“If you’re afraid - don’t do it, - if you’re doing it - don’t be afraid!” Genghis Khan
On 28 July 2019, competitors from all walks of life and from all 4 corners of the globe will begin a grueling yet unforgettable trek across 250 kilometres of some of the world’s most historic land. Battling extreme temperatures, strong winds, driving rain, beautiful sunshine, and unforgiving terrain, RacingThePlanet’s Gobi March (Mongolia) is designed to test even the most experienced of runners and hikers. Part of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series, it features ancient history and culture, all this on the green grasslands of nomads. Featuring more than 6 marathons in 7 days, the race begins from the ancient ruins of Khar Bukh Balgas, and finishes at the Erdene Zuu Monastery, located in Karakorum, the former capital of Genghis Khan’s empire.
The Start of the Gobi March (Mongolia) 2018, part of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series, organised by RacingThePlanet
The course itself is located in the Karakorum region in Central Mongolia winding its way through vast green grasslands, stupas and temples, sand dunes, great rock valleys and old forests. ‘The Long March’, the much anticipated 80 km will take you through wide Mongolian steppes as you make your way towards the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape.
While the ultramarathon may make some of us weak at the knees, it’s fair to say that most runners are capable of completing one.
STUNNING SCENERY AND NEW FRIENDS
For many, signing up for an ultramarathon is not simply to conquer a crazy distance, but to meet like-minded people, and travel to a place you wouldn’t necessarily have thought to go. RacingThePlanet Ultras are typically held on vast trails, and unlike many road races, the monotony can be quickly forgotten at the sight of great rocky valleys or towering sand dunes.
“There are people here from over 50 countries, and speaking with all of them and hearing their stories is such a humbling, inspiring experience and it makes you feel like you are a part of something greater than yourself.”
Ryan Bennett, United States, the Gobi March (Mongolia) was his third RacingThePlanet / 4 Deserts Ultramarathon.
IT’S YOUR RACE AND YOUR PACE!
Only a very small percentage of those competing in an ultra-race will run the entire course. Many runners will jog, and for most there’s no running at all.
1) Women’s winner Angela Zaeh Germany, 2) Overall winner: Wong Ho Chung, Hong Kong
“Today’s race was very tough like trail run course, many up and down hills and some mountains crossed over...I experienced loss of appetite for the first time. But this is the 4 Desert Race, so I must manage myself and I hope I can finish the final goal.” Masafumi Morimoto, Japan (Masafumi did finish. Amazing job.)
MORE MENTAL THAN PHYSICAL
The ultramarathon really is a test of mental strength as much as it is physical fitness. RacingThePlanet’s ‘The Long March’ which usually takes place during Stage 5, will test even the most seasoned of athletes. It’s approximately 80km, depending on location, terrain, and weather conditions – step by step, always moving forwards.
Team “Free to run” - Afghanistan
“Yesterday was ‘The Long March’ - 70 kms of rolling hills, mountains, and dust tracks. Afghanistan makes for great hill training, so we had no problems on the uphill climbs.
We entertained ourselves by playing ‘My Cows’, which Zeinab won. Whenever we came up another hill, we would scan the valley below for cows to claim. The one who claims the most cows by the end of the day wins.” Team “Free To Run”, Afghanistan.
It’s all about getting from one checkpoint to the next. Some count sheep…others count cows!
For many, ‘The Long March’ will continue through the night…
…and well into the following day. The strength of determination is truly inspired.
“Two days ago, I was saying this is it. That’s the last one. The last self-supported stage race. And now am not so sure. The friends you make here are different. Struggles and pain bound people in a very deep way. Friends for life as they say. True that.” Stephane Boss, France. Completed the Atacama Crossing (Chile 2017) and the Gobi March (Mongolia) 2018.
No matter how much training you’ve done, you’ll question whether it’s enough...there’ll always be that one person who has done more than you! And even the least competitive person will want to do well. But once you see just how fun it can be out there on the battlefield...you’ll only crave more!
Go on...what are you waiting for? #GobiMarch2019 #MORETHANARACE
Husband and wife, Sandy and Jean Mouret of Canada by the wall of the ancient city of Karakorum.