Mary founded RacingThePlanet in 1996 and the 4 Deserts in 2002. She has lived in six countries including the United States, Spain, China, France, the United Kingdom and Korea. Mary's work experience is in investment banking and strategy. Prior work experience includes work as a global strategist in the chairman's office and restructuring office of the Samsung Group in Seoul, Korea where she worked on special projects including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, venture capital and global strategy. She also spent seven years in investment banking at Wachovia Securities in the United States.
Mary has been involved in sports most of her life. She has been team captain of three Eco-Challenge teams with a best finish of sixth (in the ESPN X Games). She has also completed dozens of marathons including the Boston Marathon three times and has a 3:18 personal record in the marathon. She has completed the Marathon des Sables multiple times with a personal best in the women's division of 26:30. In addition, Mary has completed numerous ultramarathons several of which include the Western States Endurance Run (100 miles), the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race (India), the London to Brighton Race (55 miles), the Hong Kong Oxfam Trailwalker (100kms), the Texas Trail Run (50 miles), the JFK 50-Miler, the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset and most recently Mary completed the Atacama Crossing 2009.
In the past few years Mary has made it to the summit of Mt. Toubkal in Morocco (the highest peak in North Africa), Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia (the highest peak in southeast Asia), Mt. Fuji, twice (the highest peak in Japan), Mt. Fansipan in Vietnam (the highest mountain in IndoChina) and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (the highest peak in Africa).
Mary has a master's degree from the London Business School, and is on the Committee for the Hike for Hospice in Hong Kong and a member of the board of the Action Outreach Foundation.
Peru born Sam is well used to the challenges of management, both conventional and desert based. After graduating in the United Kingdom with a joint honours degree in Maths and Biology from Leeds Unitversity, she pursued a career in recruitment that ultimately took her to Asia and a top management role in Penang.
It was in Asia that Sam took up running seriously, completing the Singapore Marathon in 2005 and more than a dozen half marathons around the region. She has also competed in many adventure races in Hong Kong including the Hong Kong Oxfam Trailwalker (2007) in less than 24 hours.
Sam started as a volunteer at the Gobi March 2005, in the Turpan Basin - the hottest event on record. RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2011 is her sixteenth time at a RacingThePlanet event on the management team. She was also at the Gobi March 2010, but as a competitor.
As a competitive triathlete and co-captain of the women's varsity water polo team at Princeton University, Alina Brown wrote an Anthropology thesis exploring adventure racing’s status as a rite of passage. Through personal experience and academic research, she understands that there is a lot more driving competitors in multi-day endurance events than the simple desire to see fascinating landscapes through the fog of fatigue.
Impressive academic credentials aside (she also possesses a MBA from Western Washington University), Alina has worked in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe, and has a decade’s worth of practical experience in sports and event management. She is an Ironman triathlete and has competed in multiple marathon and half-marathon events. She has also been a volunteer on several international adventure races, including EcoChallenge events, and has written extensively on multi-sport events both online and in print.
Alina enjoys all sorts of outdoor pursuits, including hiking, mountain biking, orienteering and rock climbing.
Nepal 2011 is Alina's eighth time on the management team for a RacingThePlanet / 4 Deserts event.
Riitta’s passion for the outdoors and sport originate from growing up in Finland, Having had thousands of lakes and vast forests in her back yard, she is happiest outdoors.
After graduating in Finland with a degree of Tourism and Event Management from Jyvaskyla University of Applied Sciences, Riitta moved to Asia to pursue a career in international business and event management. She worked in corporate events for 4 years before moving onto sports event management.
Riitta has lived in Hong Kong since 2004 where she leads an active life. She has competed in numerous trail-running and action sport races including Hong Kong Trailwalker 2005, 2008 and 2009, finishing twice within the top three of the women’s category. She has also had success in Action Asia races, as a member of the champion mixed team in Taiwan in 2006, and as first and second runner-up in Hong Kong in 2007 and 2008. As well as runnign races, Riitta is active dragonboat and outrigger canoe racer. Traveling is Riitta’s way of investing in life; she has trekked through Asia and South-America and plans to do much more.
RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2011 is Riitta's eighth time on the management team for a RacingThePlanet / 4 Deserts event.
Pierre is the course director for RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2011. He has a long history with the Raid Gauloises as the primary individual responsible for setting nine Raid Gauloises courses in remote locations around the world. As a member of the Raid Gauloises organization, Pierre also managed all safety aspects of events, and assisted with government relations within the various countries. Pierre is a professional skier, climber and river guide. He has overseen the course team for eight 4 Deserts events including the Gobi March (China) 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2006, the Sahara Race (Egypt) 2006, 2007 and 2008. RacingThePlanet: Nepal is Pierre's ninth event as Course Director for RacingThePlanet events.
American Eric LaHaie is the business development manager for the RacingThePlanet Store and all-around athlete. A football player at Harvard University, Eric is also the champion of the Gobi March 2009 and RacingThePlanet: Taklamakan 100 and overall second place finisher at the Atacama Crossing 2010 and Sahara Race 2011. Eric has also completed the New York City Marathon (2007), the Singapore Marathon (2008) and the Hong Kong Oxfam Trailwalker (2008). This is his fourth time working as a management team member at a RacingThePlanet event.
Emma Fergussson has been at eight RacingThePlanet events and knows what it is like to be on both sides of the fence. Volunteering at the first ever Atacama Crossing back in 2004, Emma subsequently volunteered at the Atacama Crossing 2006, the Gobi March 2007 and RacingThePlanet: Namibia 2009. Making the switch, she pulled through the Gobi March 2010 as the youngest competitor and tried to keep up a positive attitude, gaining her the Spirit Award. Addicted, she then went on to complete the Sahara Race 2010 and the Atacama Crossing 2011. After three consecutive races in the last year, Emma is now on board as the event's Media Manager.
Emma’s passion for such races filtered into her academic studies. Gaining a MSc in Globalisation from University College London, she wrote her thesis on the ‘global ultra-marathon community’. Academics aside, Emma has practical global experience too having spent time working, volunteering and living in Asia, Africa, Australasia, North and Central America.
A sports enthusiast, Emma captained the women’s varsity tennis team at UCL, previously a competitive ski racer in the USA, Professional Ski Instructors of America qualified and also tries to find time bike in the mountains or paddle on the rivers.
Yuan (Victor) Cheng is an impressive linguist with knowledge of English, Mandarin, Russian and basic Norwegian. Victor returns for his third RacingThePlanet event at Nepal after first appearing on the scene as a volunteer at the Gobi March 2011. Victor regularly runs, cycles, swims, hikes, mountaineers and plays badminton.