RACE COVERAGE

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Pre-Race Update

The next edition of the Gobi March (China) starts on Sun, 18 June 2017.

The Pre-Race Stage Update will be posted on Sat, 17 June 2017.

Stage 1 Update

Gobi March (China) 2017 – Stage 1

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. 

Ben Dame from Germany 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. 

Team Run for Fun from France came in 1st place (and 14th overall) - a little over one hour of Smith Team Racing from Australia.  Team Five Legs Never Quit finished as the 3rd team and Team Esquel completed the course just before the cut-off time for the Stage.

It was a 27 km / 16 miles stage all of it taking place above 2,000 meters / 6,500 feet but with relatively little climbing other than a HUGE sand dune.   Andrei Gligor from Romania said " that was a HUGE dune - it took me 20 minutes to climb it".   Already the tales of camaraderie are strong with people enjoying the day with pleasant 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.

TOP 5 OVERALL:

  • 1st - DAME, Ben - Germany - 3 hours 11 mins
  • 2nd - DIEMONT, Dirk - South Africa - 3 hours 23 mins
  • 3rd - ROSS, Jeffrey - UK / Thailand - 3 hours 26 mins
  • 4th - WILLIAMS Rodric - Australia - 3 hours 28 mins
  • 5th GLIGOR, Andrei - Romania - 3 hours 29 mins

TOP 3 WOMEN:

  • 1st - THOMPSON, Clare - UK - 3 hours 34 mins
  • 2nd - SCHNEIDER, Alexandra - UK - 4 hours 2 mins
  • 3rd place - HINTSA, Annastiina - Finland - 4 hours 44 mins

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  • PHOTOS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos
  • RESULTS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results
  • BLOGS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/blogs

 

Stage 2 Update

GOBI MARCH – Stage 2

After tough day of hills up to the highest point on the course, the result is that the top three men finished together and the top 2 females are from Great Britain.

Stage 2 of the Gobi March started at 09:00 with competitors heading off into the Tian Shan Mountains to the highest point of the course at 2,900 meters / 9,500 feet over a mountain pass.   It was a tough day of hills with steep up hill and then downhill but everybody completed the Stage.

While there was only a little bit of re-shuffling in the Top 10, the attitude and climbing resulted in some big movements in the placings overall.  The top three completed the stage together. 

In particular Kazumi Tsukagoshi from Japan and Gang Jun Hyun from Korea, Matthew Pryke, John Williamson, YoungRoc Kim and Clarence Chan moved up more 10 places.

The over standings for the Top 4 with their cumulative times over the first two stages:

1st – Ben DAME – Germany – 8 hours 15 mins

2nd Jeffrey ROSS – Scotland – 8 hours 31 mins

3rd Rodric WILLIAMS – Australia – 8 hours 32 mins

4th Ben FOX – UK – 9 hours 1 min

 WOMEN – an all Great Britain podium after Stage 2

1st Clare THOMPSON – UK – 9 hours 2 mins (7th overall)

2nd Alexandra SCHNEIDER – UK – 9 hours 50 mins

3rd Michell FURLOTTE - Australia - 11 hours 39 mins

 

Some comments for today from the competitors include:

 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. 

The French 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 checkpoint 2 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 highest point saying 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 came huffing and puffing up to checkpoint saying he is not used to this because he lives at sea-level.  He still made it in the Top 20.

Stage 3 Update

GOBI MARCH – STAGE 3

Five Great Britain’s are in the Top 10 after the 40km / 25-mile Stage 3 through the most beautiful scenery passing nomadic farmers and their yurts, goats, horses, cows and camels. In fact, the animals caused quite a traffic jam at some stages.  “It was like being a scene from the Hobbit” said Wendy Yee from Singapore.

Stage 3 of the Gobi March got underway at 09:00 local Hami time today, Tues 20 June 2017.  It was another day of about 1,000 meters / 3,280 feet but at a much gentler gradient.

The leaders completed the Stage in just over 4 hours.  Ben Dame from Germany crossed the finish line just over 4 hours later.  Second places Rodric Williams from Australia was 5 minutes behind and 3rd place, Jeff Ross 5 minutes behind him.

There were some very strong performances today in particular John Williamson from South Africa and Daniel Nica from Romania who will both move up a few places in the overall rankings.   It is also notable that there are five people from Great Britain in the Top 10 including the top two ladies.

The Stage concluded at 18:46 when the last people crossed the finish line - nearly 10 hours after they started the Stage.  Everyone who started today completed the entire stage.  - so far, we just have the two withdrawals who completed Stage 1 but did not start Stage 2. 

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 them.  Rob Cookson was 90th, completing the stage together with Wendy YeeTeam Five Legs Never Quit made up 20 places since the first checkpoint of the day - they finished 85th today.

Michelle Furlotte finished retained 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!

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.  Benji Castro finished 19th (he was 24th after yesterday's stage), Clarence Chan was 20th and Jeremy Tan was 43rd - all in front of their overall ranking at this stage. 

Ryoji Kido from Japan was super positive (as always) - he was still talking about how much he loved the views the top yesterday and enjoying the rocky valleys of today's course.

Overall Top 4 after Stage 3 are:

  1. Ben DAME – Germany – 12:46:10
  2. Rodric WILLIAMS – Australia – 13:08:52
  3. Jeffrey ROSS – Scotland – 13:11:17
  4. Dirk DIEMONT – South Africa – 13:37:14

For the Women

  1. Clare THOMPSON – UK – 14:17:25
  2. Alexandra SCHNEIDER – UK – 15:06:39
  3. Michelle FURLOTTE – Australia – 17:40:42
  4. Annastiina HINTSA – Finland - 17:59:18

For the Teams – no change

  1. Team Run for Fun – France
  2. Smith Team Racing – Australia
  3. Five Legs Never Quit – Hong Kong

Stage 4 Update

Gobi March – Stage 4

Ben Dame from Germany and Clare Thompson from the United Kingdom lead the Gobi March after four Stages and over 150km of the Gobi March (China) 2017 – both have won every single stage so far.

Stage 4 was 44.8km / 27.8 miles starting in dense forest and then into rolling hills of green pastures before entering back into the Tian Shan foothills through valleys and surrounded by mountains. 

The winning time for Stage was 5 hours 40 mins by Ben Dame 15 minutes ahead of Rodric Williams and Jeff Ross who came in together in 2nd place.

At the back of the field Changuo Chen from China was the last to complete Stage 4 in 11hours.  There have been four competitors who have withdrawn from the race since the start four days ago. 

The overall Top 5 men, women and teams are below - the full results are on the website:

TOP 5 MEN

  • 1st Ben DAME - Germany - 17:37:51
  • 2nd Rodric WILLLIAMS - Australia - 18:18:07
  • 3rd Jeff ROSS - Scotland - 18:188:25
  • 4th Dirk DIEMONT - South Africa - 18:58: 31
  • 5th Ben FOX - UK - 19:31:21

TOP 5 WOMEN

  • 1st Clare THOMPSON - UK - 19:59:58
  • 2nd Alexandra SCHNEIDER - UK - 20:59:28
  • 3rd Michelle FURLOTTE - Australia - 24:04:43
  • 4th Annastiina HINTSA - Finland - 25:01:22
  • 5th Angela ZEAH - Germany - 25:40:43

TOP TEAMS

  • 1st Run for Fun - Jean, Alexandre & Xavier from France - 22:43:43 (16th overall)
  • 2nd Smith Team Racing - Kayte, Rhys & Alison from Australia - 25:56: 33 (38th overall)
  • 3rd Five Legs Never Quite - Kam-Hung, Bing Chong & Yuen Leung from Hong Kong- 36:52:08 (91st overall)

 There are some incredible people doing the Gobi March and many people doing the raise to raise funds and awareness for charities of their choice.  You can read the story about competitor, BK Donough 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. 

PHOTOS from Stage 4 (today): https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos

RESULTS up to and including Stage 4: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results

A particularly good blog for information and amusement is Mikael Tag from Finland: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/blogs

The next stage is the Long March which is a much long stage over more than 24 hours.  It will take place in the Black Gobi Desert where temperatures are expected to reach over 40C / 104F.

Stage 5 Update

Gobi March – Stage 5 – The Long March Through the Black Gobi - 82km / 50 miles

We have our winners of Stage 5 – the Long March - of the Gobi March!  After more than 150km / 93 miles over the last four days competitor had a day to rest before a very early start this morning for the Long March – a further 82 km / 50 miles, which will take to the edge of victory (just a short final stage to go tomorrow).

It has been a day of drama and excitement in the Black Gobi Desert with a 05:30am start, a mandatory stop, extreme heat reaching the high 40 degrees Celsius.

The last person completed the Stage in 29 hours at 09:30 this morning. 

The Top 15 results for Stage 5 are below with some stand out performances from Miguel Alcober from Spain and Sam Egerton from the UK.  

1st - Rodric Williams from Australia

2nd - Nicola Ciani from Italy

3rd - Miguel Alcober from Spain

4th - Ben Dame from Germany

5th - Jeff Ross from Scotland

6th - Sam Egerton from the UK

Joint 7th - the Top 2 Women - Alex Schneider and Clare Thompson and Jim Steele

Joint 10th - Ben Fox and Richard Sanderson from the UK

12th - John Williamson from South Africa

13th - YoungRoc Kim from Korea

14th - Adrian Franklin from France

15th - Ben Castro from Singapore

The leaders going into the Long March were Ben Dame, Clare Thompson and Team Run for Fun – the overall results of the race will be determined tomorrow:

To see PHOTOS from the race so far: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos

Stage 6 Update

Gobi March – Stage 6

The Gobi March 2017 concluded on Saturday, 24 June in the Black Gobi Desert in far west China deep in the heart of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. 

Stage 6 was a very short victory lap after a tough week of racing in extreme temperatures and huge extremes of terrain and elevation.

Emotions were high and there were tears of joy, happiness and relief as people crossed the final finishline to receive their medals.  

Rodric Williams from Australia has won the Gobi March by less one minute(!) ahead of 2nd place Ben Dame.   

Williams had strong finishes in Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 but it was Stage 5 where he crossed the line nearly 20 minutes ahead of 2nd place and 40 minutes ahead of Ben Dame, the leader after Stage 4 that gave him the overall win.  Stage 6 was not going to change the results.   Williams said about Stage 5 “I started the stage slow and was feeling pretty good so just kept going at that pace and managed to come in first so I am pretty happy about it”.  About the week he said “the week has been really good, we’ve done a lot of different runs, with a lot of elevation climbs which has been interesting.  Have met lots of new friends and had a great time overall”

Lai Shan Sui from Team Esquel – the youngest person in the race, couldn’t hold back the tears – she couldn’t quite believe what she had achieved with the support of her team mates. 

Friends and family had travelled long distances to the middle of the Gobi Desert to see their loved ones cross the final finishline.  For many this has been a year long journey of preparation for them and their whole family. 

Overall results after Stage 6 are as below

MEN

WOMEN

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

 

For the teams in the battle of France vs Australia vs. Hong Kong it was France who reigned victorious leading from the start and finishing as overall 24th.   An even more impressive feat is that all four teams that entered the competition stayed together as a team – racing at your own pace is hard enough but racing in a team where you are only as a fast as the slowest person on each day (or each step) is an added challenge

 

1st – Team Run for Fun from France

2nd – Smith Team Racing from Australia

3rd – Five Legs Never Quit from Hong Kong

4th – Team Esquel from Hong Kong

 

Tired but happy competitors left the Gobi Desert to enjoy that long awaited, shower, real food and rest before the celebrations continued at the Awards Banquet late into the night.  

 

Full RESULTS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/results

More PHOTOS: https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/photos

Post-Race Update

Gobi March – Post Race Update

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!). 

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. 

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. 

MEN

WOMEN

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

 

 

MEN

WOMEN

29 and under

YoungRoc Kim – Korea

Alison Smith – Australia

30-39

James Steele – UK

Angela Zeah – Germany

40-49

Miguel Alcober – Spain

BK McDonough – USA

50-59

Clarence Chan – Singapore

Zhihong Lin – China

60-69

Donald Sandeman – Scotland

N/A

 

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

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