The nearest city to the race location is Dunhuang, Gansu Province. There are direct flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Dunhuang (airport code: DNH) but you can also fly to Dunhuang from any large city in China changing planes at either Lanzhou or Xi’an. There are also direct trains to Dunhuang from Beijing, but it takes 36 hours.
The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel is the official race hotel. From here the buses depart for the start line. The hotel is located on the outskirts of the city of Dunhuang. For more information see their English website.
About the Location
The race is located in Western China, Gansu Province, Guazhou County, about 200km south of the border with Mongolia.
The location of the race is very special – here is the southernmost stretch of the Gobi Desert, and the connection between two great cultures – the Mongolian to the North and the Tibetan to the South. The mountains that the runners see in the south are Qilian Mountain Range, the start of the Tibetan Plateau, and the beginning of the cultural Tibet.
In Chinese culture this location is very special, and is steeped in history, myth and legend. Here was the edge of the Chinese civilization, and the Western-most extension of the Great Wall is very close. This place, between the sands of the North and the Tibetan mountains to the South was called the Gansu Corridor, through which all the caravans, travelling on the Great Silk Road passed through. Since the Han Dynasty, more than 2000 years ago, it guarded the entrance to Central Plains of China, the China proper, and was a thriving trade hub. More information on the history of the race location can be found in history section of the site.