July 12, 2013
Inner Mongolia’s Weird and Wonderful Genghis Khan Marathon

These days if you don’t host a marathon, you’re not on the map. Disney World, New Orleans, and South Africa — among countless other places — have the event. Even Antarctica, which doesn’t even have full-time residents, has one. And why not? Marathons are a way to attract tourism and spread a bit of publicity.
China is no stranger to marathon fever. Consider the Genghis Khan MTB Adventure & Grassland Extreme Marathon 2013 which, for the town of Xiwuqi in China’s Inner Mongolia, is like a combination of the Rose Bowl, Christmas, and the Fourth of July. The 700 runners and bikers who descend on this town of 60,000 people (a village by Chinese standards) are treated like Martians or maybe African princes — people gape, surreptitiously take photos, wave, and generally act as if Nicole Kidman or Robert DeNiro just happened to be wandering around.
Much like the public relations genius who convinced tourists to visit frigid and polluted Harbin in winter to see electric-kool-aid-colored ice sculptures, someone had the clever idea to monetize Inner Mongolia’s rolling grasslands by bringing avid athletes to town. 
Read more. [Image: Debra Bruno]

Inner Mongolia’s Weird and Wonderful Genghis Khan Marathon

These days if you don’t host a marathon, you’re not on the map. Disney World, New Orleans, and South Africa — among countless other places — have the event. Even Antarctica, which doesn’t even have full-time residents, has one. And why not? Marathons are a way to attract tourism and spread a bit of publicity.

China is no stranger to marathon fever. Consider the Genghis Khan MTB Adventure & Grassland Extreme Marathon 2013 which, for the town of Xiwuqi in China’s Inner Mongolia, is like a combination of the Rose Bowl, Christmas, and the Fourth of July. The 700 runners and bikers who descend on this town of 60,000 people (a village by Chinese standards) are treated like Martians or maybe African princes — people gape, surreptitiously take photos, wave, and generally act as if Nicole Kidman or Robert DeNiro just happened to be wandering around.

Much like the public relations genius who convinced tourists to visit frigid and polluted Harbin in winter to see electric-kool-aid-colored ice sculptures, someone had the clever idea to monetize Inner Mongolia’s rolling grasslands by bringing avid athletes to town.

Read more. [Image: Debra Bruno]

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