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RACE INFO

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1: What is the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

The Gobi March (Mongolia) is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series of 250 kilometer / 155 mile, six-stage, seven-day, self-supported rough-country, endurance footraces. In 2016, the Gobi March celebrated the 50th race of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series and in 2018, the Gobi March moved to Mongolia!

2: Is the Gobi March (Mongolia) an ultramarathon, adventure race, expedition race or other extreme race?

The Gobi March (Mongolia) is part of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series. We like to think of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series as its own unique category or genre. The races are ultramarathons but do not fit into the classic definition of an ultramarathon. Instead, we refer to the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series as a series of self-supported rough-country endurance footraces which can be completed by running or walking.

3: What is the format of the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

The Gobi March (Mongolia) is a 250-kilometer / 155-mile race which is split up into 6 stages, over 7 days. The approximate format is provided below.

Stage 1 40 km / 24 miles Day 1
Stage 2 40 km / 24 miles Day 2
Stage 3 40 km / 24 miles Day 3
Stage 4 80-100 km / 50-62 miles* Day 4 and 5
Stage 5 40 km / 24 miles Day 6
Stage 6 10.0 km / 6.2 miles Day 7

 

NOTE 1 - The distances shown above are approximate.

NOTE 2 - Competitors must carry all their own personal gear, food and clothing in a backpack. The only assistance provided to competitors is water for drinking and preparing food (typically freeze dried meals), tents to sleep in at night and professional medical and operations support.

4: Why was this location chosen for the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

Deserts are separated into four categories: subtropical, cool coastal, cold winter and polar. The 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series are located in the largest desert of each category, also representing the driest, hottest, coldest and windiest places on Earth.

The Gobi Desert is the largest cold winter desert. A cold winter desert is created by the rain shadow effect in which a tall mountain range causes warm, moist air to rise and cool. As the air cools, water vapour condenses out and falls as rain or snow, leaving the air dry and creating a desert on the lee (upwind) side of the mountain.

The course for the Gobi March (Mongolia) has been set up to pass through some of the most beautiful, pristine and untouched land on Earth.

5: Do I have to sign up for the whole series or can I compete in just one event? Which event do I have to complete first?

You may complete the Gobi March (Mongolia), Atacama Crossing (Chile) and Namib Race (Namibia) at any time. There is no specific order in which you must do the events, and you do not have to complete all three. However, if you are interested in competing in The Last Desert (Antarctica), then you must have successfully completed at least two of the other 4 Deserts in order to qualify.

6: What is required in order to take part in the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

There is no qualification required to take part in the Gobi March (Mongolia), but competitors must be healthy and maintain a certain level of fitness. All competitors are required to submit a medical form with information on fitness level, a form with emergency contact details and a stamped doctor's certificate two months before the event.

The first step to compete in the Gobi March (Mongolia) is to fill out the online registration. The deposit then needs to be paid to secure your place.

7: Who typically competes in the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

The typical competitor is a high achiever - someone who believes in maximizing every opportunity in life. Our competitors generally work full time, some have families, many perform community service and all lead healthy lifestyles. Our competitors consist of medical doctors, professors, investment bankers, small business owners, actors, entrepreneurs, journalists, top athletes and coaches, military professionals, managers and stay-at-home moms and dads. We have many father/son, father/daughter, mother/son and brother/sister competitors. The events are international with approximately 40 countries represented in each event. At a normal event, 20% of competitors are women and 80% of competitors are men.

8: I don't think I can run 250 kilometers, can I still make the cut-off times?

The event is set up to allow for generous cut-off times. Approximately 20% of competitors will run most of the course, 60% combine running with walking, and 20% will walk the entire course. A competitor who can complete 40 kilometers / 25 miles in 8-10 hours will be able to meet the cut-off times.

9: How much training is required?

Our competitors are busy people – we don't expect them to train all the time, but a minimum amount of training is expected. Some competitors complete the event with minimal training; others want to win and spend many more hours training. Each competitor has his or her own goal. We simply want people to finish.

There are a number of resources available to help people prepare and train for the Gobi March (Mongolia); some of these are listed below:

  • Expert articles prepared by doctors, health and sports professionals on a variety of topics related to training, preparation and medical care. All of the articles are available on the RacingThePlanet website and in a special Competitor Area of the Gobi March (Mongolia) website.
  • The expert article titled Preparing for an Event is a particularly useful to help get started.
  • Competitor blogs are a great way to collect training tips to implement into a personal training plan. The blogs also provide a way for competitors to share questions and advice with one another.
  • Contact us for more information or to get connected with other competitors.

10: How far in advance do I need to sign up?

RacingThePlanet / 4 Deserts ultramarathons are very popular - some sell out more than one year in advance. We recommend that prospective competitors complete an online registration as early as possible - at least six months before the start of the event. Places are confirmed upon receipt of the deposit payment. Once the event is full, new applications will be added to the waiting list.

11: What is included in the entry fee?

The entry fee or the Gobi March (Mongolia) includes almost everything from the arrival at the event hotel on Friday before the event start until departure on Sunday after the event conclusion. Specifically, this is:

  • International staff and medical support throughout event
  • Bottled water for the duration of the event
  • Campfire with hot water available for cooking / making warm drinks in the mornings and evenings for the duration of the event
  • Tented accommodation during the event
  • Transportation to Camp 1 and from the finish line to the event hotel
  • Two nights of hotel accommodation (one night pre-event and one night post-event, double occupancy)
  • Pre-race and post-race breakfasts and one pre-race lunch
  • Awards Banquet ticket (including dinner, awards presentation and photo slideshow)
  • Finisher's medal
  • Official event t-shirt or jacket

Additional costs to consider are flights / transport to the event hotel and mandatory equipment.

12: What medical support is provided?

A fully qualified team of medical doctors from the United States, many of whom have attended a number of 4 Deserts races over the years, work at each race. Most doctors are emergency physicians with affiliations at Stanford University and other reputable medical schools. 

During the race, there is a medical doctor at almost all checkpoints to offer assistance and care on the course. There is also a medical tent located at every campsite where competitors can seek medical assistance or advice. Note that this is a self-supported race, so each competitor must bring the mandatory medical items listed in the equipment list but there is no penalty for visiting the medical team.

13: What equipment do I need?

Competitors must carry ALL mandatory equipment items, including food and electrolytes, at all times during the event. An equipment list with mandatory gear requirements can be found on the equipment page of the Gobi March (Mongolia) website. The equipment list also has a section for optional and recommended gear items.

Failure to have every mandatory item in the quantity required will result in time penalties or you may not be allowed to start the race.

14: How much does an average competitor backpack weigh?

When full, most competitor backpacks range in weight from 7-15 kilograms / 15-33 pounds, with the average backpack weighing 9 kilograms / 20 pounds (without water). Note that the backpack weight will decrease each day as food is eaten and items are used along the course.

15: Where do competitors sleep each night?

At the end of each stage, competitors, volunteers and staff gather in incredible campsites managed by a local camp team. The desert campsites are typically located in spectacular places with clear views of the night time skies. Competitors sleep in tents of up to ten people. There are also camp fires in the mornings and evenings to boil water and cook food.

16: How do I get to the start of the race?

We provide information on common flight routes and local contacts to help competitors make arrangements to get to the host town / city in Mongolia. We also provide information on staying additional nights at the hotel, airport transfers, domestic flights and other travel arrangements.

17: How can my friends, relatives and supporters follow the race?

The Gobi March (Mongolia) website is updated daily during the event with real time breaking news, stage updates, results, competitor blogs, features, and hundreds of photos and videos. Supporters can follow the event by:

18: Can I volunteer at the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

The 4 Deserts Race Series typically accepts 16-20 volunteers for the Gobi March (Mongolia) each year. Those interested in volunteering should complete a volunteer application as early as possible – we receive many more applications than we can accept. The volunteer team works hard during the event, but the job is fun and very rewarding – many volunteers return to 4 Deserts races year after year.

19: What else is special about the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

Each event highlights the most spectacular, unspoiled scenery and indigenous culture in the region with the hope of preserving the culture for generations to come. At the Gobi March (Mongolia), competitors experience the friendship and warmth of the local people, including Mongols and Kazakhs. All ethnic groups have their own unique cultures.

20: What is the best part of the Gobi March (Mongolia)?

Many say that the best part of the event is meeting other competitors and making new friends from all over the world. Many competitors meet up after the event, stopping to have dinner when passing through another competitor's hometown or getting together regularly for social events. Others choose to register for additional events as teammates. Some competitors have even met their future spouses!

21: Can I run for a charity?

Absolutely – we encourage it. Giving back is one of the primary themes of the 4 Deserts Race Series Mission. Many of our competitors have raised significant amounts of money for charities all over the world. We do what we can to help you promote your chosen charity and there are two expert articles written by past competitors: Why and How You Should fundraise and Top Ten Steps to Raising Money For Charity

22: My absolute goal is to complete The Last Desert in Antarctica. Can I compete in this event first?

No. The Last Desert (Antarctica) is an invitation-only race - it is only open to those who have completed at least two of the other 4 Deserts races, including the Gobi March (Mongolia), Atacama Crossing (Chile) and Namib Race (Namibia).

23: Any last words to describe the 4 Deserts Race Series?

Life enhancing for all, life changing for many.