Pre-Race: Breaking News 5
All participants have arrived safely at Camp 1, Rio Grande in the Rainbow (Acoris) Valley. They enjoyed dinner alfresco in the beautiful Atacama Desert and are tucked up in their tents for the first time this week. Camp 1 is at 3,300 meters / 10,500 feet - the highest point on the course. This can also make it one of the colder camps with some of the most stunning stars.
There is a sense of relief, happiness and nerves around the Camp. Relief and happiness to be out in the desert after all these months of training and preparing. No more decisions to be made, no more re-packing to do. Now they just have to eat, sleep, run, repeat.
Stage starts at 08:00 tomorrow and is a 35km / 22 miles.
PHOTOS, including from Camp 1 are on the website
VIDEOS - a couple of pre-race videos have been added
BLOGS - enjoy reading the final installments of blogs written before leaving San Pedro
STAGE UPDATE - a pre-race stage update will be added soon
Be sure to SEND MESSAGES of support. Go to the RESULTS page, find your friend, click "send an email"
Remember you can see links to all the updates at: WWW.4DESERTS.COM/ATACAMACROSSING/LIVE
Pre-Race: Breaking News 4
The Pre-Race Briefing took place this morning beside the pool at the race hotel. All racers (and some of the San Pedro dogs) attended. As well as information about the course, safety reminders and a run down on the race rules, some key people were introduced. This included the 15 people still set to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, the 4 Deserts Club members and the oldest competitor, 66 year old Yves Garrigue from France. There was also a chanting of happy birthday for Greg Nance who turns 30 today, officially putting him into the next age group category.
Competitor check-in is now underway. At competitor check-in racers have every piece of mandatory equipment checked, calories counted and they receive their official bag weight. They also have a consultation with one of the medical team, have all their forms checked and receive their race bibs, race passport, etc. Momo Chan was happy with her weight of 8.25kg. Who will have the lightest?
Spirits are high and the atmosphere is relaxed as people have enjoyed the chilled out vibe of the town. Wong Ho Chung from Hong Kong said to the media “I will try my best to be the champion”.
Having just arrived yesterday, Leon Clarence was enjoying the pool side location.
Maik Becker from Switzerland has had a few days exploring and has loved the landscape.
Charlie Knight "hopes that the last 12 months of training has paid off".
Duncan Thompson from the UK / China admitted that he and his wife Becky Gu "chose the Atacama Crosing as our introduction to stage races because from the map it looks to be downhill all the way from the start !!"
Jason Yoo, Zealot Heogwak and Hongseok Choi from Korea who are taking part as Team GrandSlammers decided to test their waterproof bags IN the swimming pool!
After the check-in competitors will have lunch in San Pedro before leaving for Camp 1 in the desert at 2pm local time. When at Camp 1 they will have a few hours of day light before settling down for their first night with their tent mates.
Enjoy the final BLOGS before leaving for the desert
Send MESSAGES OF SUPPORT - go to the results page, find the racers name, click "send an email"
You may also enjoy various FEATURES including "Ones to Watch" to find out more about the top contenders "4 Deserts Championship Leaderboard So Far" and "Across the Atacama Desert which detalis some highlights of the course.
The COURS DETAILS including the elevation chart and approximate stage distances can also be seen.
Remember you can check all information on the website WWW.4DESERTS.COM/ATACAMACROSSING/LIVE
Pre-Race: Breaking News 3
One more day until the Atacama Crossing 2018 gets underway!
The sun has set over the desert oasis of San Pedro (it is dark by 8pm) and the full moon is lighting the barren streets. Competitors have their ast sleep in a proper bed for a week.
Tomorrow it starts to get serious. Race breifing at 9am. Followed by race check-in and then off to Camp 1 in Rainbow Valley. On Sunday at 08:00 Chile time the competitors start their 250km race across the driest desert on earth!
It looks like everyone has arrived in San Pedro de Atacama Crossing. Most recently we saw Andrei Gligor and Daniel Nica from Romania, William Chew from Malaysia, Team Korea en masse, Marek Rybiec and Michal Gawron from Poland, Charlie Knight from the UK, Becky Gu and Duncan Thompson from UK / China, Karen Hayward from Australia and father-son duo Michael and Greg Nance from the United States.
Volunteers are trained, competitors have had their chance to listen and ask questions to 10-time Atacama Crossing competitor Ash Mokhtari, bags have been packed and re-packed, equipment weighed, every label in sight has been cut-off, acclimatisation has happened and carb loading is on going. The next fifteen hours will be spent having last showers, eating meals and sending final emails and messages before they go off line.
Iris Derke from New York City describes the San Pedro vibe “The town is like something from the old Wild West — dusty dirt roads, flat adobe buildings and lots of stray dogs with friendly faces and tails wagging, just taking a snooze anywhere they wish. Lots of 1980’s tunes playing from the local restaurants and bars intermixed with a church congregation singing hymns loudly.”
Temperatures for the week are looking to a pleasant 30C / 77F during the day and a chilly 5C / 41F at night with some gusty winds.
PRE-RACE BLOGS from Iris Derke, Jacqui Bell, Duncan Thompson and Kimberley Bishop
PHOTOS from today have been added to the website
A VIDEO wlil be uploaded soon.
Remember all the latest news and updates from the race can be seen at: WWW.4DESERTS.COM/ATACAMACROSSING/LIVE
Pre-Race: Breaking News 2
Welcome to BREAKING NEWS for the Atacama Crossing 2018!
You have signed up to receive breaking news updates direct to your email during the race which means you will be the first to know the updates from the course. Breaking news updates will include details on the days course, the leaders, mid pack ranking through checkpoints, when checkpoints close and the last to leave them, any withdrawals, weather updates, quotes from racers and when new results, photos, videos, blogs, etc, etc are posted.
The race starts in two days, on Sunday, 30 September at 08:00 (local time in Chile). The host town of San Pedro de Atacama is electric with excitement as racers are arriving from around the world for the race. Tomorrow, Saturday, 29 September is the official race briefing and check-in before everyone is taken out to Rainbow Valley to spend their first night in the desert with their tent mates for the week.
Ten-time Atacama Crossing competitor Ash Mokhtari from Iran/Canada and Jacqui Bell from Australia were among the first to arrive giving themselves time to acclimatise to the altitude (the whole course is above 2,000 meters / 6,500 feet). Other 4 Deserts Grand Slammers who have arrived include Bart Van Schilt from Holland, Hichame Moubarak from France/Qatar, Sam Itah from Israel and Scott Baldridge from the USA. Also seen around the desert oasis town are Momo Chan and Nicole Mak from Hong Kong, Maik Becker from Switzerland, Szilvia Lubics (3-time women's Spartathlon winner) from Hungary, Duncan Chau from Hong Kong, Ben Seymour from Australia, and mother-daughter duo Simone & Kimberley Bishop. Top contender Takuya Wakaoka from Japan has also arrived - but no sign of Wong Ho Chung as yet.
All Race Updates & Information can be seen on the website: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/live
To understand what the race is about and see what comeptitors are about to experience, you may enjoy watching this 13 minute Atacama Crossing video.
Pre-Race: Breaking News 1
The Atacama Crossing 2018 starts on 30 September. The breaking news is a short update we will send a few times during each Stage. If you sign up for breaking news you will receive these updates by email.
Stage 1: Breaking News 5
This is a short update to let you know that the website is now fully updated.
More than 150 photos from Stage 1 can be seen on the website. Feel free to use these to post to the racers social media so there friends can follow them. If you can't find your friends send an email to [email protected]
There are XX new blogs from Camp 2 written after competitors completed Stage 1. These include Duncan Chau, Ana Saravia, Sofia Chahin, Jacqui Bell, Duncan Thompson, Szilvia Lubics, Jiani Buys, Ernie Torain, Maik Becker, Iris Derke and Scott Baldridge. Even if your friends are not writing a blog reading these others will give you a good sense of what the day was like.
Full Results are on the website so you can see how your friends did and how close they are to others in the field.
Don't forget to send messages to your friends. If you send then before 12 noon local time in Chile on Monday, 1 October then they will be able to read them at Camp 3 tomorrow after completing Stage 2.
Go the results page, find your frined, click "send an email".
STAGE 2, The Slot Canyons, will start tomorrow, Monday 1 October, at 08:00 local time in Chile. It is a 37km / 23 mile stage starting with about 5km / 3 miles through a slot canyon full of ice cold water (snow melt).
Stage 1: Breaking News 4
Stage 1, Navigation by Rocks, is complete and all competitors completed the 35km / 22 mile Stage and are relaxing at Camp 2. The last person reached camp just before 7pm.
Tentative RESULTS from today are on the website. Photos, videos, blogs and the Stage Update will be uploaded in the next few hours
Below - photo of Camp 2 this morning as it was being set up.
Top 3 MEN
Top 3 WOMEN
The last few people were Carla Jacko, husband and wife couple Isabelle Lo and James Hughes and Paul Harrison.
Remember to have a look a the website for full updates:
Stage 1: Breaking News 3
As of 4 pm, 81 had arrived at checkpoint 2. The most recent fifteen to arrive were:
#53, Jacko, David, United States
#88, Saravia, Paque, Guatemala
#85, Rybiec, Mark, Poland
#101, Walsh, Hannah, United Kingdom
#77, Nance, United States
#46, Hirata, Akiyoshi, Japan
#115, Wong, Chi Keong, Macau
#116, Wong, Chi Wang, Macau
#114, Kin Cheong, Lei, Macau
#47, Lee, Hoon, Korea (South)
#15, Chahin, Sofia, Honduras
#96, Torain, Ernest, United States
#17, Chan, Ka Wai, Hong Kong
#38, Gu, Xiao Yan, China
#95, Thomson, Duncan, United Kingdom
#57, Kim, Chae Wool, Korea
Spirits are high in the campsite. The temperatures are around 35 C with clear blue skies and light winds. There have been no withdrawals so far today.
Stage 1: Breaking News 2
We are now four hours into Stage 1.
The Top 8 racers have passed checkpoint 3 at the 29 km / 18 mile mark. They are expected to complete the last 6km / 4 miles and arrive at Camp 2 soon to complete the Stage.
The Top 3 are very close, they are Wong Ho Chung, Takuya Wakaoka and Christophe Santini. There is then a 30 minute gap to the next three racers Maik Becker, Sifedine Daoudi and Sam Itah, Bart Van Schilt and Michal Gawron - these five people are within 10 minutes of each other.
Checkpoint 1 closed at 10:45 local time. Everyone passed through successfully. The first three people arrived in under one hour. The last people took more than two and a half hours. The last person was Carla Jacko from the United States.
The Top 25 through checkpoint 1 are listed below. Please note these are tentative and need to be checked.
1. Wong Ho Chung with a 9 minute lead after just 10km / 6 miles.
2. Takuya Wakaoka from Japan
3. Christophe Santini from France
4. Maik Becker from Switzerland
5. Sifedine Daoudi from France
6. Bart Van Schilt from Holland / Belgium
7. Sam Itah from Israel
8. Ash Mokhtari from Iran / Canada
9. Andrei Gligor from Romania
10. Jamie Harrison from Canada
11. Christoph Castelberg from Switzerland
12. Michal Gawron from Poland
13. Stanilas Grau from France / Switzerland
14. Daniel Nica from Romania
15. Jacqui Bell from Australia - 1ST FEMALE
16. Greg Roadley from New Zealand
17. Greg Nance from the United States
18, Max Barnes from the United Kingdom
19, Jos Warne from the United Kingdom
20. Robin Moore from the United Kingdom
21, 22 & 23. Team Grand Slammers from Korea: Jason Yoo, Zealot Heogwak and Hongseok Choi
24. Youngroc Kim from Korea
25. Marco Frisendo from Switzerland
For the WOMEN, the results into checkpoint 1 were:
1st - Jacqui Bell from Australia (15th overall)
2nd - Denise Le from Hong Kong
3rd - Hannah Knight from the United Kingdom
Below: Hannah Knight from the UK was in 2nd place for the women comng into checkpoint 1
Stage 1: Breaking News 1
The 2018 edition of the Atacama Crossing has started.
After a very cold night (where some water bottles froze) Stage 1, Navigation by Rock, started at 08:00 this morning (Chile time). Despite the cold night, spirits were high and racers are excited to get started.
Duncan Chau, who is joining third race in the 4 Deserts Race Series said "Ready or not, here I come! Looking forward to testing my grit. See you on the other side!"
Today's Stage is 35km / 22 miles which will finish 600 meter / 2,000 feet lower than Camp 1, although it's not all down hill! The distances between checkpoints as well as the elevation gain and loss can be seen below.
Highlights of this stage include running through a small, dry canyon where they can touch the walls on both side and running (up) an old Inca road which has some Inca rock art on it. There is also a high chance that they will see llamas on the course.
The leaders are expected to complete the stage in less than four hours! However the last people will taking more like 9 hours - reaching Camp 2 around 6pm tonight.
Weather is expected to be sunny with some minor cloud cover possible - temperatures will reach above 30C / 86F but there could be windy gusts up to 15km / 8 miles per hour.
The altitude, heavy packs (still nothing has been eaten from supplies), hot temperatures and exposure to the sun are the biggest challenges today. For those who arrived to San Pedro late, this will be particularly tough as they have had minimum chance to acclimitise.
Stay tuned for more news - we are excited to see if the favourites come through or if there are any unknown outsiders in the field!!!
Remember to have a look at:
Stage 2: Breaking News 6
"WOW WOW WOW WOW today is better than yesterday and yesterday was cool! Tough as hell to the point Ithought I might not finsh, but it was a SUPER FUN day!" Duncan Chau's summary of today.
"Another fantastic day – uncountable river crossings through icy melt water from the Andes, running down a 300 meter (only a guess but at least that much) sand dune, more spectacular scenery (really hoping those photos come out), and an unending final 11km to Camp 2 through real Chilean desert." Duncan Thompson sums up the day well.
Quote of the day goes to Jiani Buys from Canada describing the enourmous sand dune that they ran down "It felt like you fall into awesomeness".
While Scott Baldridge describes the icy water in the slot canyons "It’s a funny feeling when your upper body is hot and sweaty but your feet are frozen to the point that they are numb."
STAGE 2 IS DONE!
TOP 5 MEN - Overall (after two stages)
TOP 5 WOMEN - Overall (after two Stages)
So just 40 minutes between the Top 5 ladies - this is exciting!
Currently Paul Harrison from the United Kingdom and Team Chicken Heart from Japan are bring up the rear in just under 20 hours.
WEBSITE IS FULLY UPDATED:
VIDEO - a superb summary of today - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztRjVbShzcs
BLOGS - Ten entertaining and gritty new entries: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/blogs
STAGE UPDATE - coming soon - https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/stage_updates
Tomorrow is another day. Stage 3, The Atacamenos Trail will start again at 08:00. It is 39 km / 25 miles with very little elevation gain or loss (until the final climb into camp) but debateably the toughest stage of the race.
Stage 2: Breaking News 5
Stage 2 is complete. All competitors are safely at Camp 3 with the last ones arriving by 7pm.
There were a total of three withdrawals today: Isabelle Lo, Carla Jacko and Jorge Andullo Mendez. Everyone else is still in the race. All participants are doing well.
Results, photos, videos and blogs are going onto the website and should be completed within two hours.
Stage 2: Breaking News 4
Stage 2 is a beautiful stage, but it is also tough. Blue skies, fresh air, unbeatable camaraderie and stunnign scenery are keeping people inspired and excited. Everyone is staying strong and doing well. The scenery and diversity that racers experience today will stay in their memories for a lifetime!
There are a few photos from Stage 2 so far on the website. Full updates will happen when the stage is complete.
Below is the list of the people had completed Stage 2 by 4:07pm. There are 74 so far.
Checkpoint 2 and 3 are closed. There are two withdrawals, Carla Jacko and Jorge Andulla Mendez - everyone else is going strong. Although Mark Stiles described the final 11km / 7 mile section as "brutal". As it starts to cool down this will not be so tough for those further back.
1. Wong Ho Chung
2. Takuya Wakaoka
3. Christophe Santini
4. Maik Becker
5. Greg Roadley
6. Michal Gawron
7. Sifedine Daoudi
8. Jamie Harrison
9. Ash Mokhtari
10. Greg Nance
11. Christophe Castelberg
12. Sam Itah
13. Bart Van Schilt
14. Andrei Gligor
15. YoungRoc Kim
16. Hannah Walsh - 1st WOMAN
17. Chris Moreton
18. Stanilas Grau
19. Rob Moore
20. Alex Linkenbach
21. Denise Le - 2nd WOMAN
22. Marco Baumgartner
23. Lara Reynolds
24. Jason Chou
25. TEAM Grandslammers (Yoo, Choi, Cheogwak) - 1st TEAM
28. Daniel Nica
29. Jacqui Bell - 3rd WOMAN
30. Jos Warne
31. Yves Garrigue
32. Felix Vogler
33. Szilvia Lubics - 4th WOMAN
34. Andrew Reynolds
36. Hannah Knight
37 Victoria Connelly
38. Daniel Eberli
39. Hichame Moubarak
40. Tom Harvey
41. Ana Saravia
42. Fiona Oakes
43. Daniel Bell
44. Najomi Godenzi
45. William Chew
46. Duncan Chau
47. Karen Hayward
48. Tommy Jacobson
49. Jasmine Lo
50. Dean Scott
51. Ben Seymour
52 Richard Charles
53. Markus Stocklin
54. Noriaki Imai
55. Mark Stiles
56. Jisan Kim
57. Pablo Arrieta
58. Scott Baldridge
59. Marco Frisenda
60. Birgit Steiger
61. Max Barnes
62. David Jacko
63. Leon Clarence
64. Dominique Charton
65. Seunghyeon Yun
66. Lee Hoon
67. Hitoshi Umoeka
68. Momo Chan
69. Ana Saravia
70. Team AAJJMC from Macau (Wong, Wong & Lei). - 2nd TEAM
73. Akiyoshi Hirata
74. Arthur Azevedo
Stage 2: Breaking News 3
Wong Ho Chung has won Stage 2 in an impressive time of 3 hours and 31 minutes. He increased his lead to more than 40 minutes ahead of Takuya Wakaoka and Christophe Santini who were in 2nd and 3rd place respectively - just a few minutes apart.
For the women, the Top 3 were:
1. Hannah Walsh from the UK
2. Denise Le from Hong Kong
3. Lara Reynolds from South Africa
Checkpoint 2 has closed. The last competitor did not meet the cut-off time. Everyone else has completed the slot canyons section.
Checkpoint 3 has had more than 80 people through.
55 people have completed the Stage. The last few to arrive were:
A few photos of Stage 2 can be seen on the website: www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/photos
Stage 2: Breaking News 2
At 11:30am (3.5 hours into the race):
Checkpoint 1 which is 6km / 4 miles into Stage 2, closed at 09:45. Everyone passed through without problem.
Checkpoint 2 is 18 km / 11 miles and has had 67 people through. The first ten people through were:
1. Wong Ho Chung from Hong Kong- 14 minutes ahead of the pack
2, 3 & 4. Takuya Wakaoka (Japan), Christophe Santini (France) and Maik Becker (Switzerland) all together
5. Greg Roadley from New Zealand who finished 11th yesterday
6. Ash Mokhtari - 10 time Atacama Crossing veteran
7. Greg Nance from the United States
8. Michal Gawron from Poland
9. Sam Itah from Israel
10. Bart Van Schilt from Holland / Belgium
For the WOMEN
1. Hannah Walsh from the UK
2. Jacqui Bell from Australia - the leader at the start of Stage 1
3 & 4. Lara Reynolds (South Africa) and Denise Le (Hong Kong)
The most recent people to arrive at checkpoint 2 were:
The picutre below from the slot canyons gives you an idea of what they look like at a point where the water is lower. You can also watch a short video in the slot canyon of Wong Ho Chung going through
Stage 2: Breaking News 1
The Slot Canyons!!
Competitors set off at 08:00 for Stage 2 which is 37 km / 23 miles. They will continue to go down in overall elevation but still have some climbing, incluidng going up 300+ meters to an old mining tunnel and then down a spectacular dune the other side into the Valley of Death(!).
Section 1 is a short section up and then down into the river valley.
Section 2 goes into the slot canyons where they will be in water from ankle to thigh deep for about 5km / 3 miles before it opens up and dries out under foot.
Section 3 goes up a big hill (hard packed terrain), through a tunnel, along a ridge and then down a spectacular dune into the Valley of Death.
Section 4 goes through flat, dusty, hot, desert of Valley of Death and then over a small dune through desert farmland and into Camp.
It was another cold night and people were slower to get ready today feeling the aches and pains of Stage 1. However most people were up by 6am around the camp fires for a social breakfast and to warm up. However Michal Gawron from Poland slept right until the time of the breifing (30 minutes before the race starts). Fellow Polish competitor Marek Rybiec was all smiles as usual.
ABOVE - Good atmosphere at camp. Team GrandSlammers from Korea are leading the team competition. They join a photo with Team Chicken Hearts from Japan, Chloe Kim, Marek Rybiec and Christophe Santini. Look at that blue sky!!!
There is nervous anticipation about being in and out of icy cold water for the second section of the course. However with temperatures expected to rise again to at least 35C / 95F it could be a welcome start before the heat of the day.
There is one withdrawal. Isabelle Lo decided not to start the race today. She is planning to stay with the race to support competitors and help the volunteers. Carla Jacko who was the last to finish Stage 1 was feeling confident and happy this morning.
As we are already two hours into the Stage, most people will have passed Checkpoint 1 (only 6km / 4 miles) but no one has yet made it to Checkpoint 2 (18 km / 11 miles from the start).
More updates as we have them.
If you have not looked yet, then do catch up on the results, photos, videos, blogs and astage update from Stage 1: www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/live
Stage 3: Breaking News 5
Stage 3 is done and dusted! The last competitors crossed the line shortly before 20:00.
Summed up nicely by Lara Reynolds: "Great day. Happy to be done though. It was just desert and sand dunes. We had to crawl up the dune, so was literally clawing my way up."
It was a tough day but generally enjoyed and racers are glad to be at Camp. It was definitely an early to bed night as tired racers crawled into their sleeping bags before the sun went down and the temperatures drop.
Jiani Buys "The night skies here are out of this world!! So many stars and so bright, but it gets quite cold by 7:30pm till 7:30am and we get into our down sweaters!!! The heat of the desert make up for it – today only 38 degrees!!
Kit checks took place yesterday. The Top 10 men and women had their bags checked as they crossed the finishline - there are some penalties reflected in today's scores.
CURRENT STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 3:
1st. Wong Ho Chung - 10 hours 55 minutes
2nd Takuya Wakaoko - 12 hours 54 minutes
3rd Christophe Santini - 12 hours 59 minutes
4th Maik Becker - 14 hours 31 minutes
5th Greg Roadley - 15 hours 4 minutes
We have our third change in leader in three days! And there is just 3 minutes between the Top 2
1st Denise Le - 17 hours 40 minutes
2nd Hannah Walsh - 17 hours 43 minutes
3rd Lara Reynolds - 18 hours 22 minutes
4th Jacqui Bell - 18 hours 42 minutes
5th Victoria Connelly - 18 hours 44 minutes
There were some philosophical moments out there today:
Quote from the video: "You know running the desert gives me the opportunity to see places that I would never see otherwise. It's just amazing."
The WEBSITE IS FULLY UPDATED.
Stage 3: Breaking News 4
Stage 3 is complete! All competitors are well. There was just one withdrawal today, Paul Harrison. He said "I am going back home to train and will be back in 2019".
Here is a photo of some competitors waiting at the final checkpoint at camp (happy to enjoy the shade) to cheer in the competitors as they arrive.
Full update soon.
Stage 3: Breaking News 3
Top 5 runners have completed Stage 3!
That is five different nationalities in the Top 5!
Wong Ho Chung said he had a great day and thought the terrain between checkpoint 2 and 3 was the hardest, although the soft sand and short steep dunes after that were also a test. He has much respect for those who are out there for the full day. Back at home Wong Ho Chung is a fireman for the Hong Kong Fire Service.
Checkpoint 2 closed at 12:15 with Team Chicken Heart from Japan still bringing up the rear. That means that everyone has completed the first 17km / 11 miles of Stage 3. There have been no withdrawls today (so far).
Checkpoint 3 has had 76 runners through.
Checkpoint 4 has had 12 runners through.
MORE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS.
Stage 3: Breaking News 2
Stage 3 is gong well.
The leader Wong Ho Chung pass Checkpoint 3 at 11:20 – which means he has complete 34km / 22 miles in 3 hours and 20 minutes! There is just 5km / 3 miles to Camp to complete the Stage.
Currently 2nd place is not in sight. At Checkpoint Wong was 3 minutes ahead of 2nd place Wakaoka. At checkpoint 2 he was 10 minutes ahead. We shall await to see his overall lead
Checkpoint 1 closed at 10:30 with everyone passing through without a problem.
Checkpoint 2 had 98 people through at 11:22. The full order is below:
Marco Baumgarter is clearly having a good day. He said "I have ever reason to smile" when asked to smile for the camera.
Arthur Azevdeo from Brazil gives a wave to his wife and family.
Marco Frisenda from Switzerland / Italy has a quick stop at Checkpoint 2
Stage 3: Breaking News 1
Stage 3, The Atacamenos Trail is underway.
Competitors started at 08:00 from a very cold camp. They warmed up with a chorus of Happy Birthday to Leon Clarance and Jason Chou. Everyone was looking very happy with smiles and thumbs up from the Stage 3 start line.
Today is debatably the toughest stage of the race. It is 39km / 24 miles and there is only 330 meters elevation gain over the whole stage however the terrain is tough and there have already been two stages in the legs, backs and feet. This is when the salt flats starts (imagine walking on frozen broccoli or coral). There is also a lot of soft sand and short steep climbs up sand hills.
There are five Checkpoints today - you can see the distances and elevation below.
Big cheers went up for current leaders when they were announced at this mornings briefing.
MEN: Wong Ho Chung from Hong Kong who could be on for a course record. The record is currently 23 hours 48 minutes held by Vicente Garcia Beneito from Spain and was set in 2012 - he beat the previous course record set by Ryan Sandes in 2010 which was also under 24 hours.
WOMEN: Hannah Walsh from the United Kingdom has taken the overall lead from Jacqui Bell. However there are just 10 minutes between the Top 3 women and 40 minutes between the Top 5. This could be exciting.
TEAM: GrandSlammers from Korea retain their lead in the team division. They are 25th overall and have 4 hours on the 2nd place team from Macau.
There are still a total of just three withdrawals.
More news as we have it!
You can check out the updates after Stage 2:
Stage 4: Breaking News 5
Stage 4 is complete!
The last competitors reached Camp 5 at Lake Tebinquinche at 19:53. The last two competitors were Jiani Buys from Canada and Arthur Azevedo from Brazil.
No further withdrawals today after checkpoint 3 - just the 7 (apologies - I said 8 in the last update, it is 7) from the last breaking news.
The highlight of the day for a few competitors was to jump in Los Ojos, two massive water holes 5kms from camp. Duncan Chau and Jacqui Bell certainly made the most of it, even if it lost them a few places in their ranking.
There was another beautiful sunset over the salt lake which has sent competitors to bed to rest well before tomorrow Long March.
RESULTS, PHOTOS and a VIDEO from today will be uploaded shortly.
A few BLOGS to give you an idea of the day have been uploaded.
TOMOROW is the Long March - 80km / 50 miles that will take most competitors into the night (and some through to the next day).
Stage 4: Breaking News 4
At 19:20 there are just 23 more competitors left to complete the Stage. There were a total of 7 withdrawals today.
After the Top 10 below are the people who have arrived by in order
As she crossed the line, Simone Bishop said, “I am so proud of my daughter. Today was tough and she was extroadinary. I had forgotten how hard this race is.”
The withdrawals are Scott Baldridge, Sam Itah, Marco Frisenda, Momo Chan, Nick Chiang, Cristian Saravia and Toru Miyazawa. All are doing fine.
It is official that the Team from Japan, Chicken Hearts, have split as a team. Two of the members came in 11th and 12th having been last across the line for two days and later today Toru Miyazawa withdrew.
Stage 4: Breaking News 3
At 12:50 Wong Ho Chung completed Stage 4 - that is 47km in just under 5 hours which is a consistent 10km+ per hour running speed after running 120kms in the previous three day, with a heavy pack, in extreme heat and on difficult terrain!
As at 15:00 there are 10 competitors who have arrived at Camp 5 to complete the Stage:
1st Wong Ho Chung
2nd Takuya Wakaoka
3rd Christophe Santini
4th Maik Becker
5th Greg Roadley
6th Andrei Gligor
7th Sifedine Daoudi
8th Jamie Harrison
9th Michal Gawron
10th Bart Van Schilt
Chekpoint 2 closed 13:30 with Toru Miyazawa the last to leave - it appears that Team Chicken Heart are no longer a team but are all running as individuals now. There were six withdrawals at this checkpoint - everyone is doing fine.
BELOW: the photo of Sandra Wernli-Chiozzani (that didn't upload correctly in the last update)
Stage 4: Breaking News 2
Checkpoint 1 has closed before 11am. That is 10km of the difficult section done.
There was one withdrawal - Grand Slammer Scott Baldridge from the United States.
Checkpoint 2 had 64 competitors go through before 12 noon. In reverse order
64th Sandra Wernli-Chiozzani
63rd Ana Saravia
60nd TEAM GrandSlammers
59th Marek Rybiec
58th Daniel Nica
57th Njomi Godenzi
56th Daniel Bell
55th Jisan Kim
54th Dominique Charton
53rd Markus Stocklin
52nd William Chew
51st Hitoshi Umeoka
BELOW: Ana Saravia from Guatemala at Checkpoint 2
BELOW; Sandra Wernli-Chi0zzani from Switzerland (but living in Chile)
BELOW: Bekcy Gu on the course today
Stage 4: Breaking News 1
Stage 4, The Infamous Salt Flats
The race started this monring at 08:00 as always. Competitors were in great spirits - it seems they slept well with a warmer night than previously and they were likley more tired after yesterday's tough Stage. Mark Stiles even admitted that he "loved the tough testing section yesterday".
Today is a longer stage than usual at 47 km / 30 miles and there are five checkpoints.
The course starts with more of the salt (not) flats before going down a steep dune, through a green valley and then get to experience the infamous salt flats, an 11km section across a wide open dry salt lake on a donkey trail - the terrain is much flatter than yesterday. It is as much of a mental test today as a physical one with long, flat sections going into never-ending horizons. They are again surrounded by volcanoes but further away.
Stage distances and elevation are below:
Just 4 competitors have withdrawn so far. Let's hope they have another good day today.
It will be exciting to see if Wong Ho Chung can keep on track for a course record, how the positions will change among the top women and if everyone will complete the stage.
More updates will come as we have them as we have them.
Stage 5: Breaking News 9
This is the final update for Stage 5, the Long March to let you know that the website is fully updated with after the Long March
RESULTS - find out the actual time your friends finished, where that puts them overall before the final "sprint" into San Pedro and have a look at the changes among the rankings for the women.
PHOTOS - more than 300 photos from the Long March as well as some from Camp this morning.
BLOGS - ten new blogs that I highly recommend reading to get feel for what the competitors have experienced. In particular Maik Becker gives a good perspective from the leader group (although you may need to engage Google Translate) and Ernie Torain gives a real and raw account from further back in the field as well as explaining some of the deails of race life and logistics.
Duncan Thompson summarises the feelings from this week in his blog:
"The week has been incredible, exhausting, emotional, we’ve met great people, seen wonderful places, pushed our limits, and in the end we [he and his wife Becky Gu] came through it together !"
Stage 5: Breaking News 8
The Long Stage of the Atacama Crossing 2018 is complete.
Everyone is safely at Camp 6 resting and relaxing before the final push tomorrow back to San Pedro de Atacama where it all started. But first of all they get to relax at Camp 6 as they spend their final day and night in the Atacama Desert.
There no more people to withdrew. The last people to arrive at Camp was Lim Chunghyun - below is the full list of arrivals. Everyone was doing well. They were tired but so happy to be "home".
Stage 5: Breaking News 7
There are another eighteen competitors who have completed Stage 5, the Long March.
There are just 14 more people to complete the stage – and they are all within 15km / 9 miles of finish line.
The latest people who have reached Camp 6 are listed below. All are doing well – a little tired but happy to have completed the best part of the race.
Jiani Buys and Sandra Wernli-Chiozzani screamed with joy when they arrived!
61st – Daniel Bell and Najomi Godenzi
63rd – Team Macau: Wong, Wong & Lei
66th – Seunghyeon Yun and Jisan Kim
68th – Hannah Walsh
69th – Jiani Buys & Sandra Wernli-Chiozzani
71st – Chloe Kim and Lee Hoon
73rd – David Jacko
74th – Ana Saravia and Sofia Chahin
76th – Ernie Torain, Mike Nance and Evan Chiang
BELOW: Jiani Buys & Sandra Wernli-Chiozzani complete Stage 5
BELOW: Ernie Torain, Evan Chaing & Mike Nance
Don't forget there are some more PHOTOS from earlier today on the website.
Stage 5: Breaking News 6
At 01:00 (seventeen hours after the Stage started) there are sixty people who have reached Camp 6 to complete the Stage. The updated list of arrivals is below:
32nd – Greg Nance
33rd – Robin Moore
34th – Felix Vogler
35th – Alex Linkenbach
36th – Yves Garrigue
37th – Duncan Chau
38th – Jasmine Lo – FEMALE
39th – Pablo Arrieta
40th – Markus Stocklin
41st – Daniel Nica
42nd – Denise Le
43rd – Josh Warne
44th – Thomas Harvey
45th – Mark Stiles
46th – Max Barnes
47th – Andrew Reynolds
48th – TEAM GrandSlammers – Jason Yoo, Zealot Heogwak and Hongseok Choi
51st – William Chew
52nd – Fiona Oakes
53rd – Akiyoshi Hirata
54th – Hitoshi Umeoka
55th – Karen Hayward
56th – Dean Scott
57th – Dominique Charton
58th – Marshal Karesh
59th – Dedi Williamson
60th – Richard Charles
Denise was the leading lady coming into Stage 5, but with it being so tight between the women she will no longer hold this top place. The overall results will be updated after the last person crosses the finish line.
CHECKPOINT 6 (56 km / 35 miles) has closed and there no withdrawals.
Among others, we are stlil awaiting mother-daughter combo Simone & Kimberley Bishop. Simone is back at the Atacama Crossing after completing it 10 years ago and Kimberley volunteered here in 2017.
There is a small selection of PHOTOS on the websites from today from the startline to the finish line and highlights of everything in between.
Stage 5: Breaking News 5
It is now fourteen and a half hours after the stage started.
31 competitors have now completed the Long March are back at camp recovering from a long, hard day. Below is the list of arrivals after the Top 6 (who were mentioned in the previous breaking news):
Has had 42 people through. Apart from those that have already made it the last 5km / 3 miles to Camp 6 the following people have left CP8 and should be completing the Stage soon:
Even after 73 km Markus was still excited by how amazing the stars are and has his sense of humour as he said “Don’t take this personally but I have to go – otherwise I might get stuck here”
CHECKPOINT 5 – the Overnight (49km / 30 miles into the Stage)
All competitors have reached CP5. Just six are still there resting and eating – the six people are Lily Li, Erguo Wang and Weiqun Wang from Team China, Lim Chunghyun from Korea, Arthur Azevedo and Allan Carpes from Brazil. They will be on their way soon.
The most recent to leave the checkpoint in a small group were Nicole Mak, Victor Yung and Natalie Yiu all from Hong Kong.
Once at Camp competitors will enjoy some well deserved rest after a long week and yesterday’s Long March. The drums will beat through the night to welcome each competitor - the last competitors will still be completing the Stage 5 after it is light in the morning. The rest of the day will be spent relaxing, chatting with other competitors, reagaling stories of the week, sleeping, eating any last remnants of food left and enjoying their last day in the desert.
Friends & Family who are joining the RacingThePlanet experience will arrive at Camp 6 in the afternoon to experience the atmosphere, eat freeze dried meals and spend the night at Camp (in separate tents). They will then have the opportunity to run the last Stage in San Pedro on Saturday.
Stage 5: Breaking News 4
Nearly 12 hours after the Long March started, there are still just six people who have complted the 79km / 49 mile course and arrived at Camp 6 (CP9). They are:
BELOW: Christophe and Maik cross the finish line together.
BELOW: Maik has found the closes shady point to rest.
CHECKPOINT 8 (74km / 46 miles into the Stage)
This is the penultimate checkpoint of the Stage.
There are 19 people through with just 5km / 3 miles to go from here to complete the Stage!
Lara Reynolds is still leading the Stage for the ladies and has just arrive at CP8
BELOW: Christoph Castelberg and Daniel Eberli
CHECKPOINT 5 (49km / 30 miles into the Stage)
Has had 75 people through
Checkpoint 5 is the overnight where competitors are provided with hot water and can also spend some extra time in sleeping tents to rest. Here Chloe Kim and Lee Hoon are doing just that.
Has closed. There are no further withdrawals.
Stage 5: Breaking News 3
Wong Ho Chung from Hong Kong has won the Long March of the Atacama Crossing 2018 in 7 hours and 44 minutes.
That gives Wong an overall time so far of approx. 23 hours 20 minutes with a 13km final Stage on Saturday. The course record is 23 hours 46 minutes - in 2012, when the record was set, the leaders time after Stage 5 was 23 hours 11. It looks like the course record is safe but we will wait for Wong's official result and final stage before giving up hope. However if Wong runs under 24 hours, he will be only the third person to have ever done that - joining Ryan Sandes and Vicente Garcia Beneito.
Only five people have passed through CP6. There is no change in order, but the times are quite interesting
1st Wong Ho Chung @ 13:25
2nd Takuya Wakaoka @ 14:30
3rd Christophe Santini @ 15:10
4th Maik Becker @ 15:19
5th Greg Roadley @ 15:32
Closed at 15:02 The last competitors to leave were Victor Yung and Natalie Yiu from Hong Kong. Below are the last to arrive (in reverse order):
It is nice to see competitors at the back in small groups. It would be an even longer day on your own and will be helpful when it gets dark to buddy up.
Noriaki Imai withdrew before checkpoint 3 with an ankle problem
You can see a few PHOTOS taken at checkpoints so far today on the website
Stage 5: Breaking News 2
At 12:30 – four and half hours into the race there are the following updates from the course:
CHECKPOINT 3 (29km / 18 miles)
Has had 17 people through, the leaders are:
Greg Roadley said he is enjoying the course but is also looking forward to a shower.
Andrei Gligor is feeling the heat, but going strong
CHECKPOINT 2 (22km / 13 miles)
Has had 62 people through.
The women came through in the following order.
The most recent people to leave the checkpoint were
Shinya Nakao and Hideki Fujikawa who split up as team after Stage 3 when they were in last place are in 21st place.
Felix Vogler arrived at the same time in joint 21st. He asked “are we at Camp yet?”. It’s going to be a very long day for him.
Alex Linkenbach was 28th
Tommy Jacobsen and Robin Moore came through together in 34th
Chris Moreton was was 37th
Mark Stiles & Tom Harvey were 49th
Top Left Mark Stiles & Tom Harvey
Top Right Maik Becker
Bottom Left: Ben Seymour
Bottom Righ: Wong Ho Chung
CHECKPOINT 1 has closed
Birgit Steiger did not start the Stage today as she was not feeling well when she woke up.
Stage 5: Breaking News 1
So here we go - the Long March! 79km / 49 miles across Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna).
Competitors set off at 08:00. The leaders will likely be finished before 18:00 tonight, before it gets dark. Those at the back of the field will reach Camp 6 tomorrow morning - more than 24 hours after starting.
There are a total of 9 checkpoints. The details of distance and elevation is below.
The start line was quieter than usual. Some tired people, some pensive about the Long March ahead and other focused on the task in front of them.
Here is what is in store for them in Moon Valley. An incredible place that makes you feel like you are literally walking on the moon!
David Jacko was inroduced to the Atacama Crossing by his wife who came as a competitor some years ago. He then volunteered and is now having a ball running across this beautiful place.
Ernie Torain had a solid day yesterday managing his nutrition well. He is listening to an audio book of seom adventurers having a tougher time than he is to keep him motivated.
Iris Derke is loving the environment and cameraderie. Getting through the race is just part of the experience for her. She describes the people at the race as "the kind of folks you want in your lifeboat. Kind, generous, humane, and know how to save the world with duct tape and superglue."
Of course the RESULTS are also there. Will Wong Ho Chung set a course record? What will happen among the women where there is 10 minutes between first and second place and the Top 5 are all quite close together? Will Hichame Moubarak, Leon Clarence, Hideki Fujikawa and Shinya Nakao continue to climb up the leader board as they did yesterday?
Stage 6: Breaking News 2
And that’s a wrap, the Atacama Crossing 2018 is complete.
Stage 6, The Final Footsteps into San Pedro, was staggered start with the slower people leaving at 07:30 and the faster ones at 09:00 to complete the 13 km / 8 mile Stage.
Arthur Azevedo and Allan Carpes were the first to cross the finish line – having had an early start. The only other early starters to make it to San Pedro in front of the leaders were Duncan Thompson, Becky Gu, Nicole Mak, James Hughes, Iris Derke and Evan Chiang.
Wong Ho Chung was the first of the late starters to cross the line, taking 58 minutes to complete the 13kms.
Lim Chunghyun from Korea was the last person to cross the finish line in 4 hours 21 minutes concluding the event.
There were tears, laughter, relief, happiness and a true sense of achievement. A local band played as people crossed the finishline and a marching band parade came through to join the celebrations.
Duncan Chau said “Amazing, it’s the toughest of all, but that will make so memorable”.
Meanwhile Takuya Wakaoka has plans to climb Volcan Licancabur tomorrow(!), a 5,920 meter / 19,422 foot volcano that has looked down on the Atacama Crossing from every angle – almost always being in view on the course.
STAGE 6 FINISH TIMES
TOP 10 for the MEN
TOP 10 for the WOMEN
Now it is off to the Awards Banquet to celebrate further. The overall winners for the Men, Women and Teams will be presented their awards. The Age Group winners will also be presented with a special trophy and a special award for the Sportsmanship and Spirit will be presented. A final breaking news with these winners will be sent after the presentations
The website has been fully updated with
VIDEOS – from Stage 6
STAGE UPDATE and the FINAL PRESS RELEASE are to follow
We will later produce a short documentary film on the race that will be sent to competitors in the race.
Stage 6: Breaking News 1
The final Stage of the 2018 Atacama Crossing takes place today. Competitors will run the last 13km / 8 miles from Camp 6 in Moon Valley to San Pedro de Atacama finishing in San Pedro Main Square. The whole town (and most of the dogs) will get involved being there to cheer competitors across the final finish line.
The person is expected to arrive before 10am and it will all be over by midday as the last people hobble their way to the end.
The final results, a full set of photos, a video documentary, the final stage update and press release from the week will be posted on the website later today.
Get ready to cheer on your friends, family and favourite from the week.
BELOW: final finishline is set up and ready in San Pedro.