A letter of thanks from Tanida and details of her Gobi Race Fundraiser experience.
Thank you very much for your donation! Your contribution helped to raise a total of $5,066.20.
The race was epic and there were moments where we had to dig deep. It rained (poured with thunder and lightning on occasions) in the desert, which was unusual for the time of year but was forecasted. Chris won his age group with a phenomenal effort and a huge lead, and remained high in the overall placing throughout the race. I was happy to finish as I had recently sprained my ankle while in another race in preparation for the Gobi. I also managed to catch a cold a few days prior to the Gobi race but luckily found someone half way through the event that had brought along antibiotics.
After the first stage, it was hard to contemplate having five more stages to go, including the 73km ultra on the fourth stage. However, I don’t think it entered our minds that we wouldn’t finish. Once we crossed the start line, come what may, we were in for the long haul. For me, the hardest stage was the last 10-15km of the 73km. Not because of the distance, but rather the rain and lightning and thunderstorm and knowing that when we got back to camp, like the previous stage when it had also rained, there would be nowhere to get dry as the tents would be wet inside with pools of water. This would have all been perfectly endurable had I not had the cold, which by this time had got down to my chest. Luckily, the organisers recognised how miserable the situation was for the competitors and evacuated us to a sports hall about an hour away.
For Chris, he found the fifth stage difficult because the weather had cleared up and it was hot and sunny. Chris knew he generally doesn’t do well in the heat and recognised that the fifth stage would be a battle. Apart from the first stage, all the other stages had been in fairly cloudy conditions and not at all at the temperatures we were expecting of the desert. Also by the fifth stage, our feet were truly covered in spectacular blisters, although Chris believes that his feet were perfect specimens compared to mine.
There were a few river crossings, one being in the last 3km of the ultra, crossed around midnight aided by headlamps before wading through a swamp. The other main crossing was intended to be at the end of the fifth stage but due to the amount of rain, the organisers involved the Mongolian Rafting Association to instead raft the competitors over the river to the camp.
The final stage was a short and easy 9km. With food at the end. Knowing there was decent, non dehydrated food to be had possibly made this stage our fastest. It was also very motivating to know that at the end of that day meant a shower for the first time in 7 days, and for many competitors, the first change of clothes in also as many days. We did not look or smell pretty but no one seemed to care. In the end, it’s the comradery and knowing that the next person is also going through varying degrees of discomfort, some more so than others. There were some that had very bad injuries but managed to finish. It was an eye opener to see how much pain the body can take and the spirit that keeps motivating people each morning to put one foot in front of the other.
Here is the link to the official site with photos and videos of the Gobi March race, The stages were 39km, 49km, 42km, 73km, 30km (slightly shorter due to the rain) and 9km.
- My pack weighed in at 8.75kg without water. Chris’ was 11kg. Most of our pack consisted of food. Average pack is 9kg without water.
- 32 competitors were at the start line of the Gobi March
- Just 7% of competitors withdrew during the race despite extreme weather. This is very low for RacingThePlanet /4 Deserts races as the usual rate is 12-18%.
- 67% of the competitors were male and 33% female - this is a record for female participation!
Once again, many thanks for your support and donation!