11The Beijing Marathon: Tsinghua, Jai-yo!
The Beijing Marathon is a huge event for Tsinghua University. Thousands of students run it every year, and they are identifiable by their university arm-bands. I ran the half-marathon, and I was nervous about my level of preparation, but the race turned out to be a lot of fun. Over 30,000 runners gathered on Tiananmen Square at the starting line; it was total pandemonium. The city closed the Second Ring Road, Beijing’s beltway, for the occasion.
People ran in jeans, dress shoes and emergency ponchos. Many ran with backpacks. Some carried huge flags on aluminum poles. Hundreds of buses lined the course, and runners who tired caught a ride.
I wore a Tsinghua University School of Mechanical Engineering arm-band, courtesy of Jenny, a Chinese friend and student in the department. The camaraderie among the university students was amazing. Every time I passed another engineer, he would smile, wave to me and yell, “Tsing-hua, jai-yo!” which means, “Tsinghua, lets go!”