Many marathon runners fear ‘hitting the wall’ but an intrepid runner from The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) is hoping to do just that.
Rob Avery-Phipps, 21, who is studying a master’s in International Relations at UNNC, is planning to run the Great Wall Marathon in the Chinese province of Tianjin.
The marathon is run on the Huangya Pass section of the famous wall and involves negotiating 5,164 stone steps, as well as many steep ascents and descents.
Rob hopes to raise more than £1,000 for End Polio Now, a charity that aims to eradicate polio worldwide.
Rob, who is originally from Nottingham, is a keen runner, having competed in competitions for UNNC. This will be, however, his first marathon attempt.
He’s been training in Ningbo for the Great Wall Marathon, although finding enough steps to train on has been a challenge.
Undeterred, he’s used the experience to get to know the city better, as well as practice his Mandarin while running. He’s also made a video of his training experiences.
He said: “The Great Wall Marathon is a lot tougher than other marathon courses, thanks to the thousands of stone steps competitors have to negotiate. What’s been difficult is that there’s simply nowhere in Ningbo that has similar-sized steps in such vast quantities for me to train on!
“I usually listen to Mandarin on my headphones while I’m running. It’s a good way to dedicate time to practicing the language! It’s also been great getting out on runs into parts of Ningbo that others don’t usually explore.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of the marathon though. It will be fantastic to get so close to such an iconic landmark and raise money for a worthy cause.”
Jake Miles, Sports Development Coordinator at UNNC, said: “Rob’s really thrown himself into his training and has been able to find plenty of excellent running routes all around the UNNC campus.
“The marathon is going to be a tough test of his endurance, but one with fantastic rewards — who wouldn’t want to experience the magnificence of the Great Wall while running?
“The project is helping to create awareness for UNNC sports, and the development of sports here at the campus, and I wish Rob all the best in his efforts!”
Rob is writing about his experiences on our China Student Life blog.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.
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