It’s been a while since I wrote about the goings on at RacingThePlanet, but while I may have been stationary, they have certainly not.
For starters, the 4 Deserts Club is growing with 128 members and currently 50 possible new members knocking at the door eager to join this elite group of extreme athletes. Remember that to become a member you have to successfully complete four 250-kilometre, self-supported 7-day footrace across the hottest, coldest, windiest and driest places on Earth to become a member of the 4 Deserts Club. These events are the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China, the Sahara Race in Egypt/Jordan and The Last Desert in Antarctica. There are no exceptions to this rule.
And then there’s the 4 Deserts Grand Slam – the same thing except that all 4 Deserts have to be completed in one calendar year! 28 supreme athletes are members and 10 are already knocking on the 2014 door!
Racing The Planet’s roving race this year was held last month in Iceland. 270 people started the race and 85% of the field completed it. 50% of the field were returning to Racing the Planet and 17 were 4 Deserts Club members.
RacingThePlanet’s Roving Race will take place in the beautiful island of Madagascar on 31 August 2014. The island, “(569 times the size of Hong Kong but half the size of Texas) offers a mind-boggling mix of terrain. To the east are low-lying tropical forests; to the west, grassy plains filled with bizarre-looking baobab trees, spiny forests and winding rivers. To the north, fragrant coastlines known for their spice as well as the Tsingy ranges; the south, Jurassic sandstone massifs. And in the centre, a series of hills, inactive volcanoes and fields of rice paddy fields. Simply put: a visual and sensory feast.” It will be a fitting setting for their seventh running of this race. This coupled with rich flora and fauna, much of which is not found anywhere else on earth, provide an exotic location for the race and many athletes have already signed up for it.
The Sahara Race is, by necessity, on a march of its own into Jordan. This is only temporary and dependent on a new government being put in place in Egypt. It will start in the historic Wadi Rum and finish in the ancient city and World heritage site of Petra. Not a bad place to have to sit out the bad times. The terrain will include sand (hard packed, soft sand and some sand dunes), gravel roads and dirt roads. The course will also cross a salt lake, pass through unique rock formations and across a stunning canyon. Approximately 200 competitors from 40 countries are expected to take part in the race.
The 2014 Sahara Race is scheduled to start on 16th February
The 2015 Sahara race will start on the 15th February.
The Gobi March is set for 1st June 2014 and the 31st May in 2015.
The Atacama Crossing will start on 5th October 2014, but pre-race meetings etc will begin on the 2nd October. This is the 10th time that RacingThePlanet have held their 250 km self-supported race here and it is a challenge for any athlete to consider. The Atacama Desert is:
- recognized as the driest place on earth – it is 50 times more arid than California’s Death Valley.
- it has the most lunar-like landscapeon Earth and is frequently used by NASA to test its planetary rover vehicles.
- It is 15 million years old and some of the oldest mummies found on earth come from the Atacama Desert, dating as far back as 7000 years.
- The entire Atacama Crossing is held at least 2.3 kilometers / 1.4 miles above sea level and covers the distance required to make a horizontal crossing of the country of Chile (250 kilometers / 150 miles).
- The hghest elevation on the course is at Camp 1, which is more than 3,000 meters / 10,000 feet above sea level.
- Daytime temperatures could reach as high as 40°C / 104°F, while nighttime temperatures may drop to 5°C / 41°F or below.
The Atacama Crossing kicks off on 5th October, 2014
The 2015 date for the Atacama Crossing will be the 4th October.
The Last Desert, the race that is held in Antarctica, is scheduled for the 1st – 11th November 2014. This race is only held every second year and you HAVE to qualify for the event by having successfully completed at least two of the other 4 Deserts – the Gobi March (China), the Atacama Desert (Chile) and/or the Sahara Race (Jordan).
The Last Desert will be held on 1 – 11th November, 2014