Gobi March (Mongolia)

Edition 17

Karakorum, Mongolia
18 Jun, 2023 (Sun)

Trail running

250 km


About the event

The Gobi March (Mongolia) is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series of 250 kilometer / 155 mile, six-stage, seven-day, self-supported rough-country, endurance footraces. In 2016, the Gobi March celebrated the 50th race of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series and in 2018, the Gobi March moved to Mongolia!

The Gobi March course is located in the Karakorum region in Central Mongolia. The course takes you through vast green grasslands, stupas and temples, sand dunes, great rock valleys and old forests, while competitors will at times sleep in traditional Mongolian yurts. The Long March will take you through wide Mongolian steppes as you make your way towards the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape and further to the ancient city of Karakorum, the former capital of Genghis Khan’s empire. You can also experience the colourful culture of the Naadam Festival, held during the time of the race.

More information about the race is available at www.racingtheplanet.com/gobimarch

Races offered by this event

You have 2 weeks to prepare

Gobi March (Mongolia) 2023

18 Jun, 2023 (Sun) - 08:00
Trail running - Stage race
250 km
On site
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News: Trail running

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Press ReleaseResults

After a Week of Extremes, the Gobi March 2015 Concludes

17 Jun, 2015 (Wed)

Credit : RacingThePlanet After a Week of Extremes, the Gobi March 2015 Concludes with an All-American podium and All-Female Afghan Ultramarathon Team Making History [7 June 2015, Xinjiang, China] — An epic 12th edition of the Gobi March has drawn to a close in China’s far north eastern province of Xinjiang. It was a race of extremes with weather veering from a snow blizzard to driving rain, searing heat and a sand storm – with the final stage of the race cut short due to the unexpected weather conditions. Nonetheless, it proved to be an historic race. Adam Kimble of the United States emerged as the overall winner, completing the course in a time of 25:39:33. The 28-year old was taking on his first 4 Deserts race here in China. “It was incredible,” he said. “I am so happy that I met so many life long friends. The varied landscape and terrain was incredible.” Daphne Tsalli took 1st place in the women’s category. The Greek / Norwegian-competitor who is based in the United Kingdom finished in a time of 32:07:05 and in 12th place overall. “This was my first race so I didn’t expect to win,” she said. “Thank you to the doctors for taking care of me. Thank you to the volunteers for helping me. Thank you to my running partner for supporting me and being there for me the whole race." Taking 2nd place overall was Ralph Crowley of the United States, just 5 minutes behind the leader. Ralph also came 2nd in The Last Desert (Antarctica) in 2014. “The Gobi threw everything at us,” said the 30-year old. Third place went to Kyle McCoy, a former solider with the US Army. This was an historic race as for the first time three American competitors took the top three places on the podium. The 2nd placed woman was Song Jeong Mi of South Korea, who came in 17th place overall. “I wasn’t able to complete the Sahara Race (Jordan) last year because of an injury,” she explained. “So I came to the Gobi March hoping to at least finish and beat my personal best.” Six teams took part in this year’s race with China’s Xiamen University emerging as the champions, putting in an astonishing performance and coming in 35th place overall. The team consists of Zhan Youyi, Liang Xinde, Chen Yuzeng, Wang Zhongwen and Yu Guandi. “The win isn’t so important,” said team captain Zhan Youyi. “We are like sisters and brothers and we made it through the race together and that’s the most important part.” It was a race of extremes this past week with competitors facing an astonishing range of weather in the expanses of the Gobi Desert outside Hami in Xinjiang Province. The week opened with snowfall, followed by driving rain, then searing heat and finally finishing with a sand storm – prompting organizers to complete the race a day early. Nonetheless, it was an historic week that saw some compelling victories. Team Asma’i, the first all-female ultramarathon team from Afghanistan completed the course—making history and proving their great resilience having encountered numerous obstacles to train in the lead-up to the race. There was also victory for the three blind competitors who took on the race—Wang Qi of China, Takahiro Muraki of Japan and Vladmi dos Santos of Brazil. The competitors spent the week racing through a great variety of landscapes, from sand dunes to high pastures, a mountain pass, alpine lands dotted with yurts and flat out Gobi. Competitors were able to interact with the local communities who populate this area, staying in a Kazak villages one night and yurts on another. “This was a truly humbling edition of the Gobi March,” said Riitta Hanninen, Event Director of the Gobi March. “Seeing competitors like the all-women team from Afghanistan and the three blind competitors tackle this challenge and overcome it with such courage, not to mention the entire field of competitors taking on such an astonishing diversity of weather extremes, was incredibly inspiring. It’s always a great honor to return to Xinjiang Province and work with the communities here—and we look forward to returning in 2016 for our 50th race.”
Ahotu event page:
3 min read
Press ReleaseResults

Spanish Double Olympian Conquers Gobi March 2014

08 Jun, 2014 (Sun)

Credit : www.4deserts.com / Zandy Mangold The Spanish double Olympian, Jose Manuel ‘Chema’ Martinez Fernandez, won the Gobi March 2014 today, arriving at the finish line by the spectacular shores of Xinjiang’s Sayram Lake. “I was so tired at camp [this morning],” said the 42-year-old. “I was cold and exhausted, but now I feel great!” This is the first 4 Deserts win for the legendary long-distance athlete—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 six-day race in 25:56:34. Italy’s Sebastiano Arlotta Tarino won the silver medal with a time of 28:59:00. “This has been a very different experience for me as a sportsman and as an individual,” said the 25-year-old. “We were competing with each other, but we also support and motivate each other—I enjoyed this part the most.” Nicholas Mead of the United Kingdom took third overall with a time of 30:08:42. Credit : www.4deserts.com / Zandy Mangold Isis Breiter of Mexico emerged as the champion of the women’s division, completing the course with a time of 37:02:06 and coming in 18th overall position. Having finished as the 6th woman in the Sahara Race (Jordan) earlier this year, she was also reveling 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 3,000 meters.” Danish competitor Lene Larson earned the silver medal in the women’s division with a time of 40:14:42, and in third position was South Korea’s Yang Yujin in 42:54:56. In the team division, the members of Team Esquel of China were celebrating their win. The three-man team includes Luo Pengwu, Zhou Zhijun and Chen Hui. “We pushed ourselves hard, to the limit,” said Chen Hui, a superintendent at the Esquel Group based in Foshan City. “It’s really good we finished together. We learned a lot. The race was challenging.” Credit : www.4deserts.com / Zandy Mangold The 11th edition of the Gobi March took place in Bortala, Xinjiang, one of the most culturally diverse regions of China’s far northwest, in the highlight plateaus of the Gobi Desert. “We were happy to return to this amazing section of the Gobi for a second year running,” said Samantha Fanshawe, President of Events of the 4 Deserts Race Series. “It’s such a diverse region culturally, and competitors were able to stay in traditional yurts and witness up close the lives of the ethnic Mongol, Kazakh and Uyghur minorities. Competing against the backdrop of these snowcapped mountains and alpine forests, and finishing at Lake Sayram was very special.” 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 kilometers were then added the following day). A total of 109 competitors from 41 countries engaged in the race—and 31 competitors have qualified for The Last Desert (Antarctica), which takes place this November. Credit : www.4deserts.com / Zandy Mangold 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. Many competitors are taking on the 4 Deserts Grand Slam—and are now halfway through their odyssey of 1,000 kilometers in one calendar year. Some 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. The next stop for the Grand Slam contenders is Chile for the Atacama Crossing on 5 October.
Ahotu event page:
3 min read
Press Release

A Culturally Diverse Gobi March Kicks Off in Far-Western China

30 May, 2014 (Fri)

Credit : Gobi March A remarkable race through one of the most culturally-diverse regions of China’s far northwest gets underway on June 1st as the Gobi March takes to the highest plateaus of the Gobi Desert. The 11th edition of the world-renowned, 250-kilometer rough country footrace will see competitors from 41 countries gathering at the starting line in Bortala region of the Western province of Xinjiang on Sunday, 1 June. With the snow-capped Altai Mountains as their backdrop, they will set out on a varied course through grasslands, over dusty and stony desert, farmlands, riverbeds, and deep into mountain alpine valleys during the six-stage course. Racing at a minimum of 1,000 meters throughout, they will climb up to 2,800 meters on the epic fifth stage and will carry all their belongings and food throughout, only given a place in a tent (or Yurt) to sleep along the way and water to nourish them. The strongest contender for this year’s race is the double-Olympian Jose Manuel “Chema” Martinez Fernandez of Spain, who came in second place at the Sahara Race (Jordan) earlier this year in his first 4 Deserts race. The 42-year old is a highly-acclaimed athlete who finished ninth in the 10,000 meter distance of the 2004 Athens Olympics and 16th in the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has a long list of accolades to his name, including a win at the 2008 Madrid Marathon. Other notable competitors include Paul Borlinha of Canada who is aiming to be only the third person in the world ever to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam (all four races in one calendar year) in addition to the 2015 Roving Race—held in Madagascar at the end of August. With women representing 20% of the field there are some strong performances expected. Isis Breiter from Mexico comes to her second 4 Deserts Race having finished as the 6th woman in the Sahara Race (Jordan) earlier this year. Mika Kuma, 52, from Japan was 2nd across the line in the Sahara Race 2009 where she competed as a team. “This year’s race has attracted competitors and volunteers from a great range of countries, some that have rarely been represented before, such as Serbia, Romania, Poland, Kazakhstan, the Cayman Islands and Ethiopia” says President of the 4 Deserts Race Series, Samantha Fanshawe. “They will have the chance to race through the great kaleidoscope of cultures that makes up this intriguing Chinese region that shares its border with Kazakhstan. As they race through Mongolian settlements, along cable bridges and past a memorial to Genghis Khan—they will be able to witness up close the lives of the ethnic Mongol, Kazakh and Uyghur minorities of this storied region. “ Adding to the theme of rich cultural diversity is the benefiting charity of this year’s race, the Esquel- RacingThePlanet Scholarship Programme. The seven-year project was launched at the tenth anniversary of the Gobi March last year and is funding ten female, Uyghur students to complete their final three years of high school and two years of university. One such student is Jupaer Tuhaerbaike, an 18-year old of Kazak-ethnicity who has just finished her second year of high school with funding from the initiative. “As local traditions go, girls don’t have to go to school, their mission is to take care of the whole family,” she explains. “I cherish this chance and am studying hard to realize my dream of studying in university.” As RacingThePlanet founder, Mary Gadams explains: “The most meaningful part of the Esquel- RacingThePlanet Scholarship Programme is the empowerment that it gives to bright and ambitious young women which could have a major positive impact on Xinjiang and China in the future. We are thrilled to be offering such a long-term commitment to these students. We look forward to meeting some of these students at the 11th edition of the Gobi March, which is one of the most culturally-diverse courses for the race."
Ahotu event page:
3 min read