The Last Desert (Antarctica)

Edition 9

Aitcho Island, Antartica
22 Nov, 2022 (Tue)

Trail running

250 km

About the event

The Last Desert is a 6-stage, 250-kilometer self-supported footrace at the final frontier in Antarctica. This race is only open to those who have completed at least two of the 4 Deserts Race Series events which include the Gobi March in China, the Atacama Crossing in Chile and the Sahara Race (which currently takes place in Namibia). Each individual must carry a minimal amount of safety equipment. Assistance is provided throughout including water (plenty), shelter and medical assistance.

The Last Desert is the only multi-day stage race on the Antarctic continent. It will begin in Ushuaia, Argentina - competitors will travel by ship across the famous Drake Passage to several locations in Antarctica and outlying islands. Besides racing, competitors will experience the unique wildlife in Antarctica, glaciers and are transported by zodiacs to shore each day. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is not only open for competitors, family and friends and also welcomed to join.

More information about the race is available at

Races offered by this event

The Last Desert (Antarctica) 2022

22 Nov, 2022 (Tue)
Trail running - Stage race
250 km
On site

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News: Trail running

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Press Release

Record-breaking Antarctica Runners Recognised As Australia Day Ambassadors

23 Jan, 2013 (Wed)

Sydney runners Greg and Matthew Donovan, who raced into the record books with their 150 km run across Antarctica, have been recognised as Australia Day Ambassadors by the Australia Day Council of NSW. The record-breaking father and son will join a host of exceptional Australians at celebrations around the state on 26 January, sharing the story of their ultramarathon mission to raise money for type 1 diabetes research. Greg Donovan will be a guest of honour at Australia Day celebrations in Harden Shire Council in the South West Slopes of NSW, while son Matthew will take part in festivities in neighbouring Weddin Shire Council. “It’s a tremendous honour to be named as Ambassadors alongside some truly amazing Australians and Matt and I can’t wait to meet and share our story with different communities as they celebrate Australia Day,” said Greg. Greg and Matthew were part of a team of five Australian runners who braved sub zero temperatures, knee-deep snow and 80 km/h winds in Antarctica to become the first team in history to complete the 4 Deserts, the world’s leading endurance footrace series. The team crossed the finish line on 29 November after running nearly 150 km across the Antarctic wilderness over seven days, becoming the first team in the world to achieve the 4 Deserts ‘Grand Slam’, having already completed ultramarathons in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China and the Sahara Desert in Egypt. Known as Born To Run, the extraordinary mission was started by Greg to raise funds for type 1 diabetes research after his own son, Stephen, was diagnosed with the potentially fatal type 1 juvenile diabetes at age 14. “From the sand of the Sahara to the ice of Antarctica, it was an incredibly gruelling journey, but in every step we lived our motto of fitness for fighting diabetes,” said Greg. Greg and Matthew will next tackle Australia’s own Simpson Desert, having pledged to race across five deserts on five continents. The pair has launched a major new charity running event, the Big Red Run, to be in held in the Simpson Desert from 8-13 July, with all money raised going towards helping the more than 130,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes. The Australia Day Ambassador Program sees high achieving Australians, including sports heroes, celebrities, writers, artists, business people, environmentalists, scientists, and community workers, take part in celebrations across NSW from Auburn and Albury to Burwood and Broken Hill to Wyong, Yass and Young. For more information visit For more information on Born To Run visit
2 min read
Press Release

The Last Desert Makes Racing History

06 Dec, 2012 (Thu)

(30 November 2012, Ushuaia, Argentina)—The Last Desert (Antarctica) 2012 has proved to be a momentous race in 4 Deserts racing history. When the fifth edition of the event came to a close in the snowy setting of Danko Island yesterday, new records were being forged in all directions. Credit : RacingThePlanet Anne-Marie Flammersfeld of Germany emerged as the first woman to ever win all four events in the 4 Deserts series—and not only that, she did it all in one year. “My objective was the 4 Deserts Grand Slam,” explains the 34-year old fitness trainer and sports scientist who is based in Switzerland. “I started training mid-2011. The Atacama Crossing was my first ultra ever and it was all about the first experience… It was really only after the Sahara Race that I knew I could do this.” There was also a remarkable victory for overall race winner, Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito. The Spanish racer came to Antarctica having already won each of the 4 Deserts races in 2012, including the Atacama Crossing (Chile), the Gobi March (China) and Sahara Race (Egypt). By winning The Last Desert (Antarctica), he joins Ryan Sandes as the only other person to have been champion of every race in the 4 Deserts series—but Beneito has taken it up a notch by winning them all in one calendar year for the first time. “I’m really happy, this is a dream come true,” said the Spaniard. “This was the hardest race for me, I really had to focus. The terrain was a challenge, also the unpredictability of the conditions and weather. It was also hard because the Sahara Race was so close. I have had a problem in my foot, the tendons have been inflamed.” Germany’s Michael Brehe took second overall position, powering through every stage with a deft ability to race across snow and ice. Anne-Marie Flammersfeld was third overall winner and Japan’s Hidechika Kadasawa came in fourth position. In the women’s division, two great athletes tied as second-placed females: Nahila Hernandez San Juan of Mexico and Australia’s Sandy Suckling. In the team’s division, yet more staggering feats took place in the snow: The winning team, JDRF Born to Run, became the first team to complete all 4 Desert races—and again, they did it all in 2012. The group consists of Australians Jess Baker, Roger Hanney, Ron Schwabel and father and son Greg and Matt Donovan. Their experience was dedicated to raising awareness and funding for Type 1 diabetes research. Credit : RacingThePlanet “We feel so relieved,” said Greg Donovan. “So much time and effort has gone into planning. With a team of five, so much can go wrong and as a team there is a greater chance of failure then taking part as individuals. Now, it’s time to celebrate.” The Last Desert began on November 24th on King Georges Island and saw 49 competitors from 27 countries set out across up to 200-kilometers in the only multi-stage event to take place on the Antarctic continent. They raced in varying weather conditions over several days, from sunlit skies to snow flurries and from deep snow to bare cliffs.
2 min read
Press Release

A Truly Historic Edition of The Last Desert (Antarctica)

22 Nov, 2012 (Thu)

[21 November 2012, Hong Kong] – One of the world’s most extraordinary endurance races gets underway this Thursday, 22 November, as 55 competitors set out on a journey to race up to 250 kilometers across the world’s largest and coldest desert. Credit : RacingThePlanetIt is the fifth edition of The Last Desert, the most eagerly awaited race in the 4 Deserts series because of the rare chance it offers individuals to race in Antarctica, one of the most pristine natural settings on Earth. It promises to be an historic edition with several individuals aiming to break records. Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito, a 36-year-old firefighter from the Alicante region of Spain, sets out to become the first person in history to win all of the 4 Deserts events in one calendar year—a huge achievement. In the women’s division, Germany’s Anne-Marie Flammersfeld takes on the same challenge having won women’s gold throughout 2012. “The Last Desert is always an anticipated event that, for many, is the pinnacle of the 4 Deserts journey. The year 2012 is especially exciting with so many records: the men’s and women’s winners both set to make history by winning all 4 Deserts in one year; four of the youngest people ever to compete; and the largest number of Grand Slammers in history,” says Vice President of Events, Samantha Fanshawe. A large proportion of competitors are arriving to the end of an incredible year; 18 are attempting to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in 2012, having successfully completed the Atacama Crossing (Chile), the Gobi March (China) and the Sahara Race (Egypt). Leonard Stanmore of Canada is attempting a record of his own: to be the first person to complete both the Seven Summits and the 4 Deserts series. The 60-year-old races to raise money for the charity Trekking for Kids. Credit : RacingThePlanetAn extraordinary sense of diversity is evident in this year’s field. Amid the 55 competitors taking part, a total of 27 countries are represented, including 11 Australians in the field. Ages range from 22 years to 63 years—the oldest competitor is Kumi Murakami, a swimming coach from Japan. The journey begins on Thursday, 22 November, when competitors board the Dutch expedition ship in Argentina and set out on a two-day route through the Drake Passage. The race kicks off on Sunday, 25 November, where competitors set out on a course that traverses a rich assortment of landscapes, from deep snow and high points, to a black sandy beach that is so warm from geothermal activity that it continually steams. Surrounding the activity will be extraordinary wildlife of The White Continent, from penguin colonies to whales, seals and a rich variety of birds. The course is set according to weather conditions and may move over a host of settings including Paradise Bay, Cuverville, Neko Harbour and Wienke Island, on which Dorian Bay, Damoy Point and Port Lockroy are located. A night spent camping on the Antarctic Peninsular is also planned. Unlike other 4 Deserts events, competitors will be sleeping aboard the expedition vessel between the planned six stages, yet they still must carry their own supplies – and take on the immense challenge of racing through the snow, ice and freezing conditions of the world’s largest cold desert.
2 min read