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Wulong's quest adds natural beauty to a physical challenge

Updated: Aug 20, 2019 By Yang Feiyue China Daily Global Print
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Those who relish a physical challenge and love nature are in for a treat as a mountain quest that brings together physical challenges and natural beauty will be held in Chongqing from Sunday to Aug 28.

The China International Mountain Quest will be staged in the city's Wulong district.

The quest has been held annually over the past 15 years, during which time about 400 professional sport teams from over 70 countries and regions have competed against one another.

This year, the race covers 200 kilometers and will include a cross-country run, canoeing, rope-ladder climbing, swimming and cave exploration.

All the racetracks involve distinctive landscape and run through local scenic spots, says Zhang Zhijian, deputy director of the hiking sport management center with the country's General Administration of Sport.

More than 30 teams are expected to take part in the quest, including about 20 from abroad. The prize money totals $200,000.

In addition to professional races, races for the general public will also be held to allow more people to savor the charm of Wulong.

About 1,000 outdoor sport fans have been invited to hike and camp in the district's mountainous regions.

"The race fully takes into account the integration of competition, the physical challenges and audience experience, as well as fashion and culture," Zhang says.

As a result of the planning, participants will experience a rapid descent from an overpass to the Wujiang River and sliding across an overhead cable from the summit of Wulong's well-known Three Natural Bridges resort to a glass viewing platform, while cross-country runners will see beautiful countryside and such tourist attractions as the Xiannyu (Fairy) Mountain during their run.

Contestants will also get a taste of boat-tracking at the Wujiang River, and better understand Wulong's boat-tracking history. Hazardous river conditions, such as the torrents, meant trackers earlier had to pull vessels along the waterway.

The local government is also trying to use the mountain quest to transform Wulong into a top outdoor sport and tourism destination globally.

Lu Hong, the district head, says: "We've developed and fine-tuned innovations (allowing participants to swim in the river, hike in the forest and valley, sprint on grasslands and explore karst caves) on the classic race routes over the years to get there."

Wulong, about 130 kilometers from downtown Chongqing, was founded in AD 619. The 2,900-square-km district boasts karsts, caves, forests, springs and wilderness.

UNESCO designated Wulong's karsts as a World Natural Heritage site in 2007, along with the Shilin karsts in Yunnan province and the Libo karsts in Guizhou province.

The district received 32 million visits in 2018 and raked in 15 billion yuan ($2.19 billion) in tourism income.

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