My name is John McKenna and I am a New Zealander living permanently in Shanghai.

I own and operate Travel-the-Real-China which provides tailor-made tours for all over China. 

Over the past few years I have had a lot of fun adventuring,

It all started from a very active sporting childhood, which lead up to becoming a personal Trainer and Aerobics instructor back in the 90’s.

I got a job with BP Exploration as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, based out in the North Sea, advising and training BP workforce that was based out on the oil rigs. There thousands of men and women living on big floating hotels that are parked next to the oil rigs, at any one time there are around 30,000 people living and working throughout the North Sea.

Firefighting, survival training if the helicopter crashes into the sea, all makes for an exciting job and a few adventures along the way,

I started doing triathlons in the late 80's and this got me hooked on multi-sports

Life brought me to Shanghai China where I had the pleasure to do a motorcycle rally up in the Xin Jiang region of China

The Taklimakan Desert Race out of Urumqi in 2006 was a staged motorbike rally covering 4000 km of terrain with climbs to over 4000m.  This major sporting event featured approximately 60 riders, over 100 4WD support vehicles, plus TV & support crews, with the odd police thrown in.

It was a wild few weeks with plenty of ups and downs.

I entered The Gobi Desert March of 2007 out of Kashgar, a 250 km foot race up in the Xinjiang province of China. Its one of the ‘4 Deserts’ series for that is run by ‘RacingThePlanet’ it is a unique race that is made up of good mixture of Mountain passes and desert plains. It’s a little different to some of the other long distance races that can be done around the world as it combines a cultural flavor to the week, not just running across the desert for 7 days.

In 2010 I am managed, trained and advising a group 24 from Shanghai to compete in the Gobi March 2010 Race. This group was made up of 24 local expat men and woman and two from out of China.  I managed and directed all the group training; advised on gear & food selection, and provided general tips and tricks to help us all face this big challenge.

A tough week, a great week…, enjoyed by all.

2011 and 2012 – I took groups to the Shangri-la Challenge, this is a 3 day, 100km race up in the Yunnan province.

2014 – I did the 3 day, 105km challenge in the Guizhou area , on road, a marathon each day (2 days ) with a half marathon the finish, ouch this one hurt .


With my focus for now on half Ironman Triathlons, my riding and swimming skills have got a lot better.

I just qualified as a AUST SWIM swim coach to help with my swimming

Let me help with your big project/challenge, if you prepare well the race / challenge is so much easier mentally, physically and soooooo much safer  

Contact me for more info