Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Student Life: The Xianlin Half-Marathon

Amanda Bogan, MAIS ’18, shares her experience participating in the Xianlin Half-Marathon held in Nanjing. She and a group of students represented the HNC and encouraged each other throughout the race. 
Last weekend a group of HNC students participated in the Xianlin Half-Marathon, a 21 kilometer run held in the scenic outskirts of Nanjing. The group was made up of 17 HNC students, both long-time running enthusiasts and first-time race participants alike. What’s more, all HNC participants enjoyed free registration for the race thanks to the organization efforts of the HNC’s own experienced marathon runner, the wonderful Anneliese Gegenheimer, HNC Certificate ‘18/SAIS MA ‘19.

Although I started running several years ago, this half-marathon was my first time participating in an official organized running event. As one of the less experienced runners in our group, I was particularly glad to be running my first real race with a group of my HNC classmates. Not only did I feel more motivated to get out and go running in the training weeks leading up to the big day, but when the day did arrive, there was a real sense of comradery that made it much easier to wake up at 6:00am on a Saturday and ride the subway for an hour to the site of the marathon.

Once we arrived at the location, after hydrating and snapping a few pre-race photos, we all lined up at our assigned positions and got ready to run. The Chinese national anthem was played over the speakers, and then the race began. I ran at a slow and steady pace for most of the race, and occasionally other HNC runners would pass me giving me a high-five or a thumbs up. Even other runners who I didn’t know would smile at me and call out “加油!” which helped to keep my spirits up.

Other HNC students who were not participating in the race still came out to cheer on the runners and take photos, while riding bikes alongside the course of the race. It was great to see familiar faces calling out our names along the sidelines and to have friends waiting for us at the finish line. When I finally did reach the finish line (at what I considered a respectable 2 hours 16 minutes) I crossed it together with another HNC classmate—it was the first time for both of us to run a race, and we were elated to have finished.

Although I’m not sure when I will have the chance to run my next official race, I definitely want to again sometime in the near future—either in China or back in the U.S. Until then I’ll have to content myself to runs around campus or out to Xuanwu Lake.

Congratulations again to everyone who participated in last week’s marathon and thanks to all the HNCer’s who came out to cheer us on!

Written by Amanda Bogan, MAIS ‘18
Photo by Mavis Hou