Jose Manuel ‘Chema’ Martinez Fernandez and Isis Beriter emerged as champions for the Gobi March 2014, arriving at the finish line by the spectacular shores of Xinjiang’s Sayram Lake.
This is the first of 2 wins for the double Olympian and legendary long-distance athlete in the 4 Deserts Race Series, with the second win picked up recently at the Acatama Crossing 2014. He took on the Sahara Race (Jordan) earlier this year and earned second place, but effortlessly took the gold medal here in China sustaining his strong lead throughout the 6 day race in 25 hours 56 minutes 34 seconds.
Isis Breiter of Mexico emerged as the champion of the women’s division, completing the course with a time of 37 hours 2 minutes 6 seconds and coming in 18th overall position. Having finished as the 6th woman in the Sahara Race (Jordan) earlier this year, she was also revelling in her first win.
“I feel good,”
said the 31-year-old as she arrived at the finish line.
“The best part was coming up the hill to Checkpoint 7 [on Stage 5] and seeing the beautiful Lake Sayram in the distance. It made the difficulty of climbing the hill worth it. I trained hard for this, a lot of mountain training at over 3,000m.”
Part of the Famous 4 Deserts Race Series That Spans the Globe
The Gobi March is 1 of the 4 races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts Race Series of 250km, rough-country footraces. The 11th edition of this race took place in July, and returned for the second year to Bortala Mongol and Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefectures in north-western Xinjiang Province in July this year.
Starting near Bole, the capital city of Bortala, at the foot of the Altai Mountains, the weather was fair for much of the race apart from the third day, where the race was shortened and diverted due to hail and snow on the higher sections of the course (the lost kilometres were then added the following day).
One of the most culturally diverse regions of China’s far northwest, competitors were able to stay in traditional yurts and witness up close the lives of the ethnic Mongol, Kazakh and Uyghur minorities.
The course has a number of highlights, including the Mysterious Rock Valley (where the largest group of strange rock formations are located in western China), Mongolian settlements, local culture, cable bridges, views of Tian Shan snow peaks, the famous Sayram Lake and a memorial to the founding father of Mongolia, Genghis Khan. The race will include cultural highlights and special celebrations.
Take on the 4 Deserts Grand Slam – Run 1,000km in 1 Calendar Year!
Yoshiro Sato, a 34-year-old engineer from Japan, has joined the 4 Deserts Club, having now completed all 4 Deserts races. He says his next challenge is to start all over again and attempt it a second time. Others have just signed on for the challenge, such as Huynh Linh of Canada, who was inspired to take on all of the 4 Deserts races after completing the Sahara Race earlier in the year.
Many competitors are taking on the 4 Deserts Grand Slam — and are now 3 quarters through their odyssey of 1,000km in 1 calendar year. A total of 109 competitors from 41 countries engaged in this year’s Gobi March, and 31 competitors have qualified for the final invite-only The Last Desert (Antarctica), which takes place this November.
Gobi March 2015 is the Perfect Race the Challenge Your Limits
With Gobi March returning next year, competing against the backdrop of these snow-capped mountains and alpine forests, and finishing at Lake Sayram will test the limits of your physical and mental exertions. Competitors must also plan carefully to maintain the delicate balance between physical exertion, nutrition and hydration in order to successfully complete the race.
If you have what it takes, sign up for the Gobi March 2015 now!
The Gobi March 2015 takes place on 31 May 2015. Individual race entries are priced at US$3,600 (S$4,644) per person, and includes international staff and medical support throughout the event, finisher’s medal, official event t-shirt or jacket, and more.