It has been a long winter in Inner Mongolia this year with snowfall and heavy rain even still this month. Our preparatory technical mission thus had to cope with delays and disturbances, but ultimately we are happy to be able to confirm all race courses for the 10th anniversary edition of our event.
The Grassland Marathon course and half marathon course remain unchanged, stunningly beautiful and peaceful as they are. The start procedure also remains the same: everybody will gather at Xiwuqi’s Culture Square around 6:45 a.m. to enter the various starting blocks. At 7 a.m. runners will be flagged off, but the official race and time-keeping will only begin in front of Xiwuqi Hotel. The cut-off time for the marathon is 6 hours and 30 minutes. Please note that there will be intermediate electronic time checks along the course, including at km 37. Participants who do not pass that mark by 12:40 will be required to stop running. For the fast runners, the marathon course record is 2:39:16 by last year’s champion Andrzej Lachowski from Poland. The women’s best time was also broken last year by China’s Chen Linming in 3:16:40. The Grassland Marathon is not flat (approx 550 metres of elevation gain) and the wind can be a factor during the race given the obvious wide exposed areas in the grasslands.
The three stages of the MTB Adventure are generally the same as well, even though some modifications will be introduced on especially the third and last day of the race. The first stage, which is the classic stage as it has virtually been left unaltered since the very beginning of the event, will thus measure 64km from Nadamu Square outside town to the Culture Square on Friday afternoon. It is an important one, as history shows that winning the first stage most often also results in winning the overall classification. Stage 2 on Saturday afternoon will bring riders to the Mongolian Yurt camp, where the Grassland Crazy Night and Welcome Banquet will be held on Saturday night. 44km with some short steep climbs that can make a difference. This is a stage that suits explosive riders, as beautifully demonstrated by China’s Hu Hao in the last two years: struggling on the longer stages 1 and 3, but unbeatable at Mongolian Yurt camp! Finally, Sunday is the traditional century ride, 100km going all around Xiwuqi. As much as a psychological than a physical test, this stage is of course the ultimate challenge for the King of the Grassland competitors after the past two days of hard work.
All participants in this year’s Genghis Khan Festival will be requested to attend the pre-race briefing on Friday morning at the Xiwuqi Hotel for the latest news and information sharing.