Marjorie Dodson competed in a half marathon on July 4, half a world away from St. Thomas, where she grew up. The race took her through the sweeping grasslands in Xiwuqi, a town in China’s inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, bordering Mongolia.
Dodson finished 12th out of 138 women competitors. It was her second year running in the Genghis Khan Grassland Extreme Marathon and Half Marathon. In 2014 she finished 18th out of 124 women.
The Genghis Khan Grassland Extreme Marathon and Half Marathon started in 2008. This year’s event included participants from 46 participating countries and regions of the world, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. No other Caribbean islands were represented.
A day after taking a 15-hour bus ride from Beijing to Xiwuqi, Dodson finished the 21.5 kilometer race in 2 hours, 20 minutes and 58 seconds. More than 700 runners and bikers (in a in a simultaneous mountain bike race) took part.
“The trail was beautiful, with rolling green hills as far as the eye could see," Dodson said. "We passed cows and sheep with herders. The blue skies and fluffy white clouds couldn’t have been more different from Beijing.”
The race goes over the Mongolian hills around the Xiwuqi, starting and finishing in the town’s Culture Square, she said.
Dodson is the daughter of St. Thomas attorneys Daryl Dodson and Marjorie Roberts. She attended Antilles School from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade. It was there she started learning Mandarin, taught by Moira Gargano, according to information supplied by her mother.
Dodson continued her studies of Mandarin and East Asian history at Phillips Exeter Academy and Wesleyan University, where she majored in East Asian studies and spent a semester at Yunnan University in Kunming, China.
She has lived in China since December 2013 and works as a government relations consultant with the firm of APCO Worldwide in its Beijing office.
In her spare time, Dodson is an avid runner with the Beijing Hash House Harriers.