I. Introduction to Mount Siguniang
As early as 65 million years ago, Mount Siguniang was a subtropical ocean, then through changes between land and sea and mountain-folding occurred to form the land, and it was only after further carving by the fourth ice age glacier that the extreme high mountain was formed, leaving unique geological wonders such as geological relics, glacier relics, and fourth period sections.
Mount Siguniang Scenic Area is located within Xiaojin County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. It is situated on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and belongs to the middle and western sections of the Qionglai Mountains range, with an area of 591 square kilometers. It is the snowy mountain closest to a big city in the Hengduan Mountain Range, only 120 kilometers straight line distance from Chengdu and 175 kilometers by car, about 3 hours of driving. Looking west from the city of Chengdu, the only year-round snow-capped white mountain – Yaomei Peak of Mount Siguniang can be clearly seen. Since 1992, Mount Siguniang has been successively rated as a national scenic spot, national nature reserve, national geological park, national 4A tourist attraction and world natural heritage of the giant panda habitat.
Mount Siguniang boasts world-class mountain outdoor landscape resources. Its unique Quaternary glacier geology and landscape form a drop of approximately 3350 meters from the valley to the highest peak. The distribution of mountains, extreme mountains, valleys, mixed forest belts, snow mountains, forests, lakes, grasslands, waterfalls, streams is uniform, with natural combinations. The scenic area includes 85 snowy mountains above 5000 meters, more than 100 natural ice walls with different difficulties, over 20 classic hiking routes, 400 kilometers of trail running routes, top-level cycling routes, world-class valley rafting resources and large rock wall resources, 11 excellent viewing platforms, and 6 beautiful camping sites etc. The uniquely resourceful and advantageous location provides a broad space for outdoor enthusiasts, creating excellent natural conditions for various outdoor activities, including mountain climbing, rock climbing, ice climbing, rafting, crossing, trail running, cycling, camping, mountain viewing, bird watching, flower viewing, star gazing, sea viewing and other outdoor sports. Therefore, it enjoys the reputation of “Eastern Holy Mountain, Outdoor Paradise”.
II. History of the Race
In 2013, the founder of the Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon, Arman, canvassed the idea of holding a race in the Mount Siguniang area.
In 2014, Arman, along with two mountain friends, Tang Yu and Jiyang, finished the 42km course survey from Da Feng Peak to Huahai Zi. In the same year, through crowdfunding, a total of 17 athletes and 20 volunteers participated in a 42km category race that reached the peak of Mount Siguniang’s Da Feng (5025 meters), which was defined as a zero-boundary event and was rated the best running event in China by Yidongnet.
In 2015, the first official year of the Mount Siguniang ultra marathon was held. With the sponsorship of Kailas, the marathon entered the ITRA and UTMB scoring system, marking a new era in trail running. New categories were added: a 50km duo trek and a 60km trek, of which the latter passed six of the most beautiful high mountain lakes in Haizi Gou. The race was categorized as level 12 by the International Trail Running Association and was set to be held on the first weekend of November each year. The race was awarded the “Most beautiful trail of the year” by Iranshao.com and was rated the “Most influential ultramarathon event” during the annual Chinese outdoor industry event.
In 2016, the Mount Siguniang ultra marathon had 420 participants, with 235 volunteers and staff, and 99% of the course surface was unpaved, making it a true “trail run”. It was awarded the title of “Most influential trail-running race in China” for two consecutive years.
In 2017, a 100km category was added to the Mount Siguniang ultra marathon and the race joined the UTWT Grand Slam of global trail runs. More than 1100 contestants from 21 countries and regions participated. The Mount Siguniang ultra marathon was upgraded to the Mount Siguniang Carnival, extending from the original race to a music special event, sky cinema, light and shadow impressions, wild market, UP TO 6250 and other carnival week activities. It was recognized by National Geographic China and Outdoor Adventure magazine and other well-known media as “Top 10 Classic Ultramarathons in China” and “Top 10 Coolest Marathons in the World”; once again, it was rated as the “Most Beautiful Racecourse of the Year” by the Chinese Running Network. The event drew more than 2000 people, attracting over 15,000 tourists and effectively reaching tens of millions through media outlets, multiplying the numbers of the first test race in 2014 by 65.
In 2018, the fourth Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon adjusted its courses to 35km, 45km, 60km, and 105km. A total of 1421 people successfully registered, with participants from 23 countries and regions. The event expanded to include the Mountain Film Festival, Happy Wild Gathering, Speed Climbing, Orienteering, and Guozhuang Dance Party among various carnival week activities, giving trail runners worldwide an “Appointment in the Clouds” at the Eastern Holy Mountain. The Mount Siguniang Cloud Path Flowers Trail Race and Mount Siguniang Mountaineering Summer Camp were also established, and a total of 147 people participated in these two events. Many mountain-loving runners ran to the sea of flowers with their children during the beautiful summer season in Mount Siguniang, experiencing the joy of nature.
In 2019, the fifth Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon fixed the course distances at 35km, 50km, 75km, and 100km, attracting runners from 24 countries and regions, reaching a scale of 1509 people. The theme song “Cloud Top Rendezvous” was composed, and the “Mount Siguniang Trail Running Guide” book was published. The second Mount Siguniang Cloud Path Flower Trail Race expanded to 561 participants, and the Mount Siguniang Trail Running Training Camp products started to be developed.
In 2020, the sixth Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon created a two-week race model. In addition to the distances of 35km, 50km, 75km, and 100km, the Da Feng speed climbing race and Chang Chuan Bi crossing race were added, with the event lasting nine days and creating a new golden week in Mount Siguniang. The third Mount Siguniang Cloud Path Flower Trail Race had a turnout of 629 participants.
In 2021, the seventh Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon was suspended for the entire year due to the pandemic, but the fourth Cloud Path Flower Trail Race broke the thousand-person mark, becoming the second long-distance high-altitude trail running event in mainland China to achieve this milestone. The seventh Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon was postponed to 2022, reducing the categories to the 35km, 50km, and 75km groups, and was held as scheduled on November 4, marking the restart of high-altitude trail running races in China. At the 2022 annual meeting of the Cheng-Yu Sports Industry Alliance, it was rated as the premium sports tourism event of the year in Chengdu and Chongqing, and was also recognized as an excellent sports tourism demonstration project in Sichuan Province.
The eighth Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon will officially start from November 1st to 5th in 2023
III. Overview of the Event
The 8th Mount Siguniang Ultra Marathon
November 1, 2023 – November 5, 2023
Shuangqiaogou, Changpinggou, and Haizigou Scenic Areas, Xiaojin County, Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province