Runner sizes up Great Wall Race includes 5500 stair steps

03:42, Apr 30 2014
Southland Times photo
Wanaka mountain running legend Andrew Town has been running 80km a week to train for the Great Wall of China Marathon.

Wanaka mountain running legend Andrew Town is preparing for the run of a lifetime along the Great Wall of China.

The 51-year-old is getting set to embark with 65 other New Zealanders to compete the Great Wall of China Marathon which kicks off at Huangyaguan on May 17.

"I'm getting excited. I'm about to do one of the most unique and fascinating events in the world," Town said.

The marathon has appeared in the Forbes "Top 10 Marathons Worth Travelling For" list and has held the number one position of the "Coolest Marathons in the World".

It includes running 5500 steps and both on the wall and in difficult steep terrain off it.

"It's tough off-road stuff," Town said. There would be 2500 people taking part.


Town said his goal was to finish in about four hours, which would likely put him in the top 50 racers and in medal contention in the 50 to 55 years age group.

Last year New Zealander Jonathan Wyatt was a tied winner of the marathon in a record breaking time of three hours and nine minutes.

Because the terrain was more challenging, it usually took runners about an hour longer to finish compared to a road marathon, Town said.

Town held the Luxmore Grunt record for 14 years between 1992 and 2005, held the Avalanche Peak record and has placed third and sixth in the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships.


The Southland Times