Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not making it easy

One of my major goals for my last few months in China was to run a marathon again - my fourth, and almost certainly last.

Unfortunately.... the Beijing Marathon, as far as I can discover online, is still in limbo - its traditional mid-October date kicked into touch at the last moment by the government's insane anxieties about the upcoming leadership handover. (I'd been thinking of attempting the half-distance as a warm-up, and to keep a few friends company; but it is a ridiculously overpriced event, hideously overcrowded, and a VERY dull course. Its indefinite postponement - probably now cancellation - is really no great loss.)

The Shanghai Marathon, due to take place on December 2nd this year (by which time I might just about be in shape to give the full distance a go), is likewise a bit up-in-the-air - although organisers are insisting that it will still go ahead on the scheduled date. But a month ago, during the height of the Senkaku Islands hullabaloo, local government officials abruptly intervened - in the middle of one of the organisers' press conferences! - to announce that event could not go ahead this year as the Toray Cup. Toray, the name sponsor of the race for the past 16 years, is a Japanese chemical company, you see. Even if the race does now take place, which must be somewhat in doubt, I trust all right-thinking people will boycott it in protest at the Shanghai government's appalling pettiness over this matter.

Which leaves only the Xiamen Marathon at the beginning of January (a godawful time to hold a race, in the middle of the Western - and, increasingly also Chinese - festivities!). Xiamen is pretty far south, so the weather should be pleasantly mild even in the depths of winter. And it is supposedly a very pleasant route: flat, and almost entirely along the coast roads of this island city in Fujian province. I have been wanting to attempt this race for at least 7 or 8 years; but, until recently, it was impossible to register for it remotely - online, or even by mail; you had to go all the way to Xiamen to sign up for the race!

And, well, here we are barely 11 weeks from race day, and the official website is STILL saying that registrations aren't open yet. Oiveh!

I fear I'm going to be stuck doing 8 laps of my local lake; a self-adminstered marathon the only way to test my aging body's powers of endurance one last time.


John said...

Urgent Notice

Dear Marathon Fans,

We feel great SORRY to inform you that the English registration page has shut down these days because of the little problem of online-payment system. The technical staff are working on it and it would be open by next Tuesday (Nov.22nd, 2012 ) the earliest.

Please wait patiently, and wish you a big success and joy in this 10th Anniversary!


Xiamen International Marathon
Organizing Committee

At least the site looks nice enough...

Froog said...

Ah, THERE you are! Where have been for the last, what, 3 or 4 months?? I hope all's well.

Yes, I noticed that Chinglishy little notice on the Xiamen site. Presumably they meant October 22nd - but it's still not functioning a week later.

I've been trying to get info from CITS, but their advertised e-mail and phone links are non-responsive.

Not making it easy at all!

At least I've found a way of being out of Beijing next week while the Party Congress is on - just in case Zhou Yongkang or someone stages a coup and the city falls under martial law.