If you came to Beijing for the first time more than ten years ago, you might have thought it strange that the Chinese capital, unlike just about every other city in the world, didn’t have a big river.

Actually, Beijing always had a big river in its west when it was the capital of Imperial China; one that burst its banks, flooded the whole city and changed its course with enough regularity to earn itself the name “Wuding”, which in Chinese means “not fixed.” The Qing emperors built embankments to contain it and stop the flooding problem, eventually changing its name to the “Yongding”, which by contrast means “eternally fixed.”

And if you think that’s impressive, the people who came afterwards went further than controlling it, to killing it. Dams built on its higher reaches in Shanxi in the 1950s and 60s held back its flow. Beijing’s burgeoning population and industry sucked out its waters. There was also climate change, which didn’t help. From the 1970s onwards, before it reached the capital the Yongding was running completely dry.

Starting a decade ago, however, the city spent $3 billion to resurrect the Yongding River. With better water management, industry relocation and water diverted from Southern China, the river has been reborn in the form of a green corridor, made up of ten parks, two wetlands and six lakes.

Did the city’s leaders do this because they realized that by killing Beijing’s mother river they had completely and totally f**ked everything up? No! Of course they did because they were prescient enough to anticipate that a friendly running club like ours would benefit from another cool trail.

Join us this Saturday for the Resurrected River Run! We will start under the biggest and most spectacular bridge in Beijing. Then we will run along the river and through a wetland park (watch out for egrets!) before crossing over, detouring via a hillside pagoda and coming down for a drink. Then we will run back along the other side of the river. There will be spectacular views of the bridge, Shijingshan and Shougang. There will be an old railway to run along and a mag-lev track, with floating trains with no wheels. And there will also be German beer!

Hares: Pickle Boy, John the Baptist, Just Phil and Little Red Shittinghood

Type: A to A, with bag drop at the restaurant if required. This trail is not dog-friendly since it is mostly in parks.

When: Saturday, October 1st, 2022. Meet at 1:30pm, run/walk starts at 2:00pm

Hashcash: 30 rmb for run and circle only, 105 rmb for run, circle and dinner afterwards

Where: Starts on the towpath of the east side of the Yongding River, just to the north of the New Shougang Bridge – 新首钢大桥。

The restaurant is Hao Shifu on Gu’an Road (古安路)in Shijingshan: 好食府(中海金玺公馆店),address: 石景山区城兴街85号院13号楼1至2层112

D’erections: Xin Shougang subway station Exit C (新首钢地铁站C出口)on the newly built Line 11 in Beijing’s west. Walk south for 50m until you get to the Shijingshan Road (石景山路) then look west and you will be able to see the giant bridge about 700m down, like a white, wonky pair of McDonald’s arches. Walk under the bridge to enter the river park, then north along the river’s east bank for about 50m before descending to the lower river path where we will be waiting.

If you require bag drop, walk east along the Shijingshan Road, then north up Gucheng West Road (古城西街) and east along east along Gu’an Road, where the restaurant is about 80m on the left. The restaurant can also be reached from Gucheng subway 古城地铁站,which is at the west end of Line 1.

Pins for both the locations of the starting point and restaurant will be posted on the morning of the run.

As usual, this is an adult activity in which we behave like children so expect to see nonsense, licentiousness, a modest level of drunkenness and considerable rude behaviour going on. And partial nudity. Don’t be offended; it’s jocular, we’re always like that and if you’re here you’re doing it too. For all of those reasons this isn’t a kid-friendly activity so – unless you’re table 1 – best stay home. More regular members of society are of course very welcome and can of course take part, but be polite, be tolerant, don’t be purposefully rude and remember that if you’re running there’s no winner. Oh, and you’ll need to bring a green jiankangbao with a sufficiently-recent hesuan or we’ll be all huffy. And a mask. On! On!