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HITTING THE WALL

JAMES POOLE EXPLORES THE RAPIDLY RISING POPULARITY OF RUNNING IN CHINA—AND FINDS A BIT OF TIME TO TACKLE A 168K ULTRA
Finishers of the Gaoligong by UTMB Ultra
© DAVID GONTHIER

RUNNING IN CHINA

Ten years ago, you could count the number of marathons in China on the fingers of one hand. In 2017 there were more than 400.

China has caught the running bug in a big way and, as is the trend in the Middle Kingdom, when things reach fever state, they move fast—very fast.

While running culture in Europe and the US has evolved and grown in recent years, the sport of running has a long, rich and colourful past. In stark contrast, in China, putting one foot in front of another for fun was completely alien until as little as five years ago.

CLUBS ON EVERY CORNER

Chiara Ferraris, an Italian runner living in Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan province, told me: “When I first moved to China, I’d be running down the street and taxis would pull alongside. The driver would roll down the window and offer to give me a ride. They didn’t recognise running as something you did for fun. To them it was a chore—it was like working in the fields.”

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About Men's Running

The June issue of Men’s Running is all about pushing your limits to become the best runner you can be. Whether that’s learning to love ultra-long distances—with the help of GB 24hr runner Robbie Britton—finding inspiration from the likes of hard-as-nails runners Damian Hall or Scott Jurek, or discovering what it takes to become a world champion, our strapline ‘read this, run better’ has rarely felt so apt. Elsewhere, you can find out whether four months of hard training paid off for our Big Marathon Challenge runners, heed some must-know hydration lessons, find out what it’s like to run an ultramarathon in the Arctic, and learn about the virtual running app attempting to transform the tedium of the treadmill. All that, plus our usual Best in Test kit reviews: this month, we turn our attention to the latest top tech for data-driven runners.