The past several weeks in our home have been focused on The Great Wall of China Marathon. Recently Jenny and her running friend Katie partnered up with creators of The Great Wall of China Marathon event to build a new Website to help promote the event and bring in more customers for an incredible annual journey. As many of you know, Jenny loves to run and participate in marathon events, this is a great business venture for them because it will help raise awareness and participation for The Great Wall of China Marathon, giving runners an opportunity to experience a unique event in their lives.
I’ve heard that running on the Great Wall of China is an exhilarating adventure that must be experienced!
This year we were planning on attending, however things came up and we didn’t make it, but we will be attending and running the 2013 marathon! Over the last few weeks Jenny and Katie were hard at work preparing for the new site. It launched today! Jenny did the design and development while Katie helped provide some of the sites structure and copy writing.
I jumped in to help set up the backend of the site on Word Press on our Media Temple servers. One challenge was that we needed to have a fairly robust form engine for the Registration and Contact page that could handle products, services, conditional functions, and talk with PayPal. At first were thinking of using an e-commerce store, but it wasn’t really the right type of experience as the registration form had to be completely custom-built for the optimal user experience with the least amount of distractions.
After a bit of researching I concluded that Gravity Forms by Rocket Genius should be able to handle the project needs. I must say, after spending a few days with Gravity Forms, I am delightfully surprised at how robust and easy it is to use. It’s a very capable form tool that allows you to build rich complex forms in no time at all. We ended up going with their developer licence so that we could utilize all their plug-ins (or add-ons as they call them), most importantly the PayPal plugin. Plus we can use it on as many sites as we wish, so no limitations.
Of all the other form tools out there that I’ve read about and tried, none of them offered the simplicity and robust features that I’ve found with Gravity Forms. While it could use more features, we were able to get our needs met. For example, one of the features we needed was the ability to get a discount on the registration with a promo code. This functionality isn’t built-in yet, it is on the road map, but after diving through the support forums I found a work around that worked for us.
If you need robust forms, I highly recommend Gravity Forms, go with the developer license.
The Great Wall of China Marathon Launched!
After a collaborative team effort The Great Wall of China Marathon site has officially launched, it is open for business and taking registrations. The girls did a great job on the site, big kudos to them. The site even offers a deluxe tour package that provides transportation, hotel, landmark tours of Beijing, and a special event with guest speakers, aka celebrity runners. They’ve even partnered up with a trainer to help train you for running the challenges the Wall will throw at you. All you gotta do is arrange your flight to Beijing, China. Same city that hosted the Summer Olympics four years ago.
Visiting the Great Wall of China can be quite the spiritual adventure, however being able to run a segment of it for a marathon must be an exhilarating experience. As noted on the site: “Much of the Wall is still in its original state and in ruins. You’ll encounter loose stones, gravel, missing steps, and crumbling walls. Trees and grass in some areas on the Wall. Runners must use extreme caution as there are sections of the race course where you must exit the Wall and run on the trail along side the Wall to avoid extreme hazards.” To me, that sounds like a lot of fun and I know that Jenny and I are looking forward to attending this race.
If you’re a runner, you should check it out. For many it will be a once in a lifetime experience that they will never forget. I hope to see you at the start line!
- The Great Wall of China Marathon Official Site
- The Great Wall of China Marathon on Facebook
- The Great Wall of China Marathon on Twitter
- Great Wall of China on Wikipedia
- Gravity Forms
- Media Temple
Have you been to the Great Wall of China or run the The Great Wall of China Marathon? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading!