A friend of mine and I recently ran the Dalian Half-Marathon together. He went with his whole family, and I went with one of my daughters (age 10). It was the first half-marathon for both of us, and we had a great time. Despite underestimating the time it would take to get to the starting line by train, we arrived about 5 minutes before the start. We had RFID tags laced into our shoes that monitored when we crossed the start, halfway, and finish. The course was well laid out, and there were more than enough water stations. There were a number of gentle, long hills – despite what I thought I knew about physics, the course seemed to have more uphills than downhills. The view of the crowd of runners ahead of us at the first hill was amazing! I don’t know how many runners there were, but it was certainly in the thousands.
There were a surprising number of people who turned out just to cheer everyone. As foreigners, my friend and I had lots of adoring fans. Lesson learned: giving “high fives” to the crowd generates loud cheers, but can start to block the course as people move forward to reach the runners…
About 3/4 of the way, we were passed by the first wheelchair racer – who was doing the full marathon! He had traveled more than twice as far as I had, using only his arms. He had a 10-minute head start, though. Yeah, that was it.
My final time was 1 hour, 48 minutes. My only complaint about the race was the amount of time it took to get a certificate and medal at the end of the race. I plan to go back next year, maybe for the full marathon!