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CONCLUDED 19 MAY
NEXT ROVING RACE: ECUADOR 2015
Carlos Garcia Prieto Interview

The Roving Race in Jordan has one of the most exquisite settings of any RacingThePlanet event, and the entire journey was born from the mind of master course maker, Carlos Garcia Prieto. This Spanish racing wizard, who spends his days imagining buildings rising into the sky as an architect, is also an avid racer and multi-time designer of RacingThePlanet courses.

 
With the Sahara Race 2009-11 and RacingThePlanet:  Australia already under his belt, he tells us why Jordan may be the best course thus far.

 
“The entire course in Jordan is a highlight,” marvels the Spaniard. “From the start in the Wadi Rum desert that is like running in paradise until the arrival at Petra, the whole race is full of wonderful angles and spots.”

 
As a runner and 4 Deserts veteran, Carlos knows what combination of sights and terrain are needed to keep the mind engaged. “I try to change areas constantly,” he says. “Make the race as interesting as possible.  With Jordan as a playground, it was not very hard to set the course because there are many astonishing places, so I just put them together.”

 
Perhaps the best thing about this course is how it becomes increasingly impressive as the days progress. Carlos predicts that competitors will be amazed by the start of the Long Stage on Thursday, as they pass through the Wadi Aheimer Canyon. From here, they will go uphill to the Turkish road where they will see the breathtaking views of the Araba Desert beyond.

 
The best is being saved to the last day: “People will be able to traverse the backyard of the protected area of Petra, the city of the Nabateans,” explains Carlos. They will enter The Siq, a natural geological fault with walls up to 182 meters in height that will lead them to The Treasury, the most elaborate building in the ancient city. “The Treasury will put the icing on the cake of one of the best RacingThePlanet Roving Races,” he promises us.

 
Carlos has had his fair share of adventures in planning this route. Casting his mind back to when he was here for a scouting trip in July 2011, he explains how he stayed with a local guide in the desert for two weeks. “Everything was fine but the menu included sardines every single day,” he says, which wasn’t his favorite choice. “The second week, looking for a location for Camp 3, I wandered around a good spot that we finally chose and found a great canyon that the guide didn’t even know about. It was very narrow and challenging.  They gave it my name – “Abu Sardine Canyon.”

 
He’s full of stories, but competitors will be hard pressed to actually have time to talk to Carlos as the race unfolds this week. With his course team-members, Barbara Gutierrez of Spain and Mark Lindsey of the United Kingdom, Carlos often arrives into camp late at night after marking the course. In addition to driving, they also have to run large parts of the course themselves to ensure that markers are easy for runners to follow.

 
When asked to sum up his thoughts on life here in the Jordanian deserts, he says: “The magic word for desert life here is ‘integration.’ The Bedouins live with a complete integration with nature.  They use only what they need and leave the rest for the day they will need it. Natural products are their daily food and living with natural light – no electricity around.  Minimal living, you could say.”

By Clare Morin

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