At the start of the year I received a lovely offer from the Chinese Government to come and participate in a 24hr race in Gangzhou. I feel very lucky that my running takes me to so many awesome places all over the world and gives me opportunities to experience so many different cultures and customs.
Right from the start of our correspondence the organisers of the race really looked after us and took care of everything, so much so that I didn’t need to research anything myself. Maybe I should have done ! It came of a bit of a surprise to me when we stepped out of the airport in China into a wall of heat and humidity, this race wasn’t going to be as straight forward as I first thought. 24 hours in 40 + degree heat and 95% humidity !!
During the next couple of days before the race I tried to acclimatise as much as possible, but the organisers has a busy schedule of sightseeing, press conferences and banquets laid out for us. The Banquet the night before the race was epic, 16 courses only one of which fit into my vegetarian diet. I usually eat a big salad before a race with foods I know and trust to fuel me up just right. At the banquet I was offered some whole piglet, a chicken head and legs or a whole boiled duck soup, not ideal. In fact I ate very little and was glad to get back to my hotel room where I could fill up for the work tomorrow on my Oatopia energy balls and flapjacks I had brought over with me.
The race went pretty well I kept a slower but consistent pace for most of the first 20 hours and was a good 20 k In the lead. The heat was mental though, and if anything it seemed to get even hotter during the night, there was no release! And at around 21 hours I began to suffer a bit, getting rather dizzy and sick culminating in a semi collapse on the tarmac where I lay for a while, watching the second place man slowly begin to catch me. After a stern word with myself I managed to get back up and jog very slowly the last hour of the race to take the victory.
The race was great practice for my Badwater run in Death Valley in a few weeks time. The temperature will be around 50 degrees there but the humidity much less. Let’s hope there will be no pig the night before at this one.