Frequently Asked Questions





Which packages offer guaranteed race entry?  All of the packages listed on our site include guaranteed race entry.  


Can my family join me, even if they don’t want to run?  Absolutely!  Our packages are created so that everyone will have a fantastic experience.  It is only on race day that nonrunners may want to find alternate activities to do.  Everyone is welcome to join us on race day at the finish line to cheer on your loved one.


What is the shortest length of stay necessary to attain the guaranteed entry? The minimum stay is five (5) nights.  You are welcome to stay for less, but there is no refund for unused components.


I will already be in China and do not require a package.  Can you still assist me with the race entry?  The race is extremely limited within the local market.  They will only accept folks that can provide a work visa or study visa that confirm their local status. 


You offer several different packages that reflect very different prices.  How do I know which is the best package for me? Not all packages are created equal.  Our agents can walk you through and discuss the different package options right over the phone.  Call us at 617-242-7845.


Why is the Marathon Tours package so much more than the other two options?  The Marathon Tours package really isn’t more expensive, it is more inclusive.  Our package includes all sightseeing, admissions, most meals, daily English speaking guides, Marathon Tours Staff, and all tips and gratuities.  A side by side price comparison will show that the Marathon Tours package offers a higher quality, more inclusive package.


If I book the 5 nights budget package or 6 night budget package, can Marathon Tours still assist me with pre or post travel?  Yes.  We would be happy to have you join us for our pre-trips or post trips.  If you would prefer a different destination, just let us know.  We have specialists that can create the ideal package for you.


If I book 5 nights budget package or 6 night budget package, can I still expect to receive the same service and quality experience that Marathon Tours is known for?  Thank you for asking.  Although we will not have any Marathon Tours Staff assigned to either of these packages, you will be in the capable care of Albatros Travel of Denmark.


How is the food?  Generally, most meals are served family style.  The dishes are brought out one by one and placed in the middle of the table.  Some meals are served buffet style.  The food is well prepared and flavorful.  Do not expect “sweet and sour chicken” or egg foo young, these are American creations.  Do not expect soy sauce and hot mustard on the table.  Vegetarian or gluten free meals can be arranged.


I have celiac disease and my spouse is vegetarian.  Will there be special meals to accommodate our dietary needs?  Over the past couple of years we have experienced more and more requests for special dietary needs.  We have been able to arrange for meals for everyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions.  We have designated tables for vegetarians and special signs in Mandarin that describe celiac restrictions.  Please do not wait until the end of the meal to inform us that you didn't get anything to eat.


How long is the drive from Beijing to the Great Wall start/finish?  The distance from Beijing to the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall is about 2 hours.  Marathon Tours provides transportation in air-conditioned motorcoaches with a local guide.  Ice cold bottled water is available every day.


Is tipping included?  We have included the gratuity to the local guide, daily driver, and airport baggage handling on the deluxe package and on the pre and post tours.  For those on the extension to the Yangtze River cruise, tipping on the cruise is not included.  This fee can be paid upon disembarkation at your discretion. For thos eon the budget package, gratuities are not included.


Do I need a passport or Visa?  A valid passport is required of all travelers.  Your passport should have at least 2 available visa pages, and be valid for at least 6 months after your last intended day in China.  A travel visa is required of all US and Canadian residents.  Marathon Tours can assist you with attaining the necessary paperwork and proper visa.


Will I be met at the airport when I arrive and how do I get to the hotel?  Our deluxe package include airport Meet & Greet service for clients arriving on Wednesday May 17 between the hours of 10:00am – 4:00pm at Beijing International Airport (PEK).  We can assist you with airport transfers outside of these times, or on different days, for an additional charge.  Return airport transfers are included for clients departing from Beijing International Airport (PEK) on May 23, between the hours of 8:00am – 4:00pm. 


Do I need any shots or vaccinations?  No shots or vaccinations are required (at the time printing).


With the bird flu and bad air quality recently in the news, is it safe to run in Beijing?  The air quality in Beijing is not good.  Fortunately the race is held 2 hours outside of Beijing, away from the car pollution and exhaust.  Folks with respiratory problems, such as asthma, may find it tough to breath in Beijing on some days.  Be sure to bring an extra inhaler. The bird flu was an isolated incident and has been contained.


I see on the news that the air quality in Beijing is worse now than ever before. Is it safe to travel? We have this concern from runners every year. The reports vary from year to year, month to month to month, and from bad to worse. There is a valid concern for those who have respiratory issues such as asthma.  There are days that the air is thick with pollution.  We advise that these folks bring extra medications and inhalers.  The event has never been cancelled due to air pollution.  The event venue is 2 hours outside of Beijing, allowing for better air quality.


I heard that you can't drink the water in China?  Really? As a general rule, this is true.  Even the water from the tap in your room at the hotel should not be ingested.  The hotels all provide two (2) complimentary bottles of water each day in your room (sometimes even more upon request).  All of our motorcoaches also provide bottled water every day.


Do they offer a sports drink on the course?  What is it?  Bottled water is provided throughout the course, sports drink only a couple of times.  It is a Danish sports drink.  It is advised that you do not try new sports drinks during a race.  You may consider bringing instant Gatorade packets with you.   The packets are small and convenient and can be mixed quite easily.