As you know, Kashgar was the check-in point for the the Gobi March with contestants arriving before the 14th June to acclimatise, sightsee and complete the final paperwork.
The tragedy of Kashgar is that the ancient part of the town is about to be razed to the ground to make way for modern enterprise, so if you want to see how it looks – book a flight, but quickly… Kashgar has not much time left.
2009 will be the year that all the old vestiges of Kashgar’s 1,500 year old, Old City will be razed to make room for further civic development, new housing and business centres.
Bearing this in mind, the decision was made that the finish line of the Gobi March 2009 will take place in front of the largest mosque in the whole of China, situated next to the 2nd tallest statue of Chairman Mao in the world. Competitors will race through the Old City, winding in and out of the small, labyrinthine arteries and pathways lined with intricately carved doorways of centuries old residences. Bakeries, embroidery workshops and carpet weaving, family-run cottage industries are peppered along the sides of the dusty and uneven streets. Soon, all that will remain are memories, as these families who have resided here for generations are displaced.
For not much longer will you have the opportunity to wander through this walled community of local Uyghur families, and tread over the same ground that thousands of people before them have for centuries.
So there’s an idea for an extreme vacation before extreme modernisation destroys antiquity!
In the meantime, the first contestants have nearly completed stage 2 of the Gobi March, with Eric LaHaie poised to win this stage, and Diana Hogan-Murphy still the leading female.
UPDATE: Weichao Wei (China) has taken stage 2 although LaHaie is still in the overall lead by 39 minutes. He came in second – 3 minutes behind Wei. Two competitors have withdrawn today. Andrew Whiteside (United Kingdom) officially withdrew at check-point 1, and Anastasios Votis (Canada) did the same at check-point 2. Temperatures are soaring. Yesterday’s highest temperature was 39.8 degrees (Celsius).
Let me remind you that RACINGTHEPLANET is a unique category of rough country footraces that take place over seven days and some 250 kilometers in remote and culturally rich locations around the world. Competitors must carry all their own equipment and food, are only provided with water and a place in a tent each day but are supported by professional medical and operations teams.