Jim Taylor of Kirkcaldy, has set himself a mammoth challenge to complete the A-Z of Marathons. On the 16th May, Jim found himself in Ying Yang square with over 2,000 fellow runners ready to tackle one of the world’s toughest races - The Great Wall of China Marathon.
Jim prepared for The Great Wall, and its staggering 5,164 steps, by training on Fife’s Coastal Path. Running this beautiful path inspired him to run the marathon in aid of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust to help towards the ongoing maintenance of the path.
“Running the Fife Coastal Path definitely helped as the Wall wasn’t flat, it followed the contour of the mountains. I never knew what to expect people said it’s so hard. I’ve done a lot of hill running in Scotland but that didn’t prepare me for the heat”.
The Fife Coastal Path was the perfect preparation for the Great Wall with similar uneven terrain and numerous steps, however, the 2015 marathon proved to be one of the hottest on record with runners falling to their hands and knees crawling sections of the race.
“The biggest challenge was the heat - 32 degrees! It was the hottest year since it first started 16 years ago. Obviously, as a Scot I am not used to this kind of temperature!”
Jim found the support from locals to be a great boost to his motivation:
“After the first part of the wall you then go out into countryside and run through villages, people were giving you high fives and cheering you on.”
He completed the race in an impressive 5 hours 54 minutes and came 4th in his age group. After a few days recovery in Beijing and a quick stop over to cycle through Vietnam in preparation for his next challenge, La Marmotte, Jim returned to Fife.
Jim is now putting together a team for the Scottish Long Coastal Relay in October. The 116 mile race takes place along the Fife Coastal Path and will see Jim compete in a team of 6.
Amanda McFarlane, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “Jim is an inspiration. It is great to know that running the Fife Coastal Path stood him in good stead for the Great Wall of China marathon and we are extremely grateful for his fundraising efforts.”
You can still donate on Jim’s Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fitfifertraining/