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RacingThePlanet Celebrates its 40th Event


Many big ideas start small.  Benjamin Franklin went out in a lightning storm, and that experiment became what we now know as electricity.  A small restaurant in San Bernardino, California, slinging fries and burgers became the worldwide behemoth we now know as McDonald’s.


But Mary Gadams always intended to start big and stay big when she founded RacingThePlanet in February 2002.


“I put so much into creating it,” Mary says. “I want it to outlive me, so I can pass it on to others who have the same vision of keeping one of the most life-enriching experiences alive.”


Mary and the RacingThePlanet team celebrated more than a decade together and their 40th race at RacingThePlanet: Iceland 2013.


“I can say that I have enjoyed all 40 of the races,” she says.  Between the 4 Deserts and the annual Roving Race, the company’s history has now spanned ten different countries.  It takes a dedicated core of workers and a rotating cast of volunteers to make every race happen.


“I’m proud of the solid management team, the world class volunteers and the world class medical team,” Mary says. “I’m grateful to all the wonderful local teams who open their houses and hearts to make sure we are well looked after.”


Mary’s management team consists largely of women – but that wasn’t by design.


“We have simply hired the best people for the job. They just happen to be women,” she says.  The company’s makeup closely follows a trend in Mary’s home country of the United States.  There, women are leading more than ever before. “I think Hong Kong is closely following the U.S. Frankly, women are slowly taking over the world.”


Women are also slowly taking over the course at RacingThePlanet events. Twenty-nine percent of Iceland 2013 competitors were female, the largest representation out of any event in the company’s history.


“The percentage of women is definitely on the increase, but a lot of women still struggle to juggle taking care of kids, as well as training and being away during the race.”


Just like training, managing the races is always a monumental task, and never predictable.


“Floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, coups and civil unrest will always ensure the job is never routine,” says Mary.  Running a company of her own makes it well worth it. “It gives me the opportunity to work on projects I love.”


That love comes through kilometer after kilometer, country after country.