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The Last Desert race

You may have picked up on blogs over the last week about some extreme marathons that happen around the world. So far we have talked about the Marathon des Sables in Morrocco, the North Pole Marathon – yes it is ON the North Polar icecap – and the Addo Elephant Trail runs in South Africa. Today we offer something slightly different – for a start this marathon is by invitation only and to qualify you must have competed in two of three other ultramarathons which take place every year in Chile, China and Egypt.

OK the Chile Marathon – known as the Atacama Crossing – is in the same format as the other three races – a 250km race run in six stages across the Atacama desert. Most stages are approximately 41 kms, the fifth stage is 73kms and the last stage is just 10kms. The Atacama desert is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains and it is the driest place on planet earth. The 2009 race will start on March 29th.

The Chinese Marathon – known as the Gobi March – again 250 kms run in six stages – is located in western China, the ancient silk route. The 2009 race is to be run in the Xinjiang Province starting from Kashgar, the six stages take on a similar pattern. The 2009 race will start on June 14th.

Egypt – not surprisingly known as the Sahara Race – the Sahara is the largest non polar desert in the world and is bordered by Libya to the west, the Sudan to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, there are only fives oases in this vast area (don’t get lost). The 2009 race will start on October 25th.

The final leg of these desert ultramarathons – cumulatively know as the 4 Deserts – is the Last Desert and is run in Antarctica. The 2008 race started on November 24th and will finish on December 4th – this includes transport from southern Argentina and moving around the Antarctic to the various race stage locations. We will bring you news of the results when the race is completed later this week. This race is only open to those individuals who have completed two of either the Atacama, Gobi or Sahara races. Only 30 people have been invited to compete in the race this year. We will update you on the date of the 2009 race when it is announced – but it is likely to be the end of November/early December 2009.

For further information on these races and for registration go to www.4deserts.com

Below is a brief video from racingtheplanet showing a preview of the Last Desert marathon on Antarctica.

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