Sunday morning, I was up bright and early in Pudong to witness the Jinqiao 8km Marathon – I say witness since just getting up at 8am on a Sunday morning took all my willpower. Running – heck, even a light jog – was out of the question. Thankfully, hundreds of people from all around Shanghai weren’t quite as lazy.
The marathon has been going on for years now and it always starts at Pinghe High School. It’s a perfect location – it’s so much easier to carve out a nice 8km track from roads when they get as little traffic as this suburban Shanghai corner. Besides the main event, there was also a 2km fun run, a corporate relay, and several small competitions (costumes! eating!) to pass the time.
Maybe it was thanks to the throngs of people, but the event itself felt a little chaotic. A costume competition that took place right after the fun run lost all but one panda-clad gang since everyone else had gone to run the 8k as well. A Subway meal eating competition was haphazard and everyone kinda cheated. There was a Chinese cover band crooning Michael Jackson songs on a Best Buy stage. The poor Haibao people – they were abused by everyone. Children. Adults (who should know better!). EVERYONE.
But despite the weirdness – or perhaps because of it – I’d deem it a success. And watching as some returned from their 8,000 meters, sweaty and satisfied and only half an hour after the race started, felt quite inspiring. Maybe next year I’ll actually try to run. It’d take some training to be sure – training that I’ll start… um, tomorrow.