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The course of the Atacama Crossing takes competitors across a wide variety of terrains and includes approximately 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) of ascents and descents over the 7-day race.

Starting at above 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) in the Arcoiris Valley, the race gradually descends over the six stages to finish in the pretty town of San Pedro de Atacama at an elevation of 2,400 meters (7,900 feet).

Competitors will tackle sand-dunes, river crossings, gravel, loose rocks, hard packed earth and even waist high grass during the event. This is in addition to the infamous salt flats that even the most dexterous of runners find nearly impossible to cross at full-speed.

Estimated Distances
Stage 1
35.2 km / 21.9 miles
Stage 2
41.8 km / 26.0 miles
Stage 3
40.0 km / 24.9 miles
Stage 4
40.1 km / 24.9 miles
Stage 5
76.8 km / 47.7 miles
Stage 6
16.0 km / 9.9 miles
During each stage checkpoints are located approximately every 10 kilometers (6 miles) along the course.

At each checkpoint competitors must:

- Be logged on arrival by the race staff.
- Take a minimum allocation of drinking water with them for the next leg.
Abide by any instructions given by the race staff due to sudden adverse conditions (e.g. thunderstorms, sandstorms, fog, etc).

At each checkpoint competitors can:

- Rest for a short time and take advantage of the shade the checkpoint tent affords.
- Seek advice and treatment if appropriate from the medical doctor at the checkpoint.

Please note that adverse weather and other factors can result in changes being made to the course.

The Long March
The much-anticipated Stage 5 in all of the 4 Deserts events is known as The Long March. Generally, this stage is between 70 and 90 kilometers (43 to 56 miles) long, roughly double the length of the previous four stages.

The stage follows much the same format as the previous ones: checkpoints are located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) apart; however, many competitors will take the opportunity (the only one in the week) to have a few hours sleep at a designated Overnight Checkpoint.

At the Overnight Checkpoint, there will usually be a tent in which competitors can sleep as well as a campfire or stove where hot water is available for drinks and meals.

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