You may complete the Namib Race (Namibia), Atacama Crossing (Chile) and Gobi March (China/Mongolia) at any time. There is no specific order in which you must do the races, 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.
There is no qualification required to take part in the Namib Race, 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 race.
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, students, entrepreneurs and stay-at-home moms and dads. We have many father/son, father/daughter, mother/son and brother/sister competitors. The races are international with at least 40 countries represented in each race. At a normal race, 20-25% of competitors are women and 75%-80% of competitors are men.
The race is set up to allow for generous cut-off times – they are based on a 4km / 2.5 mile per hour pace. In general, 20% of competitors will run most of the course, 60% combine running with walking, and 20% will walk the entire course. A competitor that can complete 40 kilometers / 25 miles in 8-10 hours should be able to meet the cut-off times.
RacingThePlanet / Deserts Ultramarathons are very popular some races sell out more than six months in advance. We recommend that prospective competitors complete an online registration as early as possible and at least six months before the start of the race. Places are confirmed upon receipt of the deposit payment. Once the race is full, new applications will be added to the waiting list.
Competitors must carry ALL mandatory equipment items, including food and electrolytes, at all times during the race. An equipment list with mandatory gear requirements can be found on the equipment page of the Namib Race website. The equipment list has also a section of optional and recommended gear items.
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.
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 skies. Competitors sleep in tents of up to ten people. There are also camp fires in the mornings and evenings to prepare food and mingle with new friends.
We typically accept 16-20 volunteers for the Namib Race each year. Those interested in volunteering should complete a volunteer application as early as possible. We accept volunteers on a rolling basis and receive many more applications than we can accept. The volunteer team works hard during the race, but the job is fun and very rewarding. Many volunteers return to our races year after year.
Many say that the best part of the race is meeting other competitors and making new friends from all over the world. Many competitors meet up after the race, stopping to have dinner when passing through another competitor’s hometown or getting together regularly for social events. Others choose to register for additional races as teammates. Some competitors have even met their future spouses!
Absolutely - we encourage it. Giving back is one of the primary themes of the RacingThePlanet mission. Many of our competitors have raised significant amounts of money for charities all over the world.