Great Wall Marathon 2012: Flight home and Trip Summary

Introduction and Planning
Training Schedule
Flight, Airport Transfer, Cocktail Reception
Longest Day: Wall Walkthrough, Acrobatic Show
Tianamen Square, Forbidden Palace, and Yuanlong Silk Store
Race Day and Marathon Review
Birds Nest Stadium, Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo, Gala Dinner Race Celebration, Atmosphere Bar
Pickpockets at the Beijing Zoo
Beijing Hutong Rickshaw Tour, Temple of Heaven, Peking Duck Dinner, and Hooters
Flight home and trip summary

Flight Home

The last day had no activities planned as many would be taking their flights home. Some had very early flights back home so they would get back around noon time in the US (west coast). My flight was in the mid afternoon. There were three or four different shuttles to the airport arranged by Marathon Tours. They also took note of which bus we wanted to take back to the airport.

I had a relaxing breakfast and asked about the runner who was pick pocketed. Scott said she got all her documents in time and was on her way to the airport. She had an early flight back home. She sent us an email a few days later saying she made it home just fine and thanked all of us for our kindness.

I took the morning to do some shopping. My dad had wanted some Chinese books so I went to a bookstore that morning. I then headed back to my hotel room and packed for the flight home. The shuttle and trip through security was uneventful. I had plenty of time before my flight and I saw one of the other runners so we decided to have one last lunch together. Another runner ended up seeing us out from the middle of the departure area and joined us. We all noted how this was just a crazy week and looking forward to going back to normalcy.

The flight back to Toronto via AC was uneventful. The moving walkway (travelator) was still awesome the second time around and got some dinner in the airport. I stopped to get some Ice Wine as supposedly that’s something unique about Canada. I also got a Canadian Moose plush doll on the flight as he was just adorable. I can’t seem to comprehend why Bruce would need a hat.

Bruce the Toque Moose

Bruce the Toque Moose

The flight back to Boston was delayed by about an hour. I wasn’t too worried as I’ll still be getting back to BOS around 10:30pm, which isn’t too late. Air Canada was very apologetic and also gave the entire plane a free drink, which was a nice gesture. I tried Crown Royal with Coke for the first time. It was pretty good.

Trip Summary

It was a great trip. It was definitely very busy and hectic but the Marathon Tours made it work. We were a bit exhausted after that long first day but the following days were better. They did give us enough rest the day before.

Waking up at 3am for a race was definitely a first. It sucked. However, I still felt ok during the race. We also lucked out on the weather since it was only a bit warm but clear skies and very little pollution.

The view on the wall was amazing and the walk-through two days before gives you enough time to take pictures and really take in the sights. During the run, I can barely remember any parts of the wall other than the stairs.

The tours in Beijing was well planned and managed. The guides was always on top of our schedule and made sure we were at where we needed to be on time, which was a huge task corralling about 100 people together. I definitely liked our tour guide Wendy the best. I felt I saw much more of the city in the tour than by myself. The itinerary was very good and allowed us to see the most popular places in Beijing.

Overall, the food was only decent. As this was catered towards runners, I was surprised how little carbs there were in each meal. Its important to eat a lot of carbohydrates the week before the race, not just the day before. I wished there were more noodle dishes. I would also guess it would be cheaper as well. I have been in Shanghai and other smaller cities and the general trend is that there are a lot of fried foods. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of fried foods for lunch and dinner.

The cost was a bit high, but completely worth it given the number of sites we visited and that most of the meals were covered.

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