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Features
4 Deserts Grand Slam
More people climb Everest each year than have completed the 4 Deserts Grand Slam. Only 28 brave souls form this extraordinary band of runners. They follow in the footsteps of legendary Dean Karnanzes, the first to complete this year long, one thousand kilometre...
Penguin Racing
If there were a medal for the best-dressed competitor of The Last Desert 2012, it would surely go to Japan’s Koichi Takeishi. The 49-year old decided to take on the entire race dressed as a penguin. You may have spotted him...
The Story of Two Firefighers
We're always intrigued to find out the professions of 4 Deserts racers. They come from all spectrums of the world, from bankers to scientists, miners to soldiers, and mothers to writers. On The Last Desert, we had two firefighters. We wondered: why...
Being in Antarctica
It was a line that was uttered again and again during The Last Desert: “Photographs cannot capture this place.” So for the benefit of those back home, we asked people to try to explain in words the feeling of being in the...
Love at First Run
As the M/V Plancius bounds its way back to Argentina in the wake of a wonderful Last Desert, we find several lovebirds nestled in the warmth. Couples have always come to the 4 Deserts series, and they are an enigma to behold—to...
Profile: Kelvin Murray
As The Last Desert played out this past week in the remote wilderness of Antarctica, an entire team of organizers and experts were working behind the scenes to ensure that everybody was safe. Leading them all was Kelvin Murray. The Scottish dive...
Saria's Story
When Ali Kedami’s daughter Saria was born, she had problems with her legs. It was only when she was two years old that she was able to walk for the first time. Her father decided to do something to inspire her, to...
Racing in the Cold
As anyone who has worn frozen socks will attest, racing in Antarctica carries a whole set of new challenges compared to the sand dunes and endless salt flats of hot deserts. "It takes more energy to run in the snow," points out...
The South Americans
It is the second day of The Last Desert and, with dangerous conditions at Deception Island we are making our way towards Trinity Island. Sitting in the lounge of the expedition ship, we find a pair of competitors from South America.  Nahila...
The Veterans
One of the hallmarks of The Last Desert is its intimate size; with just 49 competitors, the M/V Plancius is buzzing with a wonderful mix of ages, backgrounds and life stories. Beyond the big goals of the Grand Slammers, there are also...
The Record Breakers
As the penguins slide and the humans push their way over the snow of this famed race, several competitors are aiming for remarkable personal goals.  At the front of the pack is Spanish racing dynamo, Vicente Garcia Beneito—if he wins again,...
Forging New Ground
When Michelle Kakade was making arrangements for her journey to The Last Desert, she was met with awe and a certain amount of skepticism at the local visa office.  As she explains: “When I was applying for the Argentinian visa, the...
True Blue: The Ozzies of The Last Desert
Of the 27 countries taking part in The Last Desert (Antarctica) 2012, nearly a quarter of participants hail from Australia. As the M/V Plancius lurches about on its second day crossing the Drake Passage, we set out with our sea legs...
Cops Join Forces to Cross Deserts and Conquer Cancer
RacingThePlanet has been closely following the progress of Simon Southgate (pictured), a Chief Inspector with the Hong Kong Police, as his seeks to fulfill his goal and join the 4 Deserts Club, whilst at the same time raise money to fight childhood...
7 Summits to the 4 Deserts Club
Leonard Stanmore is not an extreme athlete – just a guy who likes a challenge. That’s how he sees it, anyway. Leonard’s challenges have included completing the 7 Summits and skiing the North and South Poles. After competing in The Last Desert later...
Unconventional Beauty
Unconventional Beauty By Clare Morin The focus so far has been on the athletes, but like all 4 Deserts events, The Last Desert is also and opportunity for competitors to get a chance to enter one of the most remote and pristine environments...
From the Alps to Antarctica
From the Alps to Antarctica By Clare Morin One person who didn’t have a problem charging across snow, ice, sludge and mud in The Last Desert 2010, was Emanuele Gallo. The 36-year old, Italian athlete, who came in third following fellow Italian...
Faces of the Antarctic Dream
Faces of the Antarctic Dream By Clare Morin Captain Ernesto Barria has spent six years working aboard the Antarctic Dream – three as captain and three as second in command – yet he has never witnessed a scene like the one that unfolded...
A Politician Amid Penguins
A Politician Amid Penguins By Clare Morin The competitors of RacingThePlanet events are a nature-loving breed of people, but Guy Evans may be the first politician to have ever raced in The Last Desert. Earlier this year, the British racer – who works...
A Force of Nature
A Force of Nature By Clare Morin When introducing Ryan Sandes for this feature, Sam Healey of the RacingThePlanet crew succinctly put it: “Out in the desert, Ryan Sandes runs so fast for so long I think he must photosynthesize. The sunnier it...
The Resident Perspective
A Resident’s Perspective By Clare Morin You’ve been following the race, scanning the updates and hearing first-hand experiences from competitors of Antarctica – but how has The Last Desert been from the perspective of a true Antarctic-ite? For Rodrigo Tapia, Expedition Leader...
White Wonderland
White Wonderland   By Clare Morin As The Last Desert 2010 comes to a successful end, competitors are reflecting on the experience of racing in such demanding conditions. “Looking back, I will never complain about sand again,” promised Lucy Rivers-Bulkeley when she...
More than just a race
More than just a race   By Clare Morin Sometimes, all it takes is a song. When Rod Stewart’s hoarse voice came surging through Helen Carter’s earphones with his iconic song “Sailing”, she was busy battling her way through Stage 3 of...
Team Lleida Extrem
Team Lleida Extrem By Clare Morin When Team Lleida Extrem set out to train for The Last Desert, they chose one of the most intense and dangerous projects imaginable; the Spaniards decided to run across the Baltic Sea.   Yes, they literally ran...
Cheers at the Sidelines
Cheers at the Sidelines By Clare Morin When the 55 competitors set out on Stage 1 of The Last Desert (Antarctica) on Satuday 20 November 2010, they were by no means alone. Family and friends around the globe were sending their thoughts...
Not an easy run in the desert
Not an easy run in the desert By Clare Morin Sitting aboard the Antarctic Dream with The Last Desert now underway, one thing is strikingly clear: 4 Deserts events attract a fascinating cast of people. There are the seasoned endurance athletes who...
A Desert Awakening
A Desert Awakening By Clare Morin It is a bittersweet moment as Tremaine Kent sits aboard The Antarctic Dream and gets ready to charge into the snow and ice of The Last Desert. The British competitor has undertaken a profoundly emotional journey this...
Changing The World With Every Step
Changing The World With Every Step By Clare Morin   Everybody who meets Linda Quirk agrees on one thing: she is phenomenally inspiring. Not only is the American competitor one of the three female competitors this week to attempt completing the 4 Deserts...
Final Preparations
Final Preparations By Clare Morin With The Last Desert less than a week away, all of this year’s 56 competitors are putting the finishing touches to their equipment, packing and repacking their gear and going through their final movements of training. There is...
Invitations Delivered
Invitations Delivered By Sam Healey   One of the things that RacingThePlanet’s Event Director Samantha Fanshawe enjoys doing most after a 4 Deserts race is writing up and sending out the cards inviting competitors who are newly qualified to join The Last...
The Stars of the Antarctic: penguins, seals, whales and more
The stars of the Antarctic: penguins, seals, whales and more by Alina Brown You can’t help but notice that The Last Desert 2008 starred more than just the athletes participating in the Antarctic leg of the 4 Deserts series. At the end...
Answering the Call .... The Last Desert is the icing of the cake ...
Answering the Call By Dave Flanagan   For some, it’s the sole reason they embark on the 4 Deserts odyssey in the first place. For others, it seems utterly beyond the realms of possibility – until they go on to exceed their own...
In from the cold .... read what Dean Karnazes thought of The Last...
In from the cold By Dave Flanagan   “The penguins had to be my favourite,” says Dean Karnazes, when considering his highlights of The Last Desert 2008. “They were so playful and curious. I just loved them!” Even super tough ultra-distance running legends...
From out of nowhere ... read about Ryan Sandes preparation for Th...
From out of nowhere By Dave Flanagan Twenty-seven-year-olds don’t usually turn up for their first 4 Deserts event and win, but South African Ryan Sandes did exactly that.  His victory in the Gobi March 2008 was no fluke though, nor his subsequent win...
Scot Of The Antarctic
Scot Of The Antarctic By Dave Flanagan    Alasdair Morrison took part in The Last Desert 2006 HOW competitors view the role of an endurance event course director largely depends on what kind of day they’re having. If it’s a good one, then...
Love In A Cold Climate
Love In A Cold Climate By Dave Flanagan Emma and Dave in Atacama Crossing 2007 OFTEN they don’t talk at all.  Sometimes they’ll just chat about normal domestic stuff – planning for holidays, their pets, whether they’ve paid the electricity bill and so...
Team Trifecta - The Brotherhood of Sand
Team Trifecta - The Brotherhood of Sand By Dave Flanagan Team Trifecta in the Atacama Crossing 2008   TEAMS are a rarity in the Last Desert.  Granted, there are two married couples taking part this time around, but if you’re classifying a team...
As Zero Hour Approaches
As Zero Hour Approaches By Dave Flanagan A picture of the ship that will take competitors to Antarctica EVERY race in the 4 Deserts series has a healthy dose of the unknown thrown in to the mix.  As Zero Hour approaches, you might...
Ultramarathon Man vs. Bush Doctor
Ultramarathon Man vs. Bush Doctor  By Alexandra Hamlyn The Ultramarathon Man, Dean Karnazes, gets  ready to tackle a sand dune. It was an incredible goal to set out to achieve, and now the two who remain in pursuit of the title of being...
Walking on Thin Ice
Walking on Thin Ice By Alexandra Hamlyn The finish line of The Last Desert (Antarctica) 2006. On 25 March 2008 a 405km2 mass of ice disintegrated and detached itself off the Wilkin’s ice shelf on the northern edge of Antarctica – this...
Australian Bush Doctor: The Grit and Grind
Australian Bush Doctor: The Grit and Grind By Robin Postell  Bush doctor Paul Liebenberg at the finish of the Gobi March 2008. Paul Liebenberg doesn’t have time to train for the upcoming Egyptian Sahara installment of the 4 Deserts Series, or the penultimate...
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Drawing Pictures in the Sand
Drawing Pictures in the Sand By Alexandra E.P Hamlyn   (Picture in this article: Yukako Hayashi from Japan)   Many people say that you will see things in the desert, some real, and others not. But not everyone imagines another world altogether. Illustrator...
Video Made the Marathon Star
Video Made the Marathon Star By Alexandra Hamlyn   (Picture in this article: Jack E. Denness from United Kingdom)   Looking up into the vast dunes of the Hamada Desert at the Sahara Race (2008) Egypt, there are small figures peppered on the...
Filling Shoes of Someone Else
Filling Shoes of Someone Else   Competitors in the course of Stage 3.   Standing at the airport of a foreign country, there are few more uneasy moments than waiting for your luggage to come through the turnstile; especially if your life depends...
Sisters Stepping Out For Dad
Sisters Stepping Out For Dad   (Picture in this article: Lucy R. Rivers Bulkeley from United Kingdom)     It was over a Sunday lunch that Lucy Rivers-Bulkeley suggested to her sister, Camilla J. Howard that they participate in the Sahara Race (2008) Egypt....
Ice Cream for Joy
Ice Cream for Joy By Alexandra E.P Hamlyn   Giampetro Marion is the author of a book entitled, “24,405 km” which recounts his bicycle journey down through the American continent. He has two sons, aged 24 and 5. For some, the 4 Deserts...
Giving a Gift with a Smile
Giving a Gift with a Smile By Alexandra E.P Hamlyn    A pre-screening process of potential patients was conducted.     As volunteers and staff approached the site where Operation Smile was set up, it was immediately obvious that this charity mission had a huge...
To drink or not to drink
To drink or not to drink By Alexandra E.P Hamlyn   Volunteer training took place in the Movenpick Hotel, Media City Out in the arid plains of the deserts of the world, water is a precious and scarce resource. If RacingThePlanet didn’t bring...
Smile, and the whole world smiles with you
Smile, and the whole world smiles with you Nam Ngoc Lam volunteered in RacingThePlanet : Vietnam 2008 There are few things that communicate the spirit of youth as effectively as a smile – one that comes from the heart and in response to...
Ex-Gurkha to tackle third desert
Ex-Gurkha to tackle third desert By Alexandra Hamlyn Rob James in the Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2008 Achieving the balance between pushing yourself to your personal physical limits, and keeping within the boundaries of good health, is an art – one that many who...
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