Atacama Crossing (Chile)

Edition 17

24 Sep, 2023 (Sun)

Trail running

250 km

OrganiserRacingThePlanet

About the event

The Atacama Crossing (Chile), is a 7-day, 250-kilometer / 155-mile self-supported footrace located in the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world located in north of Chile. Starting at 3,300 meters / 10,500 feet above sea level, the course takes competitors through canyons and valleys (including the rainbow coloured Arcoiris Valley, the Valley of Death and the Valley of the Moon), up old Inca roads, past salt lakes and small Chilean villages, and across sand dunes, salt flats and rivers, always surrounded by a range of stunning volcanoes including the iconic Licancabur at 5,920 meters / 19,420 feet. Competitors will race more than 1 mile above sea level, covering the horizontal crossing of the country of Chile (250 kilometers / 150 miles). More information about the event is available at www.racingtheplanet.com/atacamacrossing

Races offered by this event

Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2023

24 Sep, 2023 (Sun) - 08:00
Trail running
Stage race
250 km
Solo
On site
Trail
Hilly
Desert
Mountain range

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News: Trail running

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Press Release

Competitors to embark on 250 kilometer footrace across Atacama Desert

04 Oct, 2015 (Sun)

Credit : Dave Marquard [3 October 2015, San Pedro de Atacama] – Competitors from nearly 40 countries will race across the Atacama Desert during the coming week, carrying their own equipment and food over a grueling 250-kilometer course. Now in its 11th year, the 4 Deserts Race Series began hosting the Atacama Crossing in 2004. The race returns with an exciting field of 168 competitors, who will set out on the course Sunday, 4 October, and cross the finish line in the historic town of San Pedro de Atacama on Saturday, 10 October. Competitors will start out at the highest point of the course, an altitude of 3.3 kilometers above sea level, and gradually descend to 2.5 kilometers as they cross the Atacama Desert, known as the driest place on the planet. The race takes runners through an incredible moon-like landscape, including salt lakes and flats, sand dunes, canyons and valleys, and villages dotting the path of Incan roads dating back hundreds of years. The Licancabur Volcano rises in the background for most of the course. The otherworldly beauty of the desert is perhaps what draws competitors such as Ashkan Mokhtari back to the Atacama Crossing year after year. 2015 marks Mokhtari’s seventh year in a row to return to Chile, and upon completion, will be his 18th 4 Deserts/RacingThePlanet event since he began competing in 2008. Racers represent 37 nations, with four teams included among them. Kam Hung (Camel) Fung of Hong Kong is the first amputee to ever compete in a 4 Deserts/RacingThePlanet event. Part of the team “Five Legs Never Quit,” Fung set a goal to raise HK $3 million for the Hong Kong Amputees Association. Other notable competitors include Germany’s Mike Kraft, an ultramarathoner and accomplished climber who has reached the summit of the highest mountain on every continent; American Shiri Leventhal, women’s champion of the Gobi March (China) 2013 and top three finisher at the Great Wall Marathon; and New Zealand’s John and Daniel Bonallack, a father-son team who have together conquered endurance races in Greenland, Brazil and Egypt. After crossing the finish line at the Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2015, seven competitors will become members of the prestigious 4 Deserts Club, meaning they have completed the Sahara Race (Egypt), Gobi March (China), Atacama Crossing (Chile) and The Last Desert (Antarctica). The 4 Deserts Race Series tests competitors physically and mentally, as they must carry their own food and equipment for seven days across inhospitable terrain. Volunteers and staff provide drinking water and tents each night for competitors to rest, and a robust medical team keeps them safe as they cross through dozens of checkpoints during the week.
Ahotu event page:
2 min read
Press Release

The Atacama Crossing Hosts a Remarkable Field for the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Race

08 Oct, 2014 (Wed)

Credit : Shaun Boyte A group of outstanding individuals is gathering in the Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary edition of the Atacama Crossing. On the morning of Sunday, 5 October, a diverse group of 163 competitors from 36 nations— spanning double Olympians, blind athletes and many raising funds for charities—will set out on the stunning 250-kilometer course. “The Atacama Crossing has become one of the most beloved races of the 4 Deserts Race Series for its astonishing location and highly challenging course,” said Mary Gadams, who founded the 4 Deserts Race Series in 2002. “I can hardly believe that it is ten years since the first edition – this is another milestone in the 4 Deserts Race Series history and I am looking forward to this special anniversary celebration of the race.” Set in the elevated plateaus of the Atacama Desert, the driest, non-Polar desert in the world, the Atacama Crossing is renowned for its high altitude – always a mile above sea level – its terrain of demanding salt flats, and astonishing lunar beauty. The seven-day, six-stage odyssey spans historical Incan trade routes, sand dunes, streams, gorges, salt flats, salt lakes, slot canyons, oases and the magnificence of nature sanctuaries such as the Valley of the Moon and Valley of Death. The course culminates on Saturday, 11 October in the town square of San Pedro de Atacama where the local inhabitants and visitors await the jubilant competitors as they cross the final finishline. The race has drawn entrants from across the globe, with highest numbers coming from the United States (35), United Kingdom (18), Canada (13) and South Korea (12). Among the race favorites is acclaimed Spanish athlete and double Olympian, Jose Manuel “Chema” Martinez Fernandez. The 42-year old is halfway through his 4 Deserts Grand Slam attempt this year—all of the 4 Deserts races in one calendar year—and he’s already won the Gobi March (China) and gained 2nd place at the Sahara Race (Jordan). Andrzej Gondek of Poland is another strong contender, also in the Grand Slam, who placed fourth overall at the Gobi March in China earlier this year. He is engaging in the race with fellow Polish racers Marek Wikiera and Daniel Lewczuk, who are part of a group of 23 competitors taking on the Grand Slam this year. The equally strong women’s field includes Isis Breiter of Mexico who emerged as female champion at the Gobi March and placed sixth overall at the Sahara Race (both in 2014). She is joined by Kristinet van der Westhuizen of South Africa, third overall woman at the Sahara Race 2014 and second placed female in that same race in 2012, as well as Emily Woodland of the United Kingdom who earned fourth place in the women’s division of the Gobi March 2012. Credit : Shaun Boyte A dazzling range of diverse human stories will be playing out in the brutal beauty of the Atacama Desert this week. The blind athlete Vladmi dos Santos, who works closely with Brazil’s Paralympic Committee, is taking on his third 4 Deserts race here after winning the Spirit Award at the Atacama Crossing in 2013. He is being guided during the race by the American firefighter Erin Leighty. The Iranian-Canadian competitor and 4 Deserts Club member Ashkan Mokhtari is returning for his astonishing 17th RacingThePlanet event—having completed the Atacama Crossing five times previously. Americans Penelope and Keith Boettiger are racing for the charity they founded, Mamush.org, which provides training for Ethiopian orphans transitioning into their adult lives. There are also six teams coming from America, Spain, Korea (South), the United Kingdom and a hybrid of Brits and New Zealanders who live in India, UAE and the United Kingdom. They will be battling it out for a podium place. “We are excited to welcome competitors such as Chema Martinez to this extraordinary terrain as well as to see the group of Grand Slam contenders – the largest group we’ve ever had – move into their 750th kilometer of the year and go from strength to strength. We wish all competitors a safe race and hope they enjoy it as much as those who have gone before them” said Samantha Fanshawe, President of the 4 Deserts Race Series. This year the Atacama Crossing is supporting the Chilean charity Fundaciòn Amigos de Jesús, a non-profit organization that takes care of children and adults with disabilities ranging from Downs Syndrome to more severe handicaps. The donation made will help to support the running costs over the next year to ensure adequate care can continue to be provided. Credit : Dave Marquard
Ahotu event page:
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