Introducing the track
Marathon, half-marathon and fun run – all three tracks are designed to let you enjoy a professional, convenient and safe running experience, but also inspiring views of the local culture, architecture and nature. By integrating many of the local attractions in the tracks we made sure the Great Hakka is not only ‘a perfect run’ but also ‘a lot of fun’.
0-4 Km (Marathon and Half Marathon, Fun Run)
We start the race in front of the scenic Yuchanglou, one of the oldest Hakka houses in the area, right in the village of Xiabanliaocun (下版寮村). From here the route heads straight north along Provincial Highway S309. As the route passes through Xiabanliao village you will notice a square Hakka House or tulou on the right and one of the iconic, round Hakka Houses on the left. Exiting Xiabanli Village the highway follows a wide valley with the river on the left. On both sides you will have great views of the mountains and terraced fields. While Taxia is at a slightly lower elevation than Yuchanglou, you will be facing some sections on uphill running during the gradual descent.
As you approach Taxia Village the valley narrows and the road will follow the river closely. Watch out for the series of speed bumps at the approach to the village. While they are meant to slow down cars they can easily trip up an eager runner. Having passed the speed bumps, a small, open parking lot where we will have a water station, and a public toilet the route continues into Taxia with low village houses on the left and the river on the right. The river and the road make a sharp turn to the right through a narrow part of the valley. Notice the small shrine on the left, and a bridge leading across the river to a small pavilion on the right. Having passed this turn we enter the central part of Taxia.
The villagers in Taxia will be out in numbers to watch the runners of the first Great Hakka Marathon passing through the village. Taxia is located on both sides of the river in a narrow section of the valley and we will be crossing the river more than once. Heading through Taxia you will pass several Hakka houses, some round but the majority square. This is the dry and cool period during the year. When you run through Taxia it is worth knowing that during the wet periods the village sees regular flooding.
4-8 Km (Full and Half Marathon, Fun Run)
Exiting Taxia the road continues North, now with the river on the left of the road. The road is now gradually descending towards the village of Qujiang (曲江村) which lies at the intersection of the main East-West route that passes through the area, County Road X562. As we enter the village of Qujiang we pass a cluster of Hakka houses and the Qujiang Primary School.
Leaving Qujiang continuing downhill we ross County Road X562 and continue straight North. On the right you can see the Hekeng tunnel. Having passed the intersection we can see a number of large, round Hakka houses, some old, some built as late as the 1970s showing for just how long this building tradition has been in use. The road circles around Hekeng. Participants in the Fun Run will turn left ointo Hekeng and head for the finish line. Participants in the Full and Half marathon distances will continue North, but all participants will eventually finish here.
8-13 Km (Full and Half Marathon)
From Hekeng Full and Half Marathoners continue along the county level road heading towards the Town of Meilin. The road heads in a general Northerly direction following the wide valley and the river. After approx.. 2 km we turn left, off the main road, entering the village of Shiqiao (石桥村Stone Bridge Village). Following narrow lanes we will experience a variation of cobbled and unpaved road surfaces. In the village we will circle one of the largest Hakka houses in the area before exiting Shiqiao and continue North along the county road.
Two km further North we will again detour into one of the villages before passing another famous Hakka house in the area: Bixing Lou. Shortly after Bixinglou we enter the village of Beiling which offers yet another detour through traditional village scenery on narrow village lanes. Watch your step on the uneven surfaces and take your time to take in the local village scenery which remains as it has been for hundreds of years.
As we leave Beiling Village we continue North along the county road for just a short distance before making a u-turn heading back towards Hekeng village along the same county road we have followed coming here.
13-18 Km (Full and Half Marathon)
We now follow the county road back towards Hekeng. The road will gradually be ascending as we head back towards Hekeng passing on the way the villages we have experienced up close before, but know remaining on the main road.
18-27 Km (Full Marathon)
Hekeng is where Half and Full marathoners part ways. Half Marathoners will circle Hekeng to make the distance before crossing the finishing line.
Full marathoners will run East through the village of Hekeng leaving the paved roads behind. Over the next 9 km we will cross the mountain range between Hekeng and Pushan village.
As we leave Hekeng we will commence a steady ascent climbing approx. 400 m. over the next 3 km along a fairly wide unsealed road. As we climb don’t forget to take in the amazing vistas of the surrounding countryside – while of course minding your step on the uneven surface. As we gain altitude we enter the tea fields where the local green tea is grown.
Having crossed the ridge we continue through tea fields as we descend towards Pushan Village. Halfway down the unsealed trail gives way to a narrow road, used by local farmers to transport tools and the harvested tea, down the hills to the villages.
27-30 Km (Full Marathon)
Entering the area of Pushan and Changjiao we will be passing some of the most famous sights in the area. The first of the many Hakka houses in this part of the Nanjing area is Defeng Lou or Defeng building. From here we follow a new tourist train with wooden boards towards Cuimei Lou and the Lijie River.
Having passed Cuimei lou we will cross the river on a narrow wooden bridge and continue through the scenic area of Yunshuiyao. Yunshuiyao is one of the most popular scenic spots in the area. We will pas through a bustling little town before coming up to the famous bend in the river with large, old banyan trees.
At Yunshuiyao we cross the river again, this time following a solid concrete bridge. For the next kilometer we will follow a cobbled walkway right next to the river. The surface is uneven so watch your step, take it easy and enjoy the amazing scenery among ancient villages and rice fields.
The cobbled road leads to the village of Kangxia where we will circle around the core of the old village, again following narrow villages lanes with a variation of road types from concrete over cobbled to unsealed. Watch out for holes, chickens and the occasional little dog. Passing through Kangxia and Huangtian we rejoin the county road heading North.
30-35 Km (Full Marathon)
The next 5 kilometers will follow the county road without any detours. For the first kilometer the road climbs out of Huangtian towards the village of Cujiao. From here we circle West towards Meilin Town the valley opens up. The road runs above the valley floor and we will have wide vistas over primarily rice fields to the river and the villages which are mainly located along the river but on the opposite side. While the difference in elevation between Huangtian and Meilin isn’t big the road will climb and drop following the mountains.
35-42 Km (Full Marathon)
Meilin is a county level town and the largest town we will encounter on the race. After a short descent into the town we will experience a rural Chinese county-level at it’s best. As we reach the main intersection we will make a sharp left and rejoin the Meita county road which will take us back past Beiling and Shiqiao to Hekeng and the finishing line.
Leaving Meilin the road climbs for just over a kilometer before leveling and reaching the village of Beiling where we reenter the part of the route which we already know. The road continues a gradual climb towards Shiqiao and Hekeng and the finishing line.
For details of this section please refer to the Hekeng to Beiling section above (8-13 km).
Download Track Map
Marathon, half-marathon and fun run – three demanding but beautiful and diverse routes, that offer runners wonderful views of nature, culture and people along the track – motivating them at every step of the race … especially when the legs start to get really heavy.
All three routes have been planned and designed to ensure that participants will have both a professional, convenient and safe running experience, as well as inspiring views of the local culture, architecture and nature.
By integrating many of the most the remarkable local sights and attractions into the routes, we wanted to make the Great Hakka Marathon not only ‘a perfect run’ but also ‘a lot of fun’. Have a look at the track maps to get an overview.