Like all Albatros Adventure Marathons, The Great Wall Marathon is designed to be more than just a race. It's also about enjoying time together with family, friends and other running-minded spirits. Spectators welcome!
In order to register for The Great Wall Marathon, you must sign up for one of the tour packages.
Looking for extra awe and adventure? Add excursions or an extension to your package for the ultimate China experience.
The Great Wall Marathon is more than just a marathon - it's a journey through China! While it’s hard to top the post-race exhilaration of a Great Wall Marathon finish, we’re certain these immersive add-ons are the perfect complement to your experience. You can see top sites or visit the lesser-traveled areas, get to know the country, and interact with the local cultures. Live it up!
Here you will find all the important practical information about the race, such as rules and regulations, training, timing, race day support, clothing, weather and more. If you don’t find the answer you’re seeking, feel free to contact us with your question.
Information is arranged in alphabetical order.
Light-colored clothing, short-sleeve technical shirts are a good choice as they do not absorb sweat (like cotton, which remains wet), sun block is highly recommended (use SPF30 or above), a running hat with visor is also advisable as it can help keep the sun out of your eyes.
The cut-off time for all distance events is 8 hours. All runners with a net finishing time slower than 8 hours will receive a FNT (Finished No Time) on the result list.
At 14:00 (6 hours after the last runner in wave 4 has crossed the start line) the gate leading to the wall will be closed. Marathon runners who have not reached the gate at this time will not be allowed to finish.
At 16:00 (8 hours after the last runner in wave 4 has crossed the start line) the Great Wall Marathon ends.
Runners still on the route will be picked up by a race official car and taken to the finish area.
The Great Wall Marathon features three distances:
Full marathon - 42.195km/26.2mi
Half marathon - 21.1km/13.1mi
Fun Run - 8.5km/5.5mi - a non-competitive run also on the Great Wall
It is possible to change the distance you want to run up to 10 days before the race starts. All you need to do is contact us with your request.
If you want to change your distance while on tour, contact a Race Official after the briefing on Inspection Day. You must bring your original race number!
Change of distance is NOT PERMITTED on Race Day.
Full marathon runners must be at least 18 years old on race day.
Half marathon runners must be at least 16 years old.
Fun Run participants must be at least 12 years old on race day.
Fun Run participants under the age of 12 are also welcome, so long as they are accompanied by a runner aged 16 or above.
Future Race Dates
The Great Wall Marathon always takes place on the third Saturday in May.
Upcoming runs will take place on the following future dates:
20 May 2023
18 May 2024
Upon check-in at your hotel, you will receive a goodie bag containing your start/bib number, official race T-shirt, Runners' Guide and tickets for the Inspection and Race Days and the gala dinner. If you don't receive your goodie bag at check-in, it will be given to you on Inspection Day. Local runners pick up their goodie bags at our Beijing office. Details will be provided upon registration.
Your bib number is a tool for race directors to tell hundreds of runners apart, made of a plastic-like material, which you pin on your body. It facilitates tracking individual progress and ensuring everyone's safety. It also serves as a memento for you to remember this unique experience.
On Race Day, a team of Danish doctors and Chinese paramedics will provide medical assistance to runners in need. The Medical Team reserves the right to remove any runner who is deemed unable to complete the race. Please note that all decisions made by the Medical Team or Race Officials are final.
Doctors and race officials will be positioned along, and move in and out of, the route, but will not be able to monitor all parts at all times. We kindly ask all runners to look out for each other and report to race officials, water stations or doctors if you see a fellow runner in need of help.
If you take daily medicine prescribed by your physician or need any other medication, please inform the race doctors in advance by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
During Inspection Day and Race Day, a variety of exclusive Great Wall Marathon merchandise can be purchased at the start and finish area in Yin & Yang Square in Huangyaguan.
Additional information regarding the selection of available merchandise (such as Finisher Shirts, running jackets, caps, and more) and acceptable forms of payment will be provided in the Runners' Guide. This guide book is your go-to source for important information. It will be available online in the weeks leading up to The Great Wall Marathon and a print copy will be provided in your goodie bag.
It is possible to deposit bags with personal items for use after the race. Luggage can be stored in the designated luggage area at the Yin and Yang Square. Please mark your bag clearly with your name and bib number. To avoid unnecessary queuing on the morning of race day, please mark your luggage before entering Yin and Yang Square.
Although the luggage area is manned, depositing personal belongings in the area is entirely each runner’s responsibility and the Great Wall Marathon organisers are not responsible for loss or damage of personal belongings.
Photos & Certificate
Marathon Photos will take personal photos of all runners. The photos can be purchased after the race from www.marathon-photos.com
Your Finisher's Certificate will be available for free download.
Prizes and Awards
All finishers receive a medal. A small, symbolic prize is given to the winners of both distances for men and women. Please note that there is no prize money.
Race Briefing & Inspection Day
Inspection Day is an important event!
After all participants have arrived in Yin & Yang Square, the Race Officials will provide you with a Race Briefing, which will cover everything from a preliminary weather forecast to a brief presentation of the start/finish procedures, so you can see exactly where you will enter/re-enter/exit Yin & Yang Square during your run on Race Day.
All runners are expected to walk the 3.5km section of the wall that is part of the marathon, half-marathon and 8.5k Fun Run course. Non-runners are also welcome, although good physical condition is required. This is also the perfect time to enjoy a relaxed visit to the Great Wall and take photos along this incredible monument.
Race Officials and Medical Staff will be present to answer any questions you may have. Official Great Wall Marathon merchandise will also be available for purchase.
Race Officials Disclaimer
English-speaking race officials from Albatros Adventure Marathons are in charge of the event. The race officials reserve the right to change the course and other aspects of the race without advance notice.
Please note that all decisions made by the race officials and/or medical team are final.
By signing up for this event you agree to the Terms & Conditions of Albatros Adventure Marathons.
In order to register for the race, you must enter with one of the following options. These options vary depending on your place of residency.
For international participants, race entry is only possible in conjunction with a multi-day tour package. The packages include all the ingredients for a fantastic getaway: accommodation, social events, sightseeing, and select meals and transportation per the itinerary. Packages also generally include ample amounts of free time, during which you can choose to join organized excursions or explore the region at your own pace.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of modern Beijing, discover one of the world’s oldest civilizations and the cultural legacy of ancient dynasties, and run the most challenging race of your life at The Great Wall Marathon!
Residents of the Surrounding Region
Participants who reside in one of the following countries, and thus meet the necessary residency requirements, are eligible for a special entry package. For The Great Wall Marathon, qualifying countries include:
• Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste,Vietnam.
Please note: Even if you meet the residency requirements, if you are looking to enjoy an extended holiday in Beijing, it is possible to join one of the standard international 6- or 7-day packages.
As proof of eligbility, residents and citizens of the above-mentioned countries must present a current, valid residency permit or passport. Upon receiving your entry, we will contact you to request copies of your official, government-issued documentation.
Participants who meet the necessary Chinese residency requirements are eligible for local entry, which includes only the race.
Please note: If you are looking to enjoy an extended holiday in Beijing and reside in China, it is possible to join either one of the standard international 6- or 7-day packages or the regional residents’ package.
As proof of eligbility, residents and citizens of China must present a current, valid residency permit or passport. Upon receiving your entry, we will contact you to request copies of your official, government-issued documentation.
Please refer to the important dates below. We advise you to book early to avoid disappointment. Many of the packages sell-out well in advance of the regular registration period.
IMPORTANT DEADLINES for the 2023 race: - 20 March 2023: The regular registration period closes. As of this date, a late registration fee of 150 USD will be applied to each person on your booking. In addition, the full amount (i.e. not just the deposit) must be paid immediately.
- 20 April 2023: Registration closes for the 2023 Great Wall Marathon. After this date, no new entries will be accepted.
Route Map & Elevation Profile
For information on the three different routes (marathon, half marathon and 8.5K Fun Race), start and finish line, drink stations and other course-related information, see Route & Elevation.
Rules & Regulations
Change of Distance: If you decide to change distance during the race, ie. if a half marathon runner decides to follow the marathon route instead of the half marathon route, he or she will receive a medal but not an official time. The race result will read FNT (finished no time). The same applies for a marathon runner who changes distances during the race. All runners who change distances before race day will be registered accordingly and receive an official time.
Top Finishers: The top three male and female finishers of all distances are the first three to physically cross the finish line regardless of their net time.
Gear: Nordic walking and trekking poles are not allowed.
Start / Bib Numbers
You will receive your start/bib number in the race goodie bag.
All runners will receive two bib numbers and both must be worn during the race. The large bib must be attached to the front of your body and the small one is for your back. The bib numbers are color-coded according to the distance you are running.
The bibs are color coded according to your chosen distance: - Full marathon bibs - black - Half-marathon - red - 8.5km Fun Run - green
Please do not bend or fold the bibs as the timing chip inside may break. Marathon and half marathon bibs are also marked with a wave number. On race day, please go to the start wave corresponding to the wave number on your bib.
Time Taking & Results
Final details about start times will be announced in the runner's guidebook that you will receive upon arrival in Beijing. The Great Wall Marathon is timed with a bib chip timing system.
With a marathon, half-marathon and 8.5km Fun Run distances available, all levels of experience - from walkers to experienced runners - can conquer the challenging Great Wall Marathon! But training is essential. Let us help you get started.
Click here to check out these great training tips from Henrik Jørgensen, a former Great Wall Marathon participant and Olympic athlete.
In May, spring is in its prime with sunny, blue skies and lush, green vegetation lining the Great Wall. In recent years, the weather during The Great Wall Marathon has been somewhat unpredictable, varying from a low of 16°C/61°F to a high of 35°C/95°F. On average, the temperature is around 25°C/77°F. Rain is unusual during the race, but can occur. Be prepared for high humidity.
2019 Runner's Guide Book
For more details on what to expect you can check the 2019 Runners Guide! All the important information about The Great Wall Marathon 2019 can be found in the guide. A 2023 version will of course be uploaded closer to race date.
All participants will receive a hard copy of the guidebook in their race packs upon arrival in Beijing. View the 2019 Runners Guide here.