4-dessert-race-halfway

They're halfway through the toughest footrace in the world.

It has been predicted that the 165 RacingThePlanet competitors from 30 countries will experience soaring temperatures and extreme weather during this event, adding to the already challenging nature of the 250 kilometre rough-country footrace.

Five years ago, temperatures reached as high as 50 degrees Celsius and with this year’s race taking place in June instead of April, competitors could be racing in similar if not hotter temperatures.

“The competitors are going to find the heat in the Gobi Desert oppressive. It’s not humid, but below sea-level it can be stifling when there’s no breeze. They will also have to prepare for the worst as the weather is so unpredictable in the Gobi, storms can blow up from nowhere and temperatures can vary wildly between night and day and in different areas along the 250 kilometre course. Couple this with the changing terrains the competitors will face and the race will be a stern test of good preparation and adaptability, said Founder of RacingThePlanet, Mary Gadams.

On his blog David Casselli from New Zealand (Survived. Hell it’s getting hot here) summed up day 3:  “The last stage (3) was running up and down moonscapes. I have never run across so many sharp rocks in my life. And …. to cap it off, they made us climb a peak and run down the ridge line. Terrifying …. but ‘fast and loose’ was the solution.

It’s 40C and I am roasting.

Day 4 tomorrow – 37km before we take on the 99km longest day. The river was great, but the next 2 days sound terrible.”

Denvy Lo from Hong Kong was, at the end of day 3, thoroughly enjoying herself: “I am enjoying every minute of it here – life should be like this, I reckon, as all I do is run, eat and sleep. Brilliant.”

Results for Day 4 have just come in. 125 runners have completed all 4 stages. David Parr (33) from Great Britain is leading the field with an impressive overall time of 11hrs 34mins 40 secs. Denvy Lo (29) is the leading woman with an overall time of 17hrs 52 mins 59 secs. 25 people have not completed all 4 sections, 3 have withdrawn and 5 did not start at all.

Parr is raising money for Sparks, the children’s medical research charity. Denvy Lo is supporting the Shark Rescue Charity.

Wanda Summers from the UK is one of the amazing people taking place in this race. She ran the Marathon des Sables in 2008, but broke her back when parachuting in 2009. Yet here she is in this most extreme of extreme races with a very admirable overall time of 22 hrs and 47 mins under her belt at the moment. This is her first attempt at a 4 Deserts race. She is supporting the charity Shelter Box Trust – a registered UK charity which provides emergency aid for victims of natural and other disasters anywhere in the world.

An inspiration to us all…

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