Re: Great Wall Marathon
In message “Re: Great Wall Marathon”,
>> Please, please, please forgive me for this, but Jack do you literally
>> mean that this event got unicycling started as a sport in China or got
>> unicycling started as an “organized sport” in China?
I don’t quite see the difference. According to may Chinese unicycling official
I was told that unicycling did not exist as a sport before that time, it was only a
circus art. The Great Wall Marathon gave it the push, and we (the IUF, esp.
Steve Dressler and me) were the chief force behind kicking it off – I have heard
these words, both in writing and in person, many times.
>I leave it to Jack to give a more detailed answer. From what I know, I’d
>describe the Great Wall Marathon event as the public kickoff for
>organized unicycling as a sport in China. Before this, it was common in
Precisely, though there were many activities in the months leading up to it,
including starting on a small scale in some schools in Beijing and other areas.
>the acrobatic shows/circus, but not anywhere else. I don’t think you
>could buy a unicycle in China, though undoubtedly some of the stuff you
>can buy here was being manufactured there even then.
>Jack Halpern acted as a consultant (and probably motivator) to the
>people who originated the idea of starting unicycling as a
Not quite. I with the help of Steve Dressler explained the idea to them
that unicycling is a sport and not just a circus art. We showed them
pictures,videos, taked about Unicons, invited them to Unicons, etc. etc. gave
demos and taught etc. Yuuichiro helped a great deal by doing a seminar.
I certainly don’t think that I deserve so much credit as the Chinese give me, but
they often used such expression, even now, as “the father of the sport of
unicycling as China”, and “if not for Jack Halpern there would be no unicycling
in China”. This ise$B!!e(Bexaggerated, surely, though I do think I was the catalyst
>sport/recreational activity in China. They instituted a kind of
>“unicycling summer camp” in the Beijing area, and Yuichiro Kato went
>over to act as a coach in the weeks leading up to the Great Wall
>The actual Great Wall Marathon was a 10k road race starting and ending
>at the parking lot of the Myutan Yu (sp?) area of the Wall in/near
>Hoariu (sp?) county. T
Mutianyu, party of Huairouxian County, which has now turned to a city.
> his was the same place we went with the big tour
>group after UNICON X. This road race was on the road you take to get to
>the Great Wall, be it by bus or by car. The road was closed for the
>duration of our race. We raced 5k down the mountain from the parking
>area, turned around, and headed back up. There were several hundred feet
>of elevation gain/loss. Nobody told us in advance it was a mountain
>As part of that event, we also had a day of street racing in the city of
>Hoariu (much bigger audience), with distances of something like 100m and
>400m, as well as a big public show in an indoor arena. The Marathon was
>the title event, but what we foreigners probably remember most was the
>100m race we did on the actual wall. A straight 100m course barely fit
>between two sections of stairs on a near-level section, and the finish
>was about 5m short of the top of a very long set of stairs!
Yep. Now you Muni maniacs go and climb them. Kris, are you ready?
>The winner of both races was Yuichiro Kato. Ken Fuchs came in second in
>the marathon and third on the wall, and I was second on the wall and
>third in the marathon.
>Right after the Great Wall event, I was persuaded by Jack and Steve
>Dressler to go to China’s first unicycle track meet, at a track in
Indeed, that event was planned to roughly coincide and marked the beginning
of unicycling competition in China.
>Beijing. Meanwhile the rest of the foreign visitors went to the
>Forbidden City, but I didn’t. Instead we watched a bunch of traditional
>track racing, mostly by kids who had learned to ride within the previous
>few months. Also we met with the organizers and political persons who
>were making this sport happen over there. At least two of those
>individuals were members of the principal organizing group for UNICON X
Yes, all that is very accurate. I am amazed at your memory for details.
By the way, you didn’t mention the artistic event in the ChaoYang Gymnasium
>So when you say “Great Wall Marathon” are you thinking of riding some
>long distance on the Great Wall? If you go on a non-busy tourist day, I
>don’t imagine anyone would try to stop you. But the only parts that are
>rideable are the sections that have been restored for tourist visits.
>The rest of the wall is either crumbling, or has no rideable top on it.
>Plus the stairs would be killer.
>Check out Nathan Hoover’s photos from the Bad-a-Ling tourist area:
>Those are about the steepest stairs I’ve ever seen. Kris Holm even looks
>like he’s having a hard time there!
Thanks for this detailed report, John. It would be great of you can put it on your
website with some pictures. This is an event that should be remembered.
>johnfoss’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/832
>View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/21210
>rec.sport.unicycling mailing list - www.unicycling.org/mailman/listinfo/rsu
Regards, Jack Halpern
President, The CJK Dictionary Institute, Inc.
http://www.cjk.org Phone: +81-48-473-3508