116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
By Jeff Hare, correspondent
Michael Gutschmidt of Lisbon got his “once-in-a-lifetime” sporting experience recently, running a marathon on the Great Wall of China. According to a release from the event, 2,548 participated in the race in mid-May. Gutschmidt finished in a time of 5 hours, 15 minutes, good for 225 out of 776 male competitors.
“Runners from all over the world brought energy to the race,” Gutschmidt said, “which made it a friendly, outstanding experience that I'll never forget.”
Part of what made the run so memorable was the 5,000-plus steps on the Great Wall. In addition, participants ran through many rural villages along the route.
“I loved the little kids coming with flowers and to say hello during the race,” Gutschmidt said. “It really was a cool thing.”
Gutschmidt, a Marine, is stationed in Japan.
“It was a Marine buddy of mine who knew about the race,” he said. “He was supposed to go with me, but he ended up getting deployed to Afghanistan.”
As with all marathons, there was a great deal of preparation for this event, considered one of the toughest runs in the world.
Gutschmidt, a 2011 Cedar Rapids Kennedy graduate, did a series of full and half marathons to prepare for the grueling run in China.
He would like to expand his resume, maybe another “once-in-a-lifetime” event.
“I'd love to do it again next year, but I am also looking at a few others like the Safari of Africa or the Greece Marathon,” he said.
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