Friday, 08 June 2012
Three Women’s Champions Battle for the Top Spot at the Gobi March 2012; A Record 42 Nations will be Represented
[31 May 2012 Hong Kong] – One of the world’s most well-known multi-stage footraces, the Gobi March 2012, will see 42 countries represented, including a record number of participants from across Asia.
From Sunday, 10 June through Saturday, 16 June 2012, 163 competitors will
participate in the six-stage, 250-kilometer self-supported footrace across the Gobi Desert as the
Gobi March returns to the Kashgar region for the ninth edition of the event.
The Gobi March 2012 sees three women’s champions from recent RacingThePlanet events
taking part, making the women’s race the most competitive ever.
Germany’s Anne-Marie Flammersfeld, 33, won this year’s Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2012, while
Nahila Hernandez San Juan of Mexico, 37, was the quickest woman in the Sahara Race (Egypt)
2011. With Canadian Stephanie Case, 29, women’s champion of RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2011,
also competing, the winners of the last three RacingThePlanet events, excluding May’s
RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012, will vie for the title in the Gobi March 2012. Spain’s Vicente Juan
Garcia Beneito, 36, who was the overall champion of the Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2012, is the
favorite to win the men’s category.
While experience in the 4 Deserts Series of 250-kilometer, week-long races over rough terrain is
a definite asset, over 60 per cent of competitors will make their RacingThePlanet debut in the
Gobi March. Forty-four competitors from Greater China, including 25 from Hong Kong and 17
from Mainland China, will take part on their home terrain, further demonstrating the growth of
endurance running events in the region.
For the first time since 2009, the race returns to the Kashgar region, with the historically and
culturally rich city of Kashgar as the event’s base. Among the scenic highlights is Shipton’s Arch,
known locally as Heaven’s Gate, a natural arch taller than the Empire State Building. It took
National Geographic years to find the fabled arch, which was documented in Eric Shipton’s
memoirs of life in the far west of China. The course will also take competitors through local
Uyghur villages, where residents have rarely been visited by outsiders.
Says RacingThePlanet founder Mary Gadams: “The Gobi March 2012 is shaping up to be an
incredibly competitive race in the women’s competition with three recent champions taking part.
I’m especially excited to see so many countries represented with a large number from Greater
China and across Asia as the sport continues to develop at a rapid pace.”
The annual Gobi March is a self-supported race. With the exception of water and a place in a
tent, competitors are required to carry all of their equipment, supplies and food for the duration of
Three teams will compete in the Gobi March 2012, including Team Esquel, a three-person squad
from China, including one participant from Xinjiang province; Team STC, a four-member triathlon
team based in Shanghai; and Team JDRF Born to Run from Australia, whose five members are
aiming to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in 2012.
In total, 18 competitors are in the hunt for the 4 Deserts Grand Slam – completing the Atacama
Crossing, the Gobi March, October’s Sahara Race and The Last Desert in Antarctica all within a
single calendar year. In addition to Team JDRF Born to Run and Atacama Crossing champions
Flammersfeld and Garcia Beneito, competitors such as Indian psychologist Shrimathi
Swaminathan and French journalist Cecile Bertin are aiming for to reach the rare achievement.
American student, James Gaston, 21, is extending the challenge to complete all 1,250 kilometers
of RacingThePlanet events in 2012 – only two people have achieved this to-date. He is
competing with his sister, Tara Gaston.
The Gobi March will again support the Esquel Y.L. Yang Education Fund through various
fundraising activities in the local area, including providing a computer lab for one of the local
About the Gobi March 2012 (10 June – 16 June 2012) www.gobimarch.com??
The Gobi March is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts series of 250-kilometer, rough-country footraces.
The race takes place in China's ancient Gobi Desert in Kashgar.
The Gobi March's challenges include the changes in temperature from the cool highlands to heat
of the desert, potential sandstorms and variety of terrain – soft sand-dunes, rocky tracks, steep
hills, ridges and riverbeds with multiple water-crossings.
Competitors must plan carefully to maintain the delicate balance between physical exertion,
nutrition and hydration in order to successfully complete the race.
About the 4 Deserts - www.4deserts.com
The 4 Deserts is the world’s leading endurance footrace series, a unique collection of world-class races that take place over 7 days and 250 kilometers in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet.
Competitors must go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-
supported in the most inhospitable climates and formidable landscapes, they must carry all their
own equipment and food, and are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent each
night to rest.
The series, named again by TIME magazine as one of the world’s Top 10 endurance
competitions, comprises the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China, the Sahara
Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica.
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