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The format of the course for RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 follows a similar format to all races in the 4 Deserts Race Series - 250 kilometers / 155 miles, 7-day, 6-stage endurance footraces. In Madagascar competitors will go through a variety of terrain and scenery with many highlights along the way. This section includes an overview of the terrain, elevation, distances and checkpoints - the full course notes will be given to each competitor at the competitor check-in in Madagascar.

Starting from the beaches of the Indian Ocean the course follows the coast along white sandy beaches, lush green rice paddies and across vast savannah. It includes Baobab trees, red and grey limestone formations known as Tsingy and a mixture of flora and fauna found only in Madagascar. You can also expect to pass through many local Malagasy villages and farmlands to experience the local culture and everyday life.

Much of the course follows dust / dirt tracks which is a mixture of being soft and hard under foot. Other terrain you will encounter includes soft sandy beaches, grasslands, single track paths, dry river beds, dry rice padi fields, canyons and areas with vegetation and bushes.

There are some river crossings which could be above knee height.

The course for RacingThePlanet: Madagascar does not have a significant amount of elevation change. Total elevation gain: approximately 1000 meters / 3280 feet.

Lowest point
Sea level
At Camp 1
Highest point
420 meters / 1380 feet
At Camp 5

RacingThePlanet: Madagascar 2014 follows a similar format to our 4 Deserts events. Competitors should prepare for the following distances:

Stage 1
40 km / 25 miles
Day 1
Stage 2
40 km / 25 miles
Day 2
Stage 3
40 km / 25 miles
Day 3
Stage 4
40 km / 25 miles
Day 4
Stage 5
80 km / 50 miles
Day 5 and 6
Stage 6
10 km / 6 miles
Day 7
*note these distances are approximate

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. extreme heat, 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.

NOTE: adverse weather and other factors can result in changes being made to the course.

The Long March
Stage 5 is known as The Long March. This stage is planned to be approximately 80 kilometers / 50 miles, 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 there is a designated overnight checkpoint.

At the Overnight Checkpoint, there will usually be tents 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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