The SanChong National Marathon took place on Sunday April 12th and it has unfortunately taken this long for me to write a review about it. This is unusual given my enthusiasm about running and writing but I was left feeling quite indifferent towards this race experience.
We signed up for the 21k, as the 42k course would simply be 2 loops of the 21k. The prices were comparatively lower than other races, 1000 NT for 42k and 700NT for the half, including the chip fee. There were 600 full marathon finishers and 656 half marathon finishers, a surprisingly good turnout for a riverside run on a cold, rainy day.
The route was a standard, out and back course along the riverside. It conveniently started under the cover of ChongYang bridge, fortunate due to the particularly rainy day. Marathoners began at 6:00, followed by half marathoners at 6:10 and 8k runners at 6:20. We arrived late at the venue, quickly dropped our things off and took off in the direction of the start line. When we arrived at the line, there were no other runners in sight. Confused, we followed the insistent ushering of volunteers across the line and began our race.
There was a kilometer and a half of weaving path along the riverside, in which we quickly caught up to the back of the pack and begun to pass. Luckily, we weren’t far from a wide section of road, almost 2km in length, making it easy to find our position in the heap. It wasn’t long before we crossed a bridge leading from Sanchong to Bali, continuing on a narrow path towards the turnaround. Finally, we reached the turnaround in the “Left Bank Park” on the riverside, and headed back in the direction of Sanchong. Mildly battling slower runners in front and runners coming from the opposite direction, we followed the same path as we had before, crossing the finish line in Sanchong.
After getting our bags, we got some of the complimentary food handed out at race end and waited for the awards ceremony under the bridge. Today, it was a bottomless bowl of sweet watery green bean soup with noodles. The ceremony was lackluster, without prizes from sponsors, there were only flags depicting positions 1-3, and honorable mentions for several other people who had done well in their group. I pondered the term “national marathon”, since the organization, route, prizes, etc, had left me clearly uninspired to join another of the same in the future. At least the volunteers seemed nice.
Later, in researching the race, I learned that any male who could run the marathon in under 3 hours, and any female running under 3.5 hours would receive 2000NT. In my opinion, this is hardly enough to warrant the training and effort required in running 42k at such a quick pace. I also noticed that there were 1500 spots allotted to full marathoners and 2000 spots and couldn’t imagine the tiny riverside paths filled to the brim with so many participants. Overall, if you would like to experience the beauty of the Sanchong and Bali riverside parks, save your money, choose a beautiful day and run it yourself.