Taiwan’s best races 2014

IMG_20150114_074054Recaps are popular in January, as we look over what we’ve done over the last year, reflect, and plan what the coming year has in store. 2014 was a big year for me, I ran my first half marathon (competitively) in March 2014 and instantly fell in love. While I didn’t have time to run every race in Taiwan I did make quite a few. Here’s my list of the best (of what I’ve run) Taiwan 2014.

IMG_20141214_103740Most beautiful – Toroko Gorge half marathon- this course is famous in Taiwan for being one of incredible scenery. As there are very few roads running through Toroko National Park, the roads are closed only once a year for this marathon. As it has increased in popularity, organizers have had to shorten registration times or allow entry only by lottery. If you can get a spot it is one of the most interesting places you can run in Taiwan.

Best Trail – Otterbox Action Asia – This course was excellent as far as technicality was concerned. There was a variety of terrain, not too many sections of road and it was just a fun run in general. The volunteers were helpful, course director was involved and the organizers had their own camera crew who got some great shots of runners.

Best Crowds – Wan Jin Shi – This marathon is run through 3 coastal cities, Wan Li, Jin Shan, and Shi Men and has one of the best crowds I’ve seen all year. It seems that everyone came out to cheer on the runners. Besides the coastal scenery, there were also dancers, drummers and crowds of fans along the course to help anyone struggling through this race, I definitely recommend giving it a try.

VIRB PictureBest Organization – This was a difficult category and in the end I couldn’t come up with one that really stood out from the rest, however, there are some honorable mentions.  KL Standard Chartered was not in Taiwan but it was well marked, the aid stations were well stocked and race pack pick up surprisingly easy for a race of that size. The runners did merge for the last leg which seemed a little chaotic. WanJinShi Marathon was also well organized providing no-fuss race package pick up, rides from the city, a well marked, well organized course, but the end had runners merging with runners of different distances and the gun start was a bit confusing, without any separation according to estimated finishing time.

17144_393032375163_4354279_nMost Challenging – ShiMen Reservoir Half Marathon – This course offers runners an incline of 350m in the first 4kms, after which the elevation continues to fluctuate between 300-400m running between the mountains and the damn. At 9km runners turn around and head back through the fluctuating elevation towards the start of the course. Once they reach the bottom of the hill the final 3km will be run around the lake at the bottom. I think the most challenging part of this course would be the constant uphill and downhill followed by a relatively flat stretch of 3km which seems to take every ounce of energy to complete.



3 thoughts on “Taiwan’s best races 2014”

    1. Hi! Yea, that is what I use to see what most of the upcoming races are, there are the very few that I’ve seen in sports stores that haven’t been on the aforementioned list.
      That being said, I’ve learned there are a few race organizers I usually keep an eye out for.
      Action Asia – does trail races in Hong Kong but also a couple in Taiwan every year. The courses are usually well thought out and they are well organized, although don’t expect great prizes for the entry fees paid.
      EzFun – These are usually fun/small trail races and some road races, the trails aren’t as good but I always enjoy myself.
      Sports Note Taiwan also has a list of races but most of these are the same races seen on the website you mentioned (sportsnote usually also has photographers at the races and will post them online after most races here)
      And then I usually look out for the big ones, such as WanJinShi, Fubon, Toroko, Standard Chartered etc, these are usually the best organized, but the local ones can also be lots of fun, less hype and more accessible prizes for weekend runners.
      Cheers!

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