The whole Adventure Marathon team and all the runners here in Beijing are counting the hours till Saturday 8 a.m. - the start of The Great Wall Marathon. Today was Route Inspection Day, many runners' first meeting with the wall's 5164 steps.
In blazing sunshine all runners and spectators met at the yin-yang square right below the steps of the Wall for a quick peptalk. Then everybody was taken by bus along a short section of the marathon route - a 5 km long hill winding all the way up to where the really funny business begins. The first steps on The Great Wall were taken, while cries of admiration over the spectacular views were let out and cameras were clicking away. The pulse went up as the world's toughest runners encountered just a hint of what awaits them on Saturday.
After a couple of hours of climbing the steep and rugged steps, the runners were - if possible - even more excited than before hitting the Wall. Some people even decided to upgrade from the half to the full marathon, and a lot of spectators decided to run too. So now the field of runners consists of more than 1700 excited and courageous runners.
Noe we are just waiting for that start gun to go off.