The host city for the Gobi March is the capital of the Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Bole, which is located in the north-west of the Xinjiang Province. Bortala shares an international border with Kazakhstan and is known for the colorful culture of its Mongol, Kazakh and Uyghur minorities.
The Altai Mountains are the backdrop for the course, which takes competitors through alpine scenery with green grasslands, pristine mountain lakes, river valleys and villages of ethnic minorities.
The terrain is a mixture of rocky river-beds, dusty tracks, narrow ridge paths, green pastures and some river crossings.
Temperatures during the Gobi March can vary greatly with a range between 15-30°C / 59-86°F during the day and as low as 0°C / 32°F at night.
Up to 110 competitors representing 40 countries are expected to compete in the Gobi March 2014.
Exactly 50% of Gobi March 2014 competitors have completed a previous 4 Deserts or Roving Race, with 50% joining the 4 Deserts Race Series for the first time.
The fastest finish time on any Gobi March course is held by Vicente Garcia Beneito of Spain with an overall time of 23 hours and 12 minutes in 2012.
The fastest women's finish on any Gobi March course is held by Anne-Marie Flammersfeld of Germany with an overall time of 27 hours and 53 minutes in 2012.
Approximately 20% of competitors run the entire course, 60% combine running with walking, and 20% walk the entire course. The fastest completion time is expected to be around 24 hours and the slowest around 70 hours.
The Gobi March is a self-supported race; competitors must carry all mandatory items for seven days on their backs. The average backpack weighs 9 kilograms / 20 pounds.
RacingThePlanet and the Esquel-Y.L. Yang Education Foundation partnered to create the RacingThePlanet-Esquel Scholarship Program, a seven-year program (2013-2019) to support education for girls in the Gobi Desert. In 2014 we will sponsor 10 Uyghur girls into their third year of high school and add ten new Uyghur girls to the programme, sponsoring them to join their second year at high school.
During the Gobi March, competitors, volunteers and staff are expected to consume up to 15,000 liters of water in total.
Competitors are required to pass through up to 30 checkpoints throughout the seven-day event before crossing the finish line.
The oldest competitor in the Gobi March is 66 year old Tadashi Murakami from Japan
The youngest competitor is Park Chanho from South Korea.
Included in the line up is double Olympian from Spain, Chema Martinez who placed 2nd overall in the Sahara Race 2014 and is attempting the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in 2014. He comes into the Gobi March as the favourite to win.
There are 20 competitors entering their second race in the 4 Deserts Grand Slam.
Just two teams will enter the team division of the Gobi March 2014 - they are Corre 1km+ from Spain who are aiming to do the 4 Deserts Grand Slam and Team Esquel including Zhou Zijun who has complete the Gobi March five times.