Sat, 17 June 2017 at 23:00
Competitors arrived at Camp 1 welcomed by local dancers and musicians. After their their first meal out in the desert and have now settled in their yurts for the night. Although it took some getting used to it being light until 10pm.
Sat, 17 June 2017 at 14:30
It is currently 15:00 on Sat, 17 June in Hami. Competitors have had their last sleep in a comfortable bed and last shower for a week.
Today has a been a busy day which started with breakfast followed by a briefing at 09:00 and then race check-in where competitors have had all their gear, paperwork and medical details checked. In a couple of hours they will head out to Camp 1 in the Gobi Desert where they will spend their first night in the desert – and for many their first night in a traditional yurt.
Back weights are still being checked, but Canadian Cynthia Fish’s bag weighed in at 11kg – despite six 4 Deserts / RacingThePlanet races and her third consecutive Gobi March she still likes to keep certain luxuries.
Andrei Gligor from Romania and Eilon Armon from Israel are back for their second 4 Deserts race this year having competed in the Sahara Race (Namibia) last month.
The weather in Hami is beautiful and sunny at a pleasant 32C / 90F and blue sky. It is a little cooler at Camp 1 - currently around 23C / 73F which is at an altitude 2,400meters / 7,800 feet.
After their first night sleep in the desert the Gobi March 2017 will start tomorrow at 09:00 for a Stage of 35km / 22 miles in the Strange Rock Valley.
The website has been updated:
More than 100 PHOTOS from today: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos
Final BLOGS before competitors head out to the Gobi Desert, in particular new entries from Runi Simonsen from the Faroe Islands and Wendy Yee from Singapore who tells about how she has always more of a dancer than a runner / outdoors person.
Fri, 16 June 2017 at 14:50
It is Friday, 16 June at 14:50 local time (same as Beijing) in Hami. Excitement is rising as competitors from all around the world arrive for the 14th edition of the Gobi March! Volunteers have taken a break from training for a lunch of delicious Uyghur noodles and competitors are exploring Hami (or still on their way - the last group travel will arrive late tonight).
The weather is perfect at a pleasant 30C / 86F (approx.) dry heat with a bit of a breeze, but will it last for the week on the course?!
So far seen around town (and at breakfast in the Hami Hotel) include:
Annastiina Hintsa and Mikke Tag from Finland as well as Clarence Chan and Weiloong Lee (Fuse) from Singapore are on the train headed to Hami as we speak - they will arrive early this evening. There are few flight delays including the early flight Hong Kongers with Brits Ben Fox, Richard Sanderson and few others on board but looks like it's all going to work out.
For competitors, today is a day of travel and rest (and packing, re-packing, unpacking and packing again). It all gets underway tomorrow with a morning briefing, race check-in where ALL mandatory equipment and forms are checked, the medical team meet each person and the race bibs, race passport, timing chip, toilet paper bags(!!) and course notes are given out. Then it's lunch and onto buses to head out to Camp 1 to spend their first night in the Great Gobi Desert before the race starts at 9am on Sunday, 18 June.
Fri, 9 June 2017 at 11:51
This is where you will find breaking news from the Gobi March in China which begins on 18 June 2017 and concludes on 24 June 2017. The LIVE summary page is now available at www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/live. As well as breaking news there is also a summary (and links to the full information) of results, photos, blogs written from the desert, videos, stage updates and more.
We hope you enjoy following the race live from the Great Gobi Desert.
Fri, 22 July 2016 at 14:00
The next edition of the Gobi March (China) starts on Sunday, 18 June 2017. Sign up for the Breaking News to receive live updates several times a day during the race.
The Pre-Race Breaking News will start the week starting 12, June 2017.
Sun, 18 June 2017 at 20:30
Stage 1 concluded shortly after 17:00 local time in Hami - 8+ hours after the start - when Wu Shuyang and his son Wu Wenghua arrived at Camp.
FULL RESULTS can be seen on the website as well as some photos from today's race and some updated blogs by Runi Simonsen and Massimo Mazza.
Among others to mention Robert Cookson from UK finished close to 15:30 in six and half hours and 74th place. Just in front of him was Wendy Yee from Singapore and Cynthia Fish just behind him.
It was a day of strong performances and stories of camaraderie have started with people enjoying the day with ideal running conditions, beautiful scenery and tough dune climb. It was on this stage last year that we first met "Gobi" the dog who following competitors for the next few stages and was eventually adopted by one competitor.
More photos will be added as soon as it is possible.
Sun, 18 June 2017 at 16:00
The Results of the Top 63 are now on the website. These people all came in by 15:00 local time - which means they finished the stage within six hours (or just over).
You can also send messages of support to competitors through the results page - find the person's name and click "send an email". They will receive these at the Camp each night.
News on the Team Competition is that Team Run for Fun from France came in 1st place - a little over one hour of Smith Team Racing from Australia. Team Five Legs Never Quit is still out on the course and Team Esquel is bringing up the rear of the race with the sweepers.
The most recent people to make to the Camp 2 having completed Stage 1 were David Nicholson and Dolores Paez (they are the ones celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary), Sandy Huang from China and BK McDonough from the United States.
Sun, 18 June 2017 at 14:45
Ben Dame from Germany has won Stage 1 of the Gobi March 2017 in a time of 3 hours and 11 minutes - a lead of 12 minutes in front of second place. Ben said "that Stage was awesome" when he crossed the finishline for today's race.
Clare Thompson from the UK took 1st place for the women in 3 hours and 35 minutes.
TOP 5 OVERALL:
TOP 3 WOMEN:
Andrei Gligor said " that was a HUGE dune - it took me 20 minutes to climb it".
At 14:41, nearly six hours after the stage started, 46 people have completed the stage. Most recent to cross the finish line were Olivia Chiu from Australia / Hong Kong, Angela Zaeh from Germany, Samantha Lappin from Canada, Philip Leung from Hong Kong, Minori Hosono from Japan and Mikael Tag from Finland.
Sun, 18 June 2017 at 12:00
Everyone is moving fast on Stage 1. Ben Dame set off fast and it is looking like he will win Stage 1 but he is yet to reach the final checkpoint (which is Camp).
The first competitor, Ben Dame, passed through Checkpoint 1 after just 40 minutes (it was a short leg) and the checkpoint closed after Kin Chan, Francis Chan and Lai Shan Sui from Team Esquel reached the checkpoint 2 hours and 16 minutes after the start.
The second checkpoint closed on time for cut-off at 13:00 - three hours after the start. Philip Leung took just over two hours for the first two sections. Yunhan NAE from Korea and Chien Viu (Norman) Sia from Malaysia went through two and half hours after the start. Mr. Fung - the amputee from Hong Kong in the Team Five Legs Never Quit (with his wife and Yuen Leung SIU) was through in two hours forty minutes.
Arthur Azevdo from Brazil was going strong, despite having one of the heaviest packs of the race.
Sun, 18 June 2017 at 10:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 is underway - competitors started Stage 1 one hour ago (at 09:00 local time). The field of 106 competitors from more than 30 countries around the world set off through open fields with the Tian Shan mountain range as a stunning backdrop and a herd of sheep as their audience. It is a little cooler today and overcast an a chance of light rain(!).
After many months of preparation, the group was excited to get started and start running in this special and sensitive part of the world.
Today the course is at an altitude above 2,000 meters / 6,500 feet. and they will go over a massive sand dune about halfway through the stage. Due to some changes in the area today's Stage has been altered - today competitors will be running 26.4km / 16 miles through three checkpoints (the third checkpoint is Camp).
Rhys, Alison and Kayte Smith, the Australians who form Smith Team Racing were particularly excited to get going. It's going to be an interesting competition for the Teams in this race - there are four teams in total from Australia, France and two from Hong Kong.
The first competitors are expected to complete the stage in less than three hours.
Stay tuned here for more updates which will be out on breaking news first and can be checked at: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/live
Enjoy looking through the photos from yesterday, including the arrival at Camp 1.: WWW.4DESERTS.COM/GOBIMARCH/PHOTOS
Sat, 15 October 2016 at 00:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 starts on 18 June.
Breaking news for Stage 1 will be posted on Sun, 18 June 2017.
Mon, 19 June 2017 at 22:00
All competitors completed Stage 2 and arrived safely at camp by 8pm after a tough day of hills up to a mountain pass in the Tian Shan mountains. It is a chilly night tonight so people are in their yurts to stay warm and get some rest.
PHOTOS from today can be seen on the website and full RESULTS are up - the rest will be added soon. You can also read the summary stage update to find out some of the major changes in the rankings. However the 1st man and 1st woman remain the same as Ben Dame and Clare Thompson respectively.
STAGE UPDATE: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/stage_updates
Mon, 19 June 2017 at 18:30
At 18:30 local time - nine and half hours after the start of the race this morning - 74 competitors have completed Stage 2. The most recent competitors to reach the camp are Kido Ryoji from Japan, Chen Jie from China, Mark Liu from Singapore, Hsu Ting Chu from Taiwan, Massimo Mazza from Italy and Arthur Azevedo from Brazil (colleagues who live in Sao Paulo in Brazil).
Meanwhile CP3 has closed with everyone making it through and Team Esquel bringing up the rear.
BK McDonough from the United States came 63rd position in 8 hours 50 minutes. BK was having a great day, she said thought the view from the high point was amazing and she was then followed down the hill by curious and playful Gobi the goat.
Below is the view from the high point when the weather is good. This was taken last week but some people got to see this view before the clouds came in.
The results so far will be up on the website soon. https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
Watch videos with the leaders after Stage 1: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/videos
All updates will go to: www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/live
Mon, 19 June 2017 at 15:10
The first 13 people have completed Stage 2 of the Gobi March. The first three all arrived together in just under five hours - Ben Dame from Germany, Jeff Ross from Scotland and Rodric Williams from Australia are the joint winners of Stage 2. Clare Thompson from the UK brings it home for the women with Alexandra Schneider just 20 minutes behind in 2nd place.
The finishers of Stage 2 so far are:
1st Ben DAME - Germany
2nd Jeffrey ROSS - Scotland
3rd Rodric WILLIAMS - Australia
4th Ben FOX - UK
5th Dirk DIEMONT - South Africa
6th Andrei GLIGOR - Romania
7th Clare THOMPSON - UK - FIRST WOMAN
8th Miguel ALCOBER - Spain
9th Nicola CIANI - Italy
10th Jim STEELE - UK
11th Alexandra SCHNEIDER - UK - SECOND WOMAN
12th Richard SANDERSON - UK
13th Matthew PRYKE - UK
46 people are through CP3 and completing the final leg to Camp (or at Camp) to finish the Stage 2. Everyone was looking good, but some a bit tired after a big climb and steep descent.
There is some light rain on the course up at the top of the mountain pass but CP2 has closed with Team Esquel - Kin Chan, Francis Chan and Lai Shan Sui from Hong Kong - the last to leave the checkpoint and on their way down.
Kam-Hung FUNG from Team Five Legs Never Quit was captured on his way to the highest point of the course. You can also read an article about Mr. Fung and his team in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's main English language newspaper: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/2098698/hong-kong-blade-runner-enters-gobi-desert-race
Be sure to have a look at a few Videos from Stage 1, including interviews with the leaders (and Jeffrey Ross worried that he had gone out too fast yesterday on Stage 1?!?!?!)
Mon, 19 June 2017 at 13:00
Competitors are progressing well on Stage 2 of the Gobi March. At 12:07 twenty people had already reached the halfway point of the Stage - that is 3 hours into the race and 17.4km / 10.8 miles done. Checkpoint 2 is also the highest point of the course at 2,900m / 9,500 feet which also means it's a cool 11C / 52F which is nice for a big climb - it's a bit overcast but no rain. It's all down hill from here ...
The Top 20 at the halfway point are below:
Adam Pakhido from Australia enjoyed the first section describing it as "nice and cool and very scenic".
Smith Team Racing were feeling positive and said "we're coming for you frenchies!" - this is referring to the rival team from France, Run for Fun who is ahead of them.
Team Run for FUN were in great spirits at the halfway point, not aware of their rivals determination but they spent a bit of time at the checkpoint for the "papa" of the team, Xavier who is 59 years old, to have a knee graze seen to. His team mates are 33 and 27 years old.
Rodric Williams from Australia came in 3rd place at the halfway mark and said he wasn't feeling the altitude at all!
Jim Steele from the UK, on the other hand "wow those are hills - we don't have those in Manchester"
Runi Simonsen from the Faroe Islands loved the views - he said "we have hills in the Faroe Islands, but not like these"
John Williamson from South Africa is feeling is pre-race holiday in France as he came huffing and puffing up to CP2 although he does also live at sea level which doesn't help - and he still made it in the Top 20.
At 12:48 the first runners are at CP3. That's one hour after leaving the previous CP.
Keep looking out on the website for new photos and videos.
Mon, 19 June 2017 at 10:00
Stage 2 of the Gobi March started at 09:00 today with 104 competitors heading off into the Tian Shan Mountains. Today competitors will reach the highest point of the course at 2,900 meters / 9,500 feet at a mountain pass. They will pass through four checkpoints today - the fourth checkpoint is at camp.
There has been some rain this morning but it looks to be clearing up. However they will again be sleeping in yurts so will have a chance to dry out if necessary.
Jeff Ross from the UK and Ben Dame from Germany were the first to arrive at CP1 today - they arrived together just after 10:00 and headed off up the forest mountain path (see photo below of Jeff).
While we wait for competitors to complete the course today and send you updates, you can get caught up with all the news from Stage 1 yesterday:
Sat, 15 October 2016 at 00:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 starts on 18 June.
Breaking news for Stage 2 will be posted on Mon, 19 June 2017.
Tue, 20 June 2017 at 23:00
"Hobbitshire" - Wendy Yee from Singapore
"The views were amazing, probably the best yet" Richard Sanderson from UK
"Stunning scenery again" Olivia Chiu from Australia
The consensious from today is that it was a tough but beautiful day. Nomadic farmers and their yurts, goats, horses, cows and camels were the theme of today. In fact, the animals caused quite a traffic jam at some stages. The sun was shining today but temperatures were still cool at around 15-20C / 59-68F but already there were a few people who started to feel the heat.
After three Stages and approximately 120km / 75 miles there are five(!) Brits in the Top 10 with the other five coming from five different countries: Germany, Australia, Romania, South Africa and Spain.
The website has been updated with:
OVERALL RESULTS (including Stage 3): https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
STAGE UPDATE: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/stage_updates
BLOGS (7 in total): https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/blogs
Overall Top 4 after Stage 3 are:
For the Women
For the Teams – no change
P.S. If there is a topic or peson that you would like to hear more about in the breaking news or have other comments please email to [email protected]
Tue, 20 June 2017 at 20:15
Stage 3 is over. All competitors completed the Stage with the final people crossing the finish line at 18:46 this evening - nearly 10 hours after they started th Stage.
The last people to complete the stage were Mark Gilbert and Steve Garrity with Man Bui Lam and Billie Kwok just a few minutes in front of the. Rob Cookson was 90th, completing the stage together with Wendy Yee. Team Five Legs Never Quit made up 20 places since the first checkpoint of the day - they finished 85th today.
Full results as well as photos of today, blogs written from Camp 4 and a Stage Update will be updated on the website tonight.
Tue, 20 June 2017 at 18:00
At 18:00 local time - 8 hours into the 39.5km / 25.5 miles stage in Hami there are 70 people who have completed Stage 3. CP3 has closed so everyone is in the final 10km / 6 mile stretch.
The most recent to complete the stage was three-time Gobi March-er, Cynthia Fish from Canada and Minori Hosono from Japan and Yi Fan Chiang from Tawain. Just in front of them was David Nicholson & Dolores Paez who completed the stage together again - they are the ones celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary here in the Gobi Desert. Philip Leung finished in 59th position and is still carrying his rubix cube - Philip can complete a rubix cube blindfolded in less than one minute!
Michelle Furlotte finished earlier today retaining her position as the 3rd lady. She enjoyed the weather today - the sun came out but it was still not too hot. She also loved the downhill section after checkpoint 2 despite having a couple of minor falls and bashing her toe.
Donald Sandeman from Scotland also had a "lovely day". He said "it was very runnable with beautiful scenery: green valleys, local settlements, yurts, sheet, horses ....". He is already thinking about doing his next race 4 Deserts race in Namibia in April next year!
Tue, 20 June 2017 at 15:00
The leaders have completed Stage 3 of the Gobi March. Ben Dame from Germany crossed the finishline of the 39.5km / 24.5miles stage at 13:15, after 4 hours and 15 mins. Second places was 5 minutes behind and 3rd place 5 minutes behind 2nd.
By 14:30 (5 hours 30 mins) 16 people had completed the stage. That is seven of the Top 16 to complete Stage 3 are from the UK (including Scotland) and particularly strong performances by Daniel Nica and John Williamson pushing them up the ranks.
1st Ben DAME - Germany
2nd Rodric WILLIAMS - Australia
3rd Jeff ROSS - Scotland
4th Dirk DIEMONT - South Africa
5th Ben FOX - UK
6th Miguel ALCOBAR - Spain
7th Richard SANDERSON - UK
8th Jim STEELE - UK
9th Clare THOMPSON - UK - FIRST LADY
10th Alex SCHNEIDER - UK - SECON LADY
11th Andrei GLIGOR - Romania
12th David NICA - Romania
13th Nicola CIANI - Italy
14th John WILLIAMSON - South Africa
15th Runi SIMONSEN - Faroe Islands
16th Samuel EGERTON - UK
CP1 closed sometime ago and CP2 has just recently closed so all competitors have completed more than half of todays course and CP3 has about 40 competitors through already.
CP2 has had local traffic issues - many sheep and horses have been blocking the course.
Below is Nicola Ciana from Italy celebrating with the Italian flag after finishing today in 13th position.
Tue, 20 June 2017 at 13:00
Checkpoint 1 of Stage 3 closed before 11am - less than two hours after the start of the race. That is one out of four checkpoints done for everyone. No change in the leading pack with Jeff Ross & Ben Dame coming in together, followed by Dirk Diemont, Rodric Williams and Ben Fox. For the women it is still Clare Thompson, Alexandra Schneider and Michelle Furlotte as the top three for the first part of Stage 3. Jim Steele was 7th into CP1 - there are less hills today which he prefers.
Ricky Cao is the first Chinese competitor in 22nd position overall after Stage 2 and the 15th person through CP1. HE came in with Matthew Pryke, Jareb Steines and Alexandra Scheneider. All were very positive.
Scott Smith from Australia was in 26th position at CP1 (29th overall after Stage 2). Scott will join the 4 Deserts Club when he completes this race - he was also considering to run the race barefoot, but the Gobi terrain (and a bee sting before Stage 1) had him put his shoes back on. He loved the course so far today and arrived at the checkpoint with a big smile.
The Singaporean contingent are doing well and staying strong. At CP1 today Benji Castro was 16th (he was 24th after yesterday's stage), Clarence Chan was 22nd and Jeremy Tan was 33rd - all in front of their overall ranking at this stage. Wendy Yee came through in 93rd position and was looking strong but said she didn't get much sleep last night.
Ryoji Kido from Japan was super positive (as always) at CP1 - he was still talking about how much he loved the views the top yesterday and enjoying the rocky valleys of today's course.
Trang Tan from Vietnam is bringing up the rear of the field but still doing well. She is just in front of Team Five Legs Never Quit.
More than 50 people have reached CP2 before midday and the leaders are expected to complete Stage 3 anytime now.
Enjoy a some videos from yesterday (Stage 2) as well as other updates on the race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdA7ZllIai4
ALL RACE UPDATES: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/live
SEND MESSAGES TO COMPETITORS through the results page: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
Tue, 20 June 2017 at 09:30
Stage 3 of the Gobi March got underway at 09:00 local Hami time this morning. Competitors are set for a 40km / 25 mile Stage with four checkpoints in total (the 4th checkpoint is at the end).
So far we just have the two withdrawals who completed Stage 1 but did not start Stage 2. All those who completed Stage 2 have started Stage 3 today.
The race started with the beat of the drum and here you can see John Williamson, Michelle Furlotte and Steve Garrity among the crowd getting started wtih Stage 3.
Take this time to review the results after two Stages, look at the photos, read the blogs and stage update and watch the videos.
NOTE - more videos from yesterday will be added in the next few hours.
Sat, 15 October 2016 at 00:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 starts on 18 June.
Breaking news for Stage 3 will be posted on Tues, 20 June 2017.
Wed, 21 June 2017 at 21:30
Stage 4 of the Gobi March 2017 concluded at 19:00 tonight when Changuo Chen from China arrived at Camp. 102 competitors completed Stage 4. There were two withdrawals today - Mark Gilbert and Jung Song Gang who were both at Camp to welcome the rest of the competitors back.
The overall Top 5 men, women and teams are below - the full results are on the website:
TOP 5 MEN
TOP 5 WOMEN
The website has been updated with
PHOTOS from Stage 4 (today): https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos
RESULTS up to and including Stage 4: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
Blogs, Stage Update and Videos will be added soon.
After four tough stages with a lot of elevation gain competitors will have a chance to get a full rest and prepare for the Long March which will start in the early hours of Friday. Tonight is their last night sleeping in yurts. The Long March will take place in the Black Gobi desert where temperatures are expected to reach over 40C / 104F.
Wed, 21 June 2017 at 17:15
At 16:30 there were 44 competitors who had arrived at camp having completed Stage 4 and checkpoint 3 had closed. The last competitor was with the sweepers, quite far behind the rest of the field. Song Gang Jung from Korea was withdrawn from the race as he missed the cut-off time.
Meanwhile Jeremy Tan from Singapore, Hitoshi Umeoka from Japan, Philip Leung from Hong Kong and Michael Martin from the United States have recently completed Stage 4 in positions 41 to 44. This is in line with their overall positions after Stage 3, except Philip Leung whose overall ranking after Stage 1, 2 & 3 is 55 so he is significantly faster today.
The Australians Smith Team Racing remain as the second team after another strong performance finishing in 35th position today. Team Run for Fun from France retain their lead with another Top 25 finish.
We are still waiting for the cheerful Israeli's, Itzhak Brandwain and Eilon Armon to arrive - they left CP3 in 70th position saying that they don't miss home too much as it is so beautiful out here.
There are some incredible people doing the Gobi March and many people doing the raise to raise funds and awarenes for charities of their choice. You can read the story about competitor, BK McDonough who is doing the race to raise US$20,000 for scholarships for treatment of substance abuse and helping to address the stigma surrounding abuse.
Wed, 21 June 2017 at 14:30
The Top 3 completed Stage 4 - the winning time was 5 hours 40 mins. There is no change in the placings with Ben Dame in 1st, 15 minutes ahead of Rodric Williams and Jeff Ross who came in together in 2nd place. Rodric said "today was a nice stage - a long one but a nice one". I wonder if he remembers that tomorrow is the really long stage?!???
At the same time as the leaders were finishing, checkpoint 2 at the halfway point was closing. So it took five and half hours for the last competitors to get to halfway point. Steve Garrity and Mark Gilbert from USA / Canada were the last to arrive. Mark has withdrawn at this checkpoint and will head to camp to cheer on the rest of the competitors as they arrive. Steve is continuing on hoping to catch the group in front of him of Chen Changuo from China, Boin Lee and Song Gang Jung from Korea, David Nicholson & Dolores Paez and Team Five Legs Never Quit.
Team Esquel, who are usually somewhere close the sweepers at the back of the field, arrived at checkpoint 2 in 60th position!!! Eilon Armon & Itzhak Brandwain from Israel arrived soon after in 67th position.
Trang Tran is the only person in the race from Vietnam. She is loving the course so far today and came into CP2 full of smiles.
The Japanese contingent are going strong. The first Japanese competitor is Hitoshi Umeoka who is 43rd position after Stage 3 - he came to CP2 in 36th position. Hosoni Minori is the 2nd Japanese person - you can see a photo of her taking a short break at CP2 looking good but has gone back a few places compared to her current overall standing.
It has become more overcasat on the course meaning a bit more protection from the sun which will help people keep on pushing through.
More photos have been uploaded to the website from Stage 4:
Wed, 21 June 2017 at 12:10
Stage 4 is well underway. CP1 closed at 10:30 - two and half hours after the stage started. Everyone made it through.
There were 39 people through CP2 by 11:45 - 3 hours and 45 minutes into the Stage. CP2 is the halfway mark at 22km / 14 miles. The most recent people to pass through the checkpoint were Scott Smith from Australia and Julie Pritchard from the UK. News just in (just in time to send in this update) Samantha Lappin from Canada and BK McDonough from the USA reached CP2 togehter at 12:06 in 48th position.
Ben Dame, Jeffrey Ross and Rodric Williams were the first three at CP2- just one minute between them all.
A few photos from checkpoint 1 can be seen on the website of the following people.
Videos from Stage 3 were added over the last few hours - check them out to find out your friends! https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/videos
A particularly good blog for information and amusement is Mikael Tag from Finland: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/blogs
Wed, 21 June 2017 at 09:50
Stage 4 was an earlier start than usual - at 08:00 (1.5 hours ago). Competitors have 44.8km / 27.8 miles ahead of them today. They start in dense forest and then into rolling hills of green pastures before entering back into the Tian Shan foothills through valleys surrounded by mountains. It's a beautiful sunny day - a good acclimatisation for the Long March in the Black Desert tomorrow when temperatures will exceed 40C / 104F.
The nearly 50 people have people arrived at CP1 already - 1 hour 50 minutes after the start.
Dirk Diemont and Rodric Williams are running in 3rd & 4th place. One of the Chinese police who is with the race decided to run along with them. I wonder how long he will keep up??
More updates on competitors progress as it happens.
Below is a photo of Adrian Stuart from the UK approaching checkpoint 1.
Sat, 15 October 2016 at 00:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 starts on 18 June.
Breaking news for Stage 4 will be posted on Weds, 21 June 2017.
Sat, 24 June 2017 at 09:30
It has been an epic Long March in the Black Gobi Desert that started 29 hours ago and has just concluded as the final competitor Boin Lee from Korea arrived at Camp. Strong winds at Camp meant that competitors were sleeping out in the open - a new experience for some. After 82km / 50 miles of the last 29 hours the opportunity to rest is a luxury.
The last desert breakfast is being enjoyed at the final camp before Stage 6 - which will be a short victory lap of less than 5km / 3 miles. Then it's back to the hotel and time for showers(!), real food and the reality of being connected.
Family and friends have travelled long distances to cheer competitors over the final finishline of the race making it an even more special family affair - BK McDonough can be seen here with her husband and daughters.
Xinjiang Autonomous Region in far west China is definitely one of the final frontiers and the Gobi March takes people to the heart of it.
The amazing volunteer, course and medical are continuing to help competitors as they prepare for the final stage.
Sat, 24 June 2017 at 06:00
People are continuing to complete Stage 5 - we are awaiting less than 20 competitors.
Tran Trang from Vietnam arrived just before 03:00. Israeli Itzhak Brandwain arrived with Mark Liu a little after this. His fellow Israeli Eilon Armon was a couple of hours behind him.
Cynthia Fish and her neice Samantha Lappin arrived with BK McDonough and Micke Tag just before 05:00.
Japanese competitors Minori Hosono, Kazumi Tsukagoshi and Hitoshi Umoeka have also made it to camp, completing Stage 5.
David Nicholson, Dolores Paez and Arthur Azevedo made it together just after 05:00.
Mandi Fang and Shuo Zhang from China arrived right on 05:30.
As of 06:00 a further five people had arrived and more since then. The final stretch to camp is simple and straight forward terrain and the temperatures are still cool however there is a strong wind which is also affecting the camp.
Sat, 24 June 2017 at 03:00
All compeititors who are still in the race have just arrived at checkpoint 6 with the sweepers
50 people have completed Stage 5 of the Gobi March. The most recent to arrive were Ryoji Kido from Japan, Helen Tan from Malaysia, Ryo Chimori from Japan, Scott Smith from Australia, Smith Team Racing (Alison, Kayte and Rhys), Olivia Chiu from Australia and Julie Pritchard from the UK.
There have been a total of nine withdrawals today. They are Chenguo Chen, Dirk Diemont, Hongseog Kim, Chik Ha Kwok, Man Bui Lam, Li Li, Ok Nam Maeung, Massimo Mazza (did not start the stage today) and Hiroyuki Tsukagoshi. Everyone is doing ok but stopped because of heat, feet or being very tired. Everyone is doing well, just disappointed - you will be able to message / talk to them directly when they are back in Hami tomorrow after the race.
There are seven hours left before Stage 5 will come to a close.
Fri, 23 June 2017 at 23:00
At 23:00 there are 23 people who have completed Stage 5. The last three people to arrive at Camp 6 having completed the 82 km / 51 miles were Matthew Pryke from the UK, Runi Simonsen from the Faroe Islands and Ricky Cao from China. Below is the 4th to 15th to arrive at Camp are below.
Checkpoint 7 has had 35 people through.
Everyone has made it to checkpoint 5 - there are still 20 resting there and having a meal before heading out to complete the last 30km / 19 miles. The last three people to arrive at checkpoint 5 were Hong Seok Kim, Boin Lee and Ok Nam Maeng - all from Korea.
Fri, 23 June 2017 at 20:15
We have our first four Stage 5 winners!
1st - Rodric Williams from Australia
2nd - Nicola Ciani from Italy
3rd - Miguel Alcober from Spain
4th - Ben Dame from Germany
Checkpoint 7, the penultimate checkpoint of the stage, has had 18 people through so far. Michelle Furlotte was the most recent person to pass through.
Checkpoint 5, has had 66 people through. This is the rest checkpoint where there is hot water available to prepare meals.
It is much cooler now and there is a reward of iced water for everyone who gets to the finishline.
Above: Rodric Williams is cool an collected as his wins Stage 5
Above: Ben Dame finishes Stage 5 in 4th place - we believe
Fri, 23 June 2017 at 17:30
It is currently 17:30 local time. The first people started back on the course at 15:15 after their 3 hour mandatory stop in the shade - everyone was looking good and in high spirits after a break.
The lead group who were among the first to get going again (they were among the first to stop). The front group are approaching checkpoint 7 after which they have just one more leg to get to the end of the stage.
The back of the field will leave checkpoint 3 at around 18:00 to complete the next 50km / 30 miles of the course but they have until early morning tomorrow to do it (more than 12 hours).
It has already started to cool down now, but will not be cold until they are back in their air conditioned hotel tomorrow.
PHOTOS from today (so far) have been added to the website: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos
Fri, 23 June 2017 at 14:30
At 14:30 local time with temperatures reaching 42C, the pre-planned mandatory stop has been implemented. Competitors are resting in the shade at checkpoints 3, 4 and 5. There are 8 checkpoints in total today - checkpoint 8 is at Camp.
The front group are among those resting at checkpoint 5 - there are 29 competitors there in total waiting for the heat of the day to pass before being allowed to continue after a mandatory 3 hour stop for everyone. The leaders will get underway within the next hour to complete the final 30km / 18 miles. Everyone is happy for the mandatory stop in this heat, but they are quiet at checkpoint 5 making the most of the time to eat, drink and rest. It seems the part is at checkpoint 3 at the back of the pack.
Checkpoint 2 closed a few hours ago and everyone has reached or passed checkpoint 3. There has been one withdrawal today - Chenguo CHEN from China.
The Top 29 at checkpoing 5 are as below:
Tim and Adam arrived with their umbrellas to provide extra shade. It might look a bit strange but they will be the ones laughing in the end.
This what a mandatory stop looks like:
Fri, 23 June 2017 at 10:30
We are now five hours into Stage 5, the Long March, and so far so good.
Checkpoint 1 has closed and seven people have passed Checkpoint 3 with a few changes going on.
Miguel ALCOBER from Spain, Ben DAME from Germany, Jeff ROSS from Scotland and Rodric WILLIAMS from Australia all arrived together at the checkpoint. They were followed by Nicola CIANA from Italy, Samuel EGERTON from the UK and Dirk DIEMONT who were just a few minutes apart and within 10 minutes of the lead group.
Sam Egerton was in 20th place going into the Stage. He said "I'm not great at altitude but living in Singapore I'm used to this stuff". By this stuff he means the flat and hot - not the sandy desert or dry heat or stunning vistas and enormous rock formations (more on these later)!
Below is a photo from Checkpoint 4 who are awaiting their first competitor. They are definitely in the desert now.
Fri, 23 June 2017 at 05:45
Stage 5, the Long March through the Black Gobi, is now underway. Competitors have 82km / 50miles ahead of them in the hot desert.
It was a super early start for everyone but that will help them avoid some of the heat of day. At midnight it was still 30C / 86F.
Today is the big day, the one to make the difference, but also the one where it is as much about looking after yourself as keeping your ranking. There is minimal elevation gain or loss today and they are at sea level (but nowhere near the sea) having spent the race so far above 2,000 meters / 6,561 feet. It is sandy terrain but much of it is hard packed / sun baked sand. The test today is the distance and the heat.
The leaders going into the Long March are Ben Dame, Clare Thompson and Team Run for Fun - these positions have remained unchanged since the start of the race with each one impressively having won every stage for the men, women and teams respectively. However things can change in 82km.
Ben Dame has a cumulative time of 17 hours 37 minutes going into Stage 5 and is 50 minutes ahead of joint 2nd place competitors Rodric Williams and Jeff Ross, and 75 minutes on 4th place. That means just 30 minutes between joint 2nd and Dirk Diemont in 4th place. For your interest the winning time at the Gobi March 2016 was 28 hours 46 minutes.
Clare Thompson's overall time so far is 19 hours 59 minutes and she has a one hour lead over 2nd place woman and tentmate Alex Schneider. There is then over 3 hours between them and 3rd place female Michelle Furlotte. However Clare is just 7 minutes behind overall 6th place competitor Miguel Alcober from Spain and Alex is just 15 minutes outside an overall Top 10. Jim Steele has his eyes the people just in front of him.
For the Teams Run for Fun from France have 3 hour lead over the siblings from Australia, Smith Team Racing. There is then a 10 hour gap to 3rd place team, Five Legs Never Quit. Team Esquel has been moving up through ranks but they still have nearly 3 hours to catch up for a podium place.
Outside the Top 10 it is going to be an interesting race to watch. While the main goal is to finish, there are a few to watch:
So with that "little" summary of what's going on I will leave you to do your own study of the results and watch as competitors make progress along the course in the Black Gobi Desert.
Thu, 22 June 2017 at 18:00
The extra rest is nearly over - it's nearly time for the Long March - 80kms in the Black Gobi where temperatures will reach over 40C / 100F. Much of the first section of the course will be done in the dark before the sun comes up. A mandatory stop is also planned for the heat of the day.
However today has been a day of sleeping and eating - eating partly to get calories in to build up strength and partly to lighten the back pack. Some Hami Melon and local naan bread were provided as a treat. The 4 Deserts Races, more than anything else, puts life into perspective - after five days of freeze dried meals and processed snacks bread and melon is like being served caviar and champagne. Other activites included drying clothes, re-charging solar panels, sunbathing and yoga(!).
Some new blogs have been posted by Richard Sanderson, Micke Tag and Michelle Furlotte, as well as photos from Camp today They will give you more of an idea of the atmosphere around camp.
QUOTE FROM MICKE'S BLOG: " But particularly Gobi has been so beautiful (so far). This is place I would never had visited without 4deserts. I have stopped during the course every now and then to just lok around and absorb what I have seen. In all directions you I looked, I saw something different.
QUOTE FROM RICHARD'S BLOG: The atmosphere in camp is fantastic today, with everyone able to relax for a bit. My tent has agreed on an afternoon nap plan, knowing we won’t sleep tonight. It all sounds rather civilised! My plan at this point is to go out quickly, aiming to cover plenty of ground before the heat really kicks in, then I’ll knock it back.
READ THE FULL BLOGS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/blogs
SEE THE PHOTOS FROM CAMP: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos
REMIND YOURSELF OF THE RESULTS SO FAR: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
Sat, 15 October 2016 at 00:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 starts on 18 June.
Breaking news for Stage 5 will be posted on Thurs, 22 June and Fri, 23 June 2017.
Sun, 25 June 2017 at 11:00
The Gobi March has concluded and the Awards Banquet took place back in the Hami Hotel with celebrations going into the night (Stage 7 for some!). This is the final breaking news of the Gobi March 2017.
It’s been a week of challenges, achievements, celebrations, tears, intense heat, freezing nights, steep climbs and sandy desert in heart of the Xinjiang Autonomous region of China. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL COMPETITORS WHO STARTED THE RACE and THANK YOU TO ALL THE STAFF & VOLUNTEERS who made it possible.
The Top 3 podium places for the men, women and teams were celebrated and awards presented. Awards were also given for the age group winners as well as the special awards for Sportsmanship, Spirit and unique to the Gobi March – the Cable-French award in honour of the female Missionaries Francesca Cable and Mildred French who spent decades travelling in the harsh conditions of the Gobi Desert to help those in need.
The race was won by Rodric Williams from Australia by less than one minute ahead of 2nd place Ben Dame from Germany.
1st Rodric Williams from Australia
1st Clare Thompson from the UK
2nd Ben Dame from Germany
2nd Alexandra Schneider from the UK
3rd Jeffrey Ross from Scotland
3rd Michelle Furlotte from Australia
1st – Team Run for Fun – France
Jean Magnol, Alexandre Lucase and Xavier Abadie
2nd – Smith Team Racing – Australia
Alison, Kayte and Rhys Smith
3rd – Five Legs Never Quit – Hong Kong
Kam-Hung Fung, Bing Ying Chong and Yuen Leung Tsui
29 and under
YoungRoc Kim – Korea
Alison Smith – Australia
James Steele – UK
Angela Zeah – Germany
Miguel Alcober – Spain
BK McDonough – USA
Clarence Chan – Singapore
Zhihong Lin – China
Donald Sandeman – Scotland
SPIRT – Ryoji Kida from Japan
SPORTSMANSHIP – Matthew Pryke from the UK
CABLE-FRENCH – Philip Leung from Hong Kong
To review the full coverage of the week have a look at:
Full RESULTS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
More PHOTOS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos
Some VIDEOS (more still to be added): https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/videos
STAGE UPDATES: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/stage_updates
Sat, 24 June 2017 at 11:30
The Gobi March 2017 has concluded. Stage 6 was a very short victory lap after a tough week of racing in extreme temperatures and huge extremes of terrain and elevation. Final placings were decided by the Long March - they will be available on the website soon.
Donald Sandeman from Scotland said a big thank you to the organisation and said that the heat was his biggest challenge this race.
Itzhak Brandwain from Israel said a heart felt thank you for the medal was memorable.
Scott Smith from Australia enjoyed his time in the wild Gobi Desert and coming back to complete his 4th of the 4 Deserts Races.
Adam Pakidho from Australia was humbled by the black desert and was grateful for the mandatory stop in heat of the day which was a saviour.
Tired but happy competitors are on their way back to the Hami Hotel for that long awaited, shower, food and rest before the celebrations continue at the Awards Banquet tonight.
Full RESULTS, more PHOTOS andl VIDEOS and more will be available on the website today.
Sat, 15 October 2016 at 10:00
The Gobi March (China) 2017 starts on 18 June.
Breaking news for Stage 6 will be posted on Sat, 24 June 2017.