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The Stage Updates below are from the 2017 edition of the Race. The 2018 Stage Updates will be added closer to the time of the race.

Pre-Race Update

PRE-RACE UPDATE - Saturday, 30 September 2017

After many months (and years) of planning and preparing for this race competitors from all over the world left the desert oasis of San Pedro  de Atacama for Camp 1, Rainbow Valley, deep in the Atacama Desert today.  Competitors are currently spending their first night in the desert with their tent-mates for the week.

That last few days have been spent resting, acclimatizing, exploring, shaking out the legs with desert runs,  eating, hydrating, meeting up with old and new desert friends and having the opportunity to listen to Top Tips from eight-time Atacama Crossing veteran Ash Mokhtari in an around the stunning desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama. 

Today was a day of race administration with a pre-race briefing, race check-in, a final lunch and then off to the desert.  All competitors passed the check-in (after some last minute purchases for some).  The lightest backpack was 6.5kg belonging to Yujie (Ricky) Cao from China.  The heaviest was Erik Kovessy from Canada at a huge 14.5kg.

At last tomorrow the race starts at 08:00.  Follow the race through the website:


In particular:


Below are more competitor thoughts from competitors are they go into the race. 



Robert Allen from UK / Hong Kong: The town of San Pedro itself reminds me of a Spaghetti Western town but with jazz cafes, outdoor gear shops better stocked than those in Hong Kong, arts and crafts.

Ben Davies from UK: The hotel is too good! And lulling us into a false sense of 'holiday'...pool, sun, ...it has taken a lot of will power to remain 'good'

Ben Fox from UK / Hong Kong: the town of San Pedro look like Clint Eastwood shoud come walking around the corner any minute.

Michael Vad from Denmark: small desert village San Pedro de Atacama. Surrounded by volcanos and sand dunes the setting of the village is epic.

Ken Wee from Singapore / Hong Kong: San Pedro de Atacama is a charming little oasis in the driest desert in the world. A little Wild West of sort; a very cool place and the surrounding areas are immensely beautiful. This place is a paradise for landscape and wildlife photographers.



There is a great competitor field – more than 30 countries are represented with Japan, UK and USA the most represented. It’s packed with strong contenders at the front and inspiration further back.  The favorites for the race include Zandy Mangold from the United States, Ben Fox from the United Kingdom / Hong Kong, Kathia Rached from Lebanon and Angela Zeah from Germany / United States. One of the highlights of every race is the people taking part and the friendships that are formed. 

Marisa Holman from New Zealand: It's always nice reuniting with competitors from last races and catching up. While months and sometimes years pass between seeing some of these people it always feels like yesterday when especially when recounting our stories from past races. It feels a bit like a family reunion where your family is made up of hundreds of crazy runners!

Ben Davies: Seeing all the other competitors arrive at the hotel gets the excitement building

We also have one blind competitor, Vladmi dos Santos from Brazil.   Robert Allen describes meeting him, “a blind competitor Vlad came into the café following the smell of café and sound of jazz. He had a 4 Deserts Tattoo on his arm, so I struck up conversation. He has completed the Atacama two times before. He was in the navy and lost his sight when he was 34 years old and now is a Para-Olympian with the world record for longest distance run blind.  He ended up being my guide around San Pedro as he knew where to buy batteries.”

Also at the start line is also model and author from Taiwan, Yuli Lin.


Spirits are high, everyone is excited but there are definitely some interesting pre-race thoughts and nerves.  Here are some of the thoughts before the race.

Robert Allen: I’m told that Atacama is the most difficult and the most beautiful of all the races, and look forward to seeing all the stars in the clear night sky.

Jeremy Goddard from the UK: It's been good fun meeting everyone and there is a great atmosphere this morning. Excited and nervous!

Liane Israel from South Africa: seeing some of the athletes coming back from a run this morning when I arrived from the airport.. kinda scared me! They are looking for, good and pretty serious.  Hopefully some more novices come along.  :) however I’m confident in my run/walk strategy and doing everything at my own manageable pace! What can go wrong! 

Erik Kovessy from Canada:  Met my roomate who is a super nice guy so that´s a plus althought I can´t imagine not nice people doing this race!   



The climate has been hot and dry with cold nights.  This is expected to stay for the duration of the race – only a bit hotter, drier and strong winds (gusts up to 60km per hour) expected on Stage 1.  Competitors have been making their own observations and investigations.

Robert Allen the sun feels more intense than anything I have felt before, and I am eager to get some protection on my skin. On the bus to San Pedro I could already feel my lips cracking from the dryness, and my ears could feel the altitude.

Ben Davies: It’s a solid blue sky late 20 degrees in the day so preparing myself for plenty of sweating and doubled up on sunblock. At night it drops down pretty low and a jacket/ trousers is needed so plenty of contrast temperature wise.

Harriet Halfhead from the UK:  Camp 1 is at 10,000ft and is going to be cold - I'm going to wear everything!!!

Heather Gordon from Ireland I had not suffered any adverse effects from the altitude (San Pedro is circa 2,500m/8,000feet), so I decided to run to town. After about 3 minutes my heart rate had jumped way higher than normal, and continued to rise; despite my exceptionally steady pace! After 3km, it became harder to breathe as the air is so thin. I was surprised at how difficult it was to run in such altitude, and 250km seemed a whopper challenge given my struggle to make it to town and back!

Erik Kovessy: oh man it is sunny hot and dry, we are in for quite a few tough days!! 



Stage 1 Update

Zandy Mangold from the United States and Angela Zeah from Germany won Stage 1 of the 13th edition of the Atacama Crossing 250km, 6-stage footage through the most beautiful and harsh desert in South America. 

The blind competitor from Brazil, Vladmi dos Santos and his guide finished in an impressive 50th position!!

The 2017 edition of the race got underway yesterday, Sunday 1 October, when competitors representing more than 30 countries started Stage 1 of the six-stage race. 

The first Stage of the race was 36km / 22 miles through the rugged and harsh terrain of the Atacama Desert.  The stage started at an attitude of 3,000 meters / 10,500 feet and passed through rock fields, canyons, wide open desert and to a long uphill climb up an old Inca caravan route. If that wasn’t hard enough there was a howling winds blowing at 60km / hours with gusts of more than 80km/hour.

The stage concluded after nearly 10 hours when the final competitor Yui Hirabayashi from Japan crossed the stage finishline. 

Top 5 results after Stage 1 are:



  1. Zandy Mangold (USA) – 4 hrs 10 mins
  2. Ian Malcolm (UK) – 4 hrs 17 mins
  3. Danny Switzynck (Belgium) – 4 hrs 26 min
  4. Ben Fox (UK) – 4 hrs 30 mins
  5. Simon Wilson (UK) – 4 hours 35 mins
  1. Angela Zeah (GER) – 4 hrs 23 mins
  2. Kathia Rached (Lebanon) – 4 hrs 40 mins
  3. Heather Jablonowski (Canada) – 5 hrs 33 mins
  4. Linda Wilson (Canada) – 6 hrs 0 mins
  5. Kimberley Tompson (Australia) – 6 hrs 3 mins

For more information to go:

  • Full results: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/results
  • Stage 1 photos: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/photos
  • Breaking News as it happens: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/breaking_news
  • Blogs written by competitors: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/blogs
  • As well as our 4 Deserts social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube


Stage 2 of the Atacama Crossing is another 36km / 22 miles through slot canyons,  a mining tunnel, down a spectacular dune and through the valley of death.

Stage 2 Update

The Atacama Crossing (Chile) starts on Sunday, 1 October 2017.

The Stage Update for Stage 2 will be posted on Monday, 2 October 2017.

Stage 3 Update

The Atacama Crossing (Chile) starts on Sunday, 1 October 2017.

The Stage Update for Stage 3 will be posted on Tuesday, 3 October 2017.

Stage 4 Update

The Atacama Crossing (Chile) starts on Sunday, 1 October 2017.

The Stage Update for Stage 4 will be posted on Wednesday, 4 October 2017.

Stage 5 Update

The final Stage of the Atacama Crossing 2017 will be a sprint for 2nd and 3rd place with just 15 minutes separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th place after 140kms running through some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain.

Stage 5 of the Atacama Crossing concluded today – 23 and a half hours after it started at 8am yesterday morning!  Zandy Mangold from the United States won the 73 km Stage in 9 hours and 8 minutes despite having already run more than 160kms through the harsh terrain and intense heat of the driest desert in the world.  His first place gives him nearly 2 hours lead over 2nd place as they prepare for the final Stage of the race - a short 8km sprint into San Pedro Square.

Meanwhile Danny Swtizynck from Belgium and Ben Fox from the United Kingdom will be running for 2nd place with just four minutes separately the two.  Douglas Costa from Brazil is certainly not out of the running – he currently holds 4th place, just nine minutes behind Fox.

1st – Zandy Mangold – United States – 28 hours 9 minutes

2nd – Danny Switzynck – Belgium – 29 hours 51 minutes

3rd – Ben Fox – United Kingdom – 29 hours 56 minutes

4th – Douglas Costa – Brazil – 30 hours 5 minutes


For the women, the podium places look to be set to go to Germany, Lebanon and Italy with the three women each comfortably in their positions:

1st – Angel a Zeah – Germany – 30 hours 22 minutes

2nd – Kathia Rached – Lebanon – 33 hours 15 minutes

3rd – Ita Marzotto – Italy – 38 hours 9 minutes


At the back of the field the last competitor has completed the five stages in nearly 63 hours 58 minutes. Eighty-six competitors in total have completed the Five Stages of the race (so far) with 12% withdrawing since Stage 1 started six days ago.   

Marisa Holman from United States / New Zealand summed up Stage 5: “I got to experience some of the most beautiful terrain I have ever seen in my life.  It was beautiful and extremely brutal and a day that will be forever etched in my mind.”


RESULTS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/results
PHOTOS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/photos

BLOGS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/blogs

Stage 6 Update

The final stage of the Atacama Crossing has concluded.  Zandy Mangold and Angela Zeah won the Stage – that means they have both won every stage of the race and are the Champions of 2017 for the men and women respectively. 

The final stage was a short 8km / 5 miles to the final finishline in San Pedro main square. The atmosphere was electric with race staff , volunteers, friends / family who had come to the finishline to see their loved ones cross the line, competitors who had withdrawn earlier in the week and the local people in San Pedro (residents and visitors alike). 

Top 10 across the finish line of Stage 6 were:

  1. Zandy Mangold – United States – in 42 minutes
  2. Danny Switznyck – Belgium
  3. Ian Malcolm – United Kingdom
  4. Douglas Costa - Brazil
  5. Ben Fox – United Kingdom
  6. Jeremy Goddard – United Kingdom
  7. Binh Nguyen - Denmark
  8. Angela Zaeh - Germany
  9. Takehito Maruyama - Japan
  10. Robert Wieclawski – Poland

That is eight nationalities in the Top 10!

There were no ranking changes until 25th place. The Top 4 came in nearly in the same order as their overall ranking after Stage 5.  Douglas Costa was 10 seconds ahead of Ben Fox but that wasn’t enough to move his overall position.  Ian Malcolm finished 3rd place in Stage 6 but that was also not enough to change his ranking – instead he has earned an Age Group Win in the 40-49 category.

Jeremy Goddard retained his 13th place. Deo Encarnaction was 26 seconds behind him before the stage start .  Feeling determined, he strapped up his feet and beat him by over 3 minutes. He said “giving up 13th place after all that running - not a chance!”.  For Deo, 14th is still his highest ranking in a 4 Deserts Race so everyone is happy.

Leah Mink from the United States moved one place into 25th place overall up ahead of Eilon Armon from Israel  Robert Wieclawski  and Stephane Boss also managed to moved up a place to 39th and 40th with Matthew Tompson moving down two places, but there were just minutes in it. 

Four Koreans were the last people to cross the final finishline of the race were – coming across together to loud cheers.  They were Dami Ane, Eun Ju Jung, Wongseok Chey and Juhwan Park

Festivities continued into the afternoon.  The Awards Banquet is taking place now where competitors will eat, drink and celebrate a tough but amazing week in the most beautiful desert in South America.  The overall Top 3, team category winner, age group winners, Spirit and Sportsmanship Awards will all be presented. 

There are seven people who joined the 4 Deserts Club when they crossed the final finishline in San Pedro.  This means they have now completed all 4 Deserts Races - they will be awarded their 4  Deserts medal tonight.  And those who are now qualified for The Last Desert (Antarctica) – having completed two of the 4 Deserts – will be presented their invitation to the race.


FINAL RESULTS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/results

STAGE 6 PHOTOS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/photos

Videos from Stage 6 will be added shortly

Post-Race Update

Atacama Crossing – Post Race Update

The Atacama Crossing has concluded and the Awards Banquet took place in San Pedro with celebrations going into the night (Stage 7 for some!)

It’s been a week of challenges, achievements, celebrations, tears, laughter, intense heat, freezing nights, demanding dunes and dry air in the Atacama Desert 

Awards were presented to the overall Top 3, team category winner who was Xiamen University from China and the Age Group winners, as well as the special awards for Sportsmanship and Spirit.



  1. Zandy Mangold (USA) – 28 hrs 52 mins
  2. Danny Switzynck (Belgium) – 30 hrs 35 mins
  3. Ben Fox (UK) - 30 hrs 41 mins
  4. Douglas Costa (Brazil) – 30 hrs 50 mins
  5. Ian Malcolm (UK) - 33 hrs 27 mins
  1. Angela Zaeh (Germany) – 31 hrs 9 mins
  2. Kathia Rached (Lebanon) – 34 hrs 7 mins
  3. Ita Marzotto (Italy) – 36 hrs 6 mins
  4. Linda Wilson (Canada) – 40 hrs 27 mins
  5. Heather Jablonowski (Canada) – 40 hrs 44 min





29 & Under

Tae Hun Park (KOR)

Gemma Gordon (IRE)


Douglas Cost (BRA)

Kimberley Thompson (AUS)


Ian Malcolm (UK)

Heather Jablonowski (CAN)


Ash Mokhatari (CAN)

Linda Wilson (CAN)


Shevaun Sedlock (CAN)


Vladmi dos Santos – the blind competitor from Brazil finished an impressive 42nd place in 48 hours and 34 minutes.

SPIRIT                         –  Kim & Jerry Beuno from the United States

SPORTSMANSHIP    – Aniceto de Almeida from Brazil

To review the full coverage of the week have a look at:

FINAL RESULTS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/results

PHOTOS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/photos

VIDEOS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/videos

BLOGS: https://www.4deserts.com/atacamacrossing/blogs