Like most international events that are held in China, the Shanghai Marathon 2010 was something of a unique experience. We’ll just call it an international marathon with Chinese characteristics. All in all it was a great experience, even filled with some Chinglish signs towards the end, with nurses holding signs reading something like: “Hazardous cardiac events zone. Maintain please speed.” You really never know what to expect jogging in Shanghai.
Here’s what you need to know:
1) The sign up process involves getting a doctor’s physical and signature. Of course this is a good idea and we recommend this, but if you’re signing up last minute, and have been training without problems, just use a different pen color and go ahead and sign on the dotted line.
2) You can sign up via paypal on the website. I sent in my money order, and they had all my info when I went to the packet pickup site. No problems at all.
3) Go on the first day of packet pick-up times. It will be somewhat hard to find, and you should leave yourself plenty of time. Also they ran out of t-shirts, so I (at 5’5” was left with the option of an XL or XXL shirt.)
4) The route is subject to change. A week or so before the event, I checked the website, and there was a notice that there was an “emergency route change” and we wouldn’t be going to Pudong after all, as was printed everywhere on the site. In the end the original course was stuck to, but it made telling spectators where to find me next to impossible.
5) You will get a bag of goodies when you pick up your race number. You can use the bag (fill out the square paper with your personal info, and put it in the little plastic window) and then you can deposit it with your personal belongings at the start of the race, and it will be ready for pickup when you’re done. I put a few snacks, my sweatshirt and most importantly, flip flops.
6) You get to jog through the Fuxing Lu tunnel, from Puxi over to Pudong. There are no bathrooms in the fairly long tunnel, but don’t worry, emergency turn-outs serve for a different type of emergency on race day.
7) I don’t listen to music when I do races, so that I can draw inspiration from the crowd, but if I do the Shanghai Marathon again, I think I’d bring my iPod next year. There is areas with cheering spectators, but the vast majority of the course in Pudong is just under an elevated highway with not all that much going on.
8) The water stations are interspersed with giant sponging stations. I don’t partake, but people seem to enjoy being able to get a sponge (bath?) on the go. Careful in this area, the road is littered with dirty sponges that are somewhat akin to banana peels.
9) When you finish you immediately show your number and they will print your certificate with your official time. It’s amazingly efficient actually. I was really impressed here. You will then go turn in your chip, get a bag of snacks and water, your medal, and another goodie bag (I got a sweet Mizuno duffel and towel) if you finish in under 5 hours.
10) If the race ends in the new Pudong sports stadium again in 2011, and your patience was all used up running and thus do not want to wait for the shuttle bus to the metro stop, take one of the 3-wheel tuk-tuks. Don’t pay more than 10 RMB though, as it is a short trip.
11) Enjoy yourself! Although the run was late in the year falling on December 5, 2010, we had beautiful sunny skies, and most people were running in shorts and t-shirts.
Of course this info is subject to change, but hopefully this will help. If you are in need of good ideas on where to run in Shanghai, check our website for info on guided training routes around the best parts of Shanghai! We also offer a our Dragon Tail XXL option designed for visitors who are training for the big one, so you don’t have to disrupt your schedule just because you’re traveling or on a business trip!