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The Roving Race Wish List

It’s the end of the Long March and we decide to spend the day canvassing through the campsite, asking people for their thoughts on the perfect location for the Roving Race 2014. Next year is slated for Iceland of course, but what should come next?

There were those who were in an adventurous mood: “I would like to have it in Akakus Mountains in Libya,” said frontrunner Rafael Fuchsgruber of Germany. “I went there in 2008 on a 200-kilometer non-stop race. It’s a gorgeous landscape and fantastic, different trails that you can do in the mountains. It was really impressive–I would like to go back to Libya one day, but it is not easy, as you know.”

“What about Uzbekistan?” proposed Andrew Espin of South Africa. “It has a good desert. It’s arid and I think it’s legit. It’s sort of got corruption, but it has a lot of infrastructure for planning.” British competitor Muz Mohammed was also a fan of Uzbekistan: “It’s a nice place to go. If the Roving Race was there, I would definitely go.”

One of the more popular continents was Africa—and bizarrely enough, it was the idea of running through wild game reserves that got people excited. Maybe it was the lack of food and sleep at this point, or the surging confidence levels that come from completing a Long March. “South Africa through a game reserve,” said Eva Gonzales, a volunteer from the United States. “True, it may not be safe but how cool would that be?”

“I would say Botswana,” said John Williamson who harks from South Africa. “It’s a beautiful country, vast open spaces and every day you will see wildlife. Maybe dangerous wildlife once or twice, but nothing you need to worry about. The people are exceptionally friendly and it’s a very safe country.”

“South Africa,” confirmed Egyptian volunteer Dolfen Ismael. “It has an incredible environment, a mix of deserts and forests. People would manage to see wildlife.”

There were others meanwhile, who were pushing into the far reaches of the planet. Tim Peach from the United Kingdom sat and entertained us with his comical replies, and then settled on Papa New Guinea. “You can start on the Kokoda Trail,” he argued. “It’s very culturally interesting, tough environment, long way away / most people have never been there, most people have never even heard of it, and there are more languages than any other place in the world. I haven’t gone yet, I wanted to when I was 18–I was trying to hitchhike across from Darwin in a fishing boat. My mum started to cry so I didn’t go.”

Quite a few people were throwing out ideas of European settings—Ireland, Italy, Turkey—but by far the winning region of the day was South America. “Brazil, of course,” said Morten Hellberg of Denmark, “because it’s a wonderful place, or Argentina – Patagonia – it’s amazing.”

“Brazil,” agreed Barbara Dupre of Italy, “because there are many different places and the nature in some places is very wild—and it would be nice to end on the beach.”

They certainly raised a great number of possible settings for the RacingThePlanet team to consider, but for Bei Hu of Hong Kong, a journalist who has managed to slog her way through the endless soft sand and hot sun of Jordan, there was just one simple request: “Somewhere with trees, please.”


by Clare Morin

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