and discover.
- Hometown of Mongolian Changdiao
- Capital of ethnic costumes
- Source of nomadic culture
Registration opens on Monday, 22 May at 13:00, on May 22nd , 2023 –At 24:00,on June 25th , 2023 ( Registration will close when the quota is full )