• Runners test their endurance on the Great Wall of China


    The Great Wall of China was built more than two millennia ago to keep invaders out of the country. Ironically, its main function today seems to be inspiring people to visit China on Asia travel tours. While many come just to marvel at the astonishing feat of ancient engineering, others see the wall as a challenge to be conquered.

    Destination marathons are a popular motivation for people to embark on adventure travel, and the Great Wall Marathon, held each May, might be one of the most adventurous races out there. The marathon begins with a grueling climb over thousands of steps and is marked overall by steep elevation changes. Despite the difficulty of the course, more than 2,500 people take the challenge each year, according to the race's organizers.

    Once the initial climbing section of the race ends, the course eases into more level stretches through rice paddies and rural villages. Its extreme difficulty and appealing setting led The Huffington Post to declare it one of the most beautiful marathons worth traveling to around the world - and one of the most challenging.

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