Category Archives: News

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Competitors to embark on 250 kilometre footrace across Atacama Desert

[3 October 2015, San Pedro de Atacama]

Atacama Crossing

Competitors from nearly 40 countries will race across the Atacama Desert during the coming week, carrying their own equipment and food over a gruelling 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 kilometres 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 4Deserts/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.

About the Atacama Crossing 2015 (4-10 October) –

The Atacama Crossing is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts Series of 250-kilometer endurance footraces. The race takes place in Chile’s stunning but brutal Atacama Desert, which is the largest cold coastal desert and the driest place on Earth. The Atacama is a rainless plateau hemmed in between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes and is a unique landscape of salt lakes, volcanoes, lava flows and sand dunes that challenge even the best runners.

Atacama Crossing is grueling not only because of the forbidding terrain, which is rarely flat underfoot, and harsh climate, but also because of the altitude that averages 2,500 meters / 8,000 feet during the race. About the 4 Deserts –

The 4 Deserts is the world’s leading endurance footrace series, a unique collection of world-class races that take place over 7 days and 250 kilometers in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet. Competitors must go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-supported in the most inhospitable climates and formidable landscapes, they must

carry all their own equipment and food, and are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent each night to rest.

The series, named again by TIME magazine as one of the world’s Top 10 endurance competitions, comprises the Atacama Crossing in Chile, Gobi March in China, Sahara Race in Namibia and The Last Desert in Antarctica.


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The Last Desert (Antarctica) 2014

[1 November, 2014, Ushuaia] —The Last Desert (Antarctica) is enjoying its biggest year yet as this weekend a diverse, international cast of competitors look to push against their mental and physical limits in the White Continent.

This celebrated race, which was first staged in Antarctica in 2006 and is now held every two years, has seen its largest ever field of competitors coming from all over the planet. A total of 69 competitors boarded the Dutch expedition ship, M/V Plancius, on Saturday, 1 November in the Argentinean town of Ushuaia to set off on a two-day crossing of the Drake Passage.

When they arrive in the Antarctic Continent on Tuesday, 4 November, they will set off on an endurance footrace through some of the continent’s most astonishing landscapes and islands – pushing up to 250 kilometers through pristine deep snow, following courses up to high points of the land, past penguin colonies and moving through areas of immense historical significance.


This is truly a year of records for The Last Desert,” said Samantha Fanshawe, President of the 4 Deserts Race Series. “Not only is it the largest race so far with the largest number of Grand Slammers it will also see many countries represented for the first time in beautiful landscape of Antarctica and the 4 Deserts Club. We also have four teams which is more than ever before in this race – one team is a father and his two sons from Taiwan.”

There are 28 nations represented on the ship, with the majority of competitors coming from Japan, followed by Spain and the United Kingdom— the countries being represented for the first time include Poland, Thailand, Greece, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.

The record number of four teams (nearly 20% of the field) include the Spanish team, Corre 1Km+, who will have completed the Grand Slam as a team; the 3 Amigos representing New Zealand, Australia and the United States who met at 4 Deserts races earlier this year and decided to join forces; the MisFits from Canada, Greece and Denmark; and the family team from Taiwan representing their family company Hop Lion Feather Works.

The race favorite is Spanish athlete Jose Manuel “Chema” Martinez Fernandez, a double Olympian who won gold earlier this year at the Atacama Crossing (Chile) and the Gobi March (China) as well as gaining a silver medal at the Sahara Race (Jordan). If he wins The Last Desert, he will become the 4 Deserts Champion of 2014.

“Chema” Martinez is among a group of 19 competitors who are still on target to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in 2014—a massive effort to complete a total of 1,000 kilometers through the world’s most astonishing deserts through some of the worlds toughest terrain. Considering that only 28 people have completed this feat in history, this is a truly significant number for 2014.

The group includes Isis Breiter, the first female from Mexico to be taking on the 4 Deserts Grand Slam. Canada’s Paul Borlinha, meanwhile, is aiming to be the third person in the world ever to complete all 4 Deserts and the Roving Race in one calendar year. The Grand Slammers are part of a larger group of 44 people who are aiming to join the 4 Deserts Club in Antarctica. To join the 4 Deserts Club competitors must complete all the races in the 4 Deserts Series over any timeframe. On the contrary to Grand Slammers, competitors such as Bruce Walker from the United Kingdom is joining The Last Desert having not completed a 4 Deserts race since 2009.

While pushing their bodies and minds through this endurance event in the White Continent, many competitors are using the race as a fundraising vehicle. South African competitor David Barnard is raising funds for Greenpeace in a bid to pioneer the growth of solar energy in South Africa. Hong Kong’s Sin Shu Fuk is raising money for the Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society. Ryan Hill, A Brit living in Singapore is supporting the Snow Leopard Trust, while New Zealand’s Megan Stewart has raised funds for charities throughout her journey, from Taranaki Land Search and Rescue and now the L.I.A.M. (Life Saving Initiatives Against Methanol Poisoning) Foundation in memory of her nephew who died from illegal methanol poisoning in Indonesia last year.


About The Last Desert 2014 (1-11 November) –

The Last Desert (Antarctica) is held every two years and forms the final race of the iconic 4 Deserts series. Competitors must complete a minimum of two of the other 4 Deserts events to be invited to participate in the race.

The self-supported footrace is up to 250 kilometers with competitors having to carry a mandatory list of equipment, nutrition and water on each stage. The race uses a polar expedition ship as its base, traveling to the different course locations on the Antarctic Peninsula and offshore islands based on the prevailing sea and weather conditions, with competitors transferred from ship to shore by special zodiacs.

The unique challenges of The Last Desert (Antarctica) include having to cope with the severity of the weather conditions that can include gale-force blizzards and temperatures down to -20 degrees C (4 degrees F). Competitors also have to deal with the unpredictability of daily stage lengths and start-times, as the prevailing environmental conditions dictate where and when stages might begin.

About the 4 Deserts Race Series –

The 4 Deserts Race Series is the world’s leading endurance footrace series, a unique collection of world-class races that take place over 7 days and 250 kilometers in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet.

Competitors must go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-supported in the most inhospitable climates and formidable landscapes, they must carry all their own equipment and food, and are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent each night to rest.

The series, twice named by TIME magazine as one of the world’s Top 10 endurance competitions, comprises the Atacama Crossing in Chile, Gobi March in China, Sahara Race in Jordan and The Last Desert in Antarctica.

For media and press enquiries including access to photos please email

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A Rare Sahara Race in the Ancient Deserts of Jordan

[12 February 2014, Hong Kong] As the ninth edition of the Sahara Race kicks off on 16 February 2014, competitors will find themselves in one of the most fabled desert-scapes on the planet, beneath the towering sandstone mesas of Jordan’s Wadi Rum, also known as Valley of the Moon.

This year’s Sahara Race is moving out of Egypt for the first time in its nine-year history as a result of recent political unrest. The 250-kilometer course takes place instead in the Badia region of nearby Jordan. The stunning course will take 191 competitors from nearly 40 countries through four distinct deserts, finishing on 22 February in the red formations of the ancient city of Petra—one of the Seven Wonders of the World

“While it is sad not to be holding the ninth edition of the Sahara Race in its home of Egypt, I am excited to be returning to Jordan where we held the 2012 Roving Race with one of the most memorable finish lines in front of the Treasury in the world-renowned heritage site of Petra,” says Event President, Samantha Fanshawe. “And what an exciting group of competitors – a double Olympian, a desert running legend on home turf, a blind competitor and four 4 Deserts Club members with two more looking to join the club in Petra. We are also welcoming back two competitors that have completed the most 4 Deserts races in history and 22 people aiming to race 1,000 kilometers in the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in 2014.”

This year’s striking field of competitors includes Jordan’s very own Salameh Al Aqra. The 43-year-old has been running in deserts since the age of 12 and was overall champion of the Marathon des Sables 2012 as well as multi-time winner of the Austria Ultramarathon and a three-time top 10 finisher in the Jordan Desert Cup.

He will be up against Olympian Jose Manuel “Chema” Martinez Fernandez (42) who finished ninth in the 10,000 meters in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 16th in the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Spaniard’s long list of accolades includes winning the 2008 Madrid Marathon and a silver medal in the marathon in the 2010 European Championships.

The presence of these powerful individuals is complimented by a wide cast of notable 4 Deserts finishers taking on this unique race, including Italy’s Andrea Girardi who was fourth overall at the Atacama Crossing 2013 and has three Marathon des Sables finishes to his name. They’ll be tackling a diverse course that will move through sand dunes, rock tracks, grassland and riverbeds—as competitors carry all of their supplies with only tents and water supplied to them along the way.

They will also be bringing some extraordinary human stories with them. Vladmi dos Santos is a blind athlete from Brazil who has run marathons in Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Trieste, Geneva and Amsterdam. A member of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, he returns to his second 4 Deserts race with his guide, Alex de Lima of Brazil. Spanish competitor Beatriz Garcia Berche, who has Type 1 diabetes, is starting her third 4 Deserts race with the aim of proving that the disease does not have to stop the pursuit of one’s dreams. This is, meanwhile, the 20th race for astonishing South Korean competitor Yoo Ji Sung (Jesse). The CEO of runxrun is the only person ever to have completed the 4 Deserts Race Series twice. Sandy Suckling, another 4 Deserts Club member, is tipped to finish as one of the top women in the race.

There are also those competing with a longer-term view; 22 competitors have the goal of completing the 4 Deserts Grand Slam (all 4 Deserts races in one calendar year) in 2014. This phenomenal group includes the five-person Corre 1km+ team from Spain who take on the team category alongside Team Mukenkabito from Japan and Team Xiamen University from China.


It is the rise of Asian competitors in the race that indicates the most interesting global trend to emerge from the race. Chinese, Japanese and South Korean competitors are bringing the highest numbers of competitors to the field and include the likes of Jin Feibo, modern China’s “greatest adventurer.”

“It is so great to see the sport of ultra-running continuing to grow at such a great rate in Asia, which is evident by the number of competitors from Korea (South), Japan, China and Taiwan,” says Samantha Fanshawe. “This is a trend we can expect to see growing even further in coming years.”

About the Sahara Race (Jordan) 2014 (16–22 February 2014) –

The Sahara Race is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts Race Series, a series of 250-kilometer rough-country footraces. The race begins in the beautiful and historic desert of Wadi Rum, famously known as the setting for the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. Over seven days, Sahara Race competitors will cross three more deserts – Kharaza, Humaima and Wadi Araba – before finishing in the ancient city of Petra. The terrain will vary between sand, sand dunes and dirt/rock track and navigate canyons, valleys and local villages in areas seeped in Jordanian culture and history.

About the 4 Deserts Race Series –

The 4 Deserts Race Series is the world’s leading endurance footrace series, a unique collection of world-class races that take place over 7 days and 250 kilometers in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet.


Competitors must go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-supported in the most inhospitable climates and formidable landscapes, they must carry all their own equipment and food, and are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent each night to rest.

The series, twice named by TIME magazine as one of the world’s Top 10 endurance competitions, comprises the Atacama Crossing in Chile, Gobi March in China, Sahara Race in Jordan and The Last Desert in Antarctica.

For media and press enquiries including access to photos please email


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January Newsletter out now!

News of sponsorship and a 15% discount from RacingThePlanet, plus all the latest news on all of our ultramarathons.


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Beyond Marathon low cost mobile phone based race timing solution

race timer

Beyond Marathon have created a low cost chip timing solution.  We developed this for small organisations who simply cannot afford the high setup and ongoing costs of existing timing systems.  You can purchase and download the Beyond Marathon Race Timer Pro App from the Google or Play store (£4.99). A demo version with less features is available too.  Using the app is incredibly simple. It takes 2 minutes to learn it’s features.Simply scan the chip by putting the phone close by. The App displays the details stored on the chip (Race number, name and other useful details) and stamps the current time and records the participants position in the event. The App will also allow race numbers to be manually entered via a keypad (in the event a participant loses their race number / chip).

The compelling and unique selling point of this race timing system is that you are not restricted encoding chips only with a race number.  The chip can hold any information that may be useful to the race organisation: race number, name, age category, course details, emergency contact phone number (ICE), and medical conditions are just examples.

Learn more about the system here.

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Beyond Marathon events partner – RacingThePlanet (UK)


Company Profile RacingThePlanet (UK)

Founded in 2002, RacingThePlanet provide the best outdoor equipmentclothing and nutrition through our worldwide online store with more than 250 brands (such as 2XUCanada GooseGarminThe North FaceInjinjiIcebreakerRaidLight) and over 26,000 products . The RacingThePlanet and 4 Deserts series provide the ultimate testing ground for endurance racing, outdoor, and rugged technology products. The expertise and knowledge gathered by RacingThePlanet and our participants enables us to credibly identify the most reliable, useful, innovative and lightweight outdoor products , footwear  , Gadgets & Electronics ,  energy bars & gelsoutdoor clothing , Bags and backpacks available and ship them worldwide.  With selections made and guidance given by considering activity, terrain and events, RacingThePlanet’s international online store is the top resource for endurance racers and outdoor enthusiasts in the world (products are shipped from warehouses in both Hong Kong and the United Kingdom).

World’s first truly global store: based on the edge of China, we source the best products from around the world whether it’s in Vietnam, the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain or Korea.

World’s leading gear experts: our staff lives and breathes the outdoors – many are champions in their field.

Field tested: our products are constantly tested in the world’s harshest climates and terrain from the Gobi Desert of China to the Atacama of Chile to Antarctica…we carry only clothing and gear that work.

One-stop shopping: save on postage by getting everything you need for any activity, whether it’s competing in an Ironman, running an ultramarathon or climbing one of the Seven Summits.

Expert gear lists: we tell you what you need for any activity saving you the research time and the costs of returning items that don’t work.

Our main categories:

– Men: jacketsshirtsclothingfootwearaccessories

– Women: jacketsshirtsclothingfootwearaccessories

– Bags and backpackstents and sleeping bags

– Foot care and gaiter

– Drinking SystemHydration Backpacks

– Gadgets & Electronics

– Cooking / AccessoriesFreeze-dried foodenergy bars and gelssupplements

Visit us at:


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RacingThePlanet Store 15% discount

RTP Logo


As a Beyond Marathon fan, from now until 31 August 2013 you can enjoy a one-time discount of 15%* on everything at both the flagship store  located in Hong Kong and online store of RacingThePlanet. To receive this discount, please present a copy of this post upon check out or enter the discount code supplied to you as a beyond marathon subscriber on the online checkout page.

Key Features of RacingThePlanet, The Outdoor Store

–Approximately 25,000 different products available

–More than 250 top outdoor brands

–Asia’s largest outdoor store

–7 languages available (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian and German)

–Flagship Store Address: 22/F, 148 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong (MTR Sheung Wan Station, Exit A2)

–Online Store:

* Terms & Conditions:

The offer is valid until 31 August 2013 on all items except Canada Goose, Garmin, Food and Nutritional products, Event items, Gift Cards, and already discounted items. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount. In case of any dispute, RacingThePlanet Limited reserves the right for any final decision.

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Gobi March 2013 press release

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The world-renowned Gobi March celebrates its 10th anniversary this June with a striking new course through one of China’s most fabled regions. Kicking off on Sunday, 2 June in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, competitors will embark on a 250-kilometer course through lands once ruled by Genghis Khan, an emperor simultaneously revered and feared by populations in Central Asia and China.

With the snow-capped Altai Mountains as their backdrop, 155 competitors will weave through alpine grasslands, dry riverbeds, mountain valleys, high plateaus and local villages in the Bortala Mongol and Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefectures. They will carry all of their own equipment and sleep in tents along the route. The course, which includes more elevation changes than in years past, starts at an altitude of 500 meters and climbs to 2,800 meters on the fifth day in the seven-day course.


Of the competitors taking part this year, the greatest numbers hail from Hong Kong and China, with both countries sending 23 participants to the 10th anniversary course. This is the highest number of Chinese competitors to ever participate in the history of 4 Deserts events, a revealing insight into the growing popularity of endurance events in mainland China. Among the Chinese competitors is Jin Feibao (49), called “one of modern China’s greatest adventurers,” a mountain climber who has completed the Explorers Grand Slam (summiting the highest mountain of every continent and reaching both the North and South Poles), and competitor Xing Bo (41) who has competed in three back-to-back 4 Deserts events at the Sahara Race (Egypt) 2012, the Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2013 and the Gobi March (China) 2013 on his way to join the 4 Deserts Club.

Top contenders for this year’s race include Italy’s Stefano Gregoretti (38) who placed second overall at RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2012 and American competitor Joel Meredith (39) who placed seventh overall at the Sahara Race 2012. Also contending for a top spot is 4 Deserts newcomer Davide Ugolini (39) of Italy. In the women’s category, the United Kingdom’s Joanna Eades (44) returns to the field after placing as the fourth female at RacingThePlanet: Australia 2010 and fifth female at RacingThePlanet: Namibia 2009.

Competitors will be setting out from a starting line just north of the city of Bole—on a course through the Mysterious Rock Valley and Mongolian settlements, along cable bridges with views of the nearby Tian Shan snow peaks and a memorial to Genghis Khan. The race also provides opportunities to witness the daily lives of the Mongol, Kazakh and Uyghur minorities of the region.

The anniversary race is also the setting for an inspiring, new charitable program. After many years of partnership with the Esquel-Y.L. Yang Education Foundation and its scholarship fund, RacingThePlanet and Esquel are now launching the Esquel-RacingThePlanet Scholarship Program. The 10-year program will provide much-needed educational costs for local children in the Xinjiang province. The scholarship will support and fund ten Uygur students through their schooling—from the first year of high school all the way through university graduation.



About the Gobi March 2013 (2 – 8 June 2013)

The Gobi March (China) is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts series of 250-kilometer, rough-country footraces. Apart from the brand new course, the 10th anniversary edition of the Gobi March will include cultural highlights and special celebrations.



The Gobi March 2013 will take place on a new course in Bortala Mongol and Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefectures in northwestern Xinjiang Province. The start line will be near Bole, the capital city of Bortala, at the foot of the Altai Mountains.  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.

About the 4 Deserts –

The 4 Deserts is the world’s leading endurance footrace series, a unique collection of world-class races that take place over 7 days and 250 kilometers in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet.

Competitors must go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-supported in the most inhospitable climates and formidable landscapes, they must carry all their own equipment and food, and are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent each night to rest.  The series, named again by TIME magazine as one of the world’s Top 10 endurance competitions, comprises the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China, the Sahara Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica.

For media and press enquiries including access to photos please email

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April Newsletter

Welcome to the April newsletter.  We didn’t send this out on April 1st, in case we were not taken seriously.  I mean, who would believe a newsletter dedicated to people who run all day, run all night, run national trails in just one day, or participate in Herculean legends?

We’ve split up this newsletter into the different races to make it easier for you all to pick out what’s relevant to you.  Featured in this newsletter are:

  • The Duke of York (freebie event next Sunday, 14th April) – volunteer runners wanted!
  • Dusk til Dawn Sunlight (May)
  • The 12 Labours of Hercules (July)
  • The Gristone Grind (September)
  • Dusk til Dawn (October)

Oh, one last thing….from May 2014 the UK will be getting a new, iconic 100 miler (50 mile option). The course has been set.  The event will be unveiled and opened for international registrations from May 2013.  You’ll have a year to prepare yourselves for another epic.


Richard @ Beyond Marathon 


The Duke of York

He had 10 thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again.  However, on April 14th we have only 11 women/men and will march them gently up 4 or 5 hills before marching them down again, and feeding them.

We have 11 places available for a zero-cost event! Places will be handed out on a first come first served basis.  The event HQ is Losehill Hall in Castleton.  You will register at 8am, you will be issued with an electronic chip, and the little event will start at 8:30am, after a short briefing.

The purpose of the event is to give you a free run on parts of the Peak District courses used in our events, while allowing us to play-test our new sportident electronic chip timing system and software.  We have recently invested heavily in Sportident, and it will be used on some of our events later in 2013 and on all of our events from 2014 onwards.

The event is 18.5 miles long and features 1217m of ascent and descent.  Participants will need to bring an OL1 Dark Peak Map (GPS welcome too).  There are 4 electronic chip control locations. Participants will run out and tag a control, then return to HQ, before going out for the next one.  Participants can choose any route they like.  All of the Controls are easy to find on public paths.  The most direct routes are shown on the map on news post on the Dusk til Dawn website, event News.

So the event will be free of charge, and we will setup a single feeding station at the HQ to feed and water you during and after the event.  If you want to enter, just email us.

It’s a useful 18.5 mile training event, and will introduce you to the local terrain and hills, if you don’t already know them. 

Dusk til Dawn Sunlight

It’s only 7 weeks away and the Grim Sweeper is honing the edge of his scythe.  Currently there are almost 30 of you who are going to be running away from the him on May 18th.  By then  the UK will have thawed out, we are (fairly) sure.  We have updated the online map pack, on the Route page of the Sunlight website.  It includes a one page PDF map, and files for Google Earth, Memory Map, GPX and Garmin devices.  If you encounter any issues with the files then do let us know.

Registration will take place in the conference/briefing room at Losehill Hall.  This will act as event HQ, and where you will also get fed after the event.  We have not yet decided whether to have CP2 or CP3 as the drop bag location.  CP3 is fully indoors, but 30 miles in.  CP2 is 20 miles in but in an outhouse.  Our preference would be to use CP3 but some of you may wish to get some supplies at mile 20.  What are your thoughts on this? Let us know.

The route is very slightly different to 2012.  Of course it is in reverse and in daylight, but there is a change before Sunlight’s CP3.  At Taxal Church you will use a public footpath heading West, heading up to join a road and then public footpath and then head South.  We are in the process of obtaining permission to cross a short section of private land as you head South to rejoin the 2012 route at Windgather Rocks.  The navigation and ground is easier than the 2012 route for this section.

As with 2012 we will make a decision on the day as to if include the Hay and Peter Dales before CP4, or use the road route.  The ground in the dales can turn into a quagmire, so unless it’s easy and fast to traverse we won’t send you through.  There self clip locations shown on the map.  You will be given a route card at registration.  This card will be punched by us at CPs, and you must punch it yourself at each of the self-clip locations.  The self clip locations will be recognisable by most of you as Orienteering Controls.  30cm x 30cm white and orange “kites”.  These will have the traditional orange punches attached to them.  You should punch the card in the next blank box on your route card, ascending in number order.  If you present your route card at the finish with one or more missed punches, then your finish time will be recorded, but with “missed checkpoint” next to it.  So pay attention as you run, and be sure to look out for the self-clips.  They will be in obvious locations, and not hidden in bushes! If you are using your own Sportident card, or want to optionally hire one (£3 – but we only have 12 to rent out in total), for full electronic split timing then the SI stations will be right next to the manual punches and at manned CPs.  Next year it’s anticipated all events will be 100% chip timed.

Entries with accommodation are still available for the October event (only race + accommodation slots left).  If you finish both DtD events then you have claim a very cool and exclusive Dusk til Dawn Double finish medal.

Finally, expect the event handbook to wing it’s way to your inbox in a few weeks time.  Good luck in your final training and preparation.  In those last few weeks swap those long runs for some speedwork. Overall, just train smart and don’t get injured, like I am (see October info!)

12 Labours of Hercules

July isn’t really all that far away, and registrations are filling well.  We’re currently at 40, and we’re likely to cap it at 75.  We’ve been busy working on the finer event details.  On our recent travels, we’ve sourced the winners ‘trophies’ which are actually small Greek pottery and marble vases.  See the recent posts on the event Facebook Page. A little better than the usual gold plastic runner statues right?  The race memento for everyone will also be a little more unusual.  We are still finalising elements of it, so we can’t say too much, but it’s not a medal.

If you are not local to the area, hopefully by now  you may have arranged some accommodation in or around Castleton.  Losehill Hall itself has very limited accommodation left on both the Friday and Saturday, but plenty left on the Sunday night.  If you are thinking of getting a room there, then book now.  There is a very small (6 berths) basic campsite very nearby to the YHA property, but it has no washing facilities.  There is a better campsite in nearby Pindale, and one a little further away in Edale. Those of you who have entered in a team may well want to start to think about who may do which labour, and who is going to be allowed to get some rest or sleep.   We have the large Losehill Hall conference room and adjoining rec-room booked from early Saturday through Sunday afternoon. The race is 24 hours from 10am remember.  From the conference room you will register and then it will act as the Olympus HQ, and main feeding station with the rolling buffet.  It will be the location where as a pair/team you will tag each other and swap the electronic timing card between yourselves.  Pair and Team members who are not out doing a labour are of course welcome to stay, plan and socialise in the HQ.  There is a massive projector screen, so we may well be able to provide some entertainment too.  During the night hours, some team members will doubtless want to seek the comfort of their beds before returning for their “running shift” sometime later!  It’s up to you as a team how you split the labours.  Maybe you all want to do the last one together for a symbolic finish, or maybe not,  it’s entirely up to you.  For solo competitors though you are welcome to take a break anytime at HQ or manned checkpoints, but we realise that you will probably be rarely seen as you complete your solitary feat.

Finally, after negotiation with the owners, we can now reveal the location of the infamous Cavern checkpoint.  If you hadn’t guessed already, then “Hades” will be “The Devil’s Arse” show-cavern in Castleton.  The Devil’s Arse you say?  Indeed, that is in fact the nickname for ‘Peak Cavern’ which has the largest cave mouth of any cave in the UK.  It leads to Titan, a 141m deep natural cave shaft, again the deepest known in the UK; a shaft which potholers only discovered a few years ago.  The cave system is also home to the subterranean River Styx (seriously!), and has over 14 miles of explored passageways (with more left to explore).  However, don’t worry, we are not sending you potholing,  We are not that cruel and I think our insurance company might take issue.  You will pass through the huge cave mouth and entrance cavern, then travel along a dimly lit passage (head torch recommended), and down some rough cut steps, in total about 2 or 3 minutes deeper into the cave where you must then locate the Hades checkpoint.  However that is not all, you must also take ‘something’ from the cave and bring it to the HQ.  We will reveal what, another time.  If you or your family want to explore the cave before, later in the weekend, or at a later date then we have arranged a discount with the owners that we will pass on to you soon. 

The Gristone Grind

Taking place on September 8th, this is the latest addition to the Beyond Marathon ultras.  Hopefully you’ve signed up looking for a good value, solid, well-signed 35 mile ultra, without all the bells and whistles.  As usual this race will feature a high degree of attention to detail and thorough organisation that Beyond Marathon are known for.  Places were only put on sale yesterday, and already there are only 38 left.  As this is a linear race, we will be providing coach transport to the start, allowing you to leave your vehicle at the HQ.  The number of people we can transport restricts the race entry limit, so we expect demand will outstrip supply for this event quite soon.   The Gritstone Trail takes in some of the best views in Cheshire, and though there are a few hills to tackle along the way, the navigation is fairly easy as the whole trail is waymarked.  You will be allowed to use your sportident card for free if you already own one, you can rent one for £3 or you can use a manual self clip and forgo the timing splits; you can choose.  There are 3 planned CPs along the route roughly every 8-9 miles.  If the day is particularly hot (we can only hope) then we may drop interim water points in, but knowing the British weather this probably won’t be necessary.  We will send you more details over the coming months on this event, which we think is going to become a firm favourite due to it’s no nonsense simplicity; the Gritstone Trail, in a day.  We’re curious to see what the new course record is going to be; any guesses? 

Dusk til Dawn (October)

Still a long time away, but it creeps up on you (like the Grim Sweeper).   It’s great to have so many of you back and great to welcome so many new people. The successful race format will remain unchanged, but with a few tweaks from the feedback we got last year.  The route is slightly different to 2012.  After Windgather Rocks we are in the process of obtaining permission to cross a short section of private land .  You head North across a private field, and then head East to join the footpath that emerges next to Taxal Church.  This is a slightly faster route, easier underfoot, especially at night.  Please remember that permission will only been obtained for the event.  If you want to recce the short section, then please ask permission at the nearby Black Hillgate farm. CP3 is also going to be sheltered, hooray- I hear you say!

The other change for 2013 is the medals.  I’m sure you’ve read all about them on the website; there are a few colours.  Getting your hands on a bronze is tough enough, as finishing a 50 mile night race in a little more than 14 hours is a task in itself.  Getting a silver, black or grey medal will require an increasingly superhuman effort.  Regardless, you will be congratulated if you make CP1 or finish the race.  The entry limit is 120 there will be 120 medals produced.  We want to see you all on the finish line, on your knees if needs be.

We have a few names down with interest to do recces.  It’s likely that Wendy, or another member of the team will lead the recces this year.  You may remember Richard lead most recces last year but has a suspected pelvic stress fracture.  Don’t worry, it only hurts when he walks, runs or sits down (or goes shopping -according to Wendy).   The lesson here is don’t you injure yourselves.  Train smart, and don’t run junk-miles.  We will keep you posted on recce dates soon. Drop us a line if you want adding to the list.

There is still time to register for the daylight version of the race (Dusk til Dawn: Sunlight) in May, and stake your claim for the exclusive Double Finish medal, if you have not done so already. You will get to see the course in the ‘warm’ light of day albeit running in the opposite direction.  We’ve also listened to your feedback on the artwork and final medal designs and they are in production as we speak.  The dyes have been cast!

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Our latest participants

The latest to sign up for July’s The 12 Labours of Hercules Ultramarathon are as follows.

Welcome to our latest pair to sign up last night, Team name  – “2 men 1 mission” – John Goodson and Leigh Gillatt from North Lincs. John runs for Barton and District AC.

Also welcome to Titans pair “The Grumpy Boys” who also signed up this weekend. They are Father (Andy) and Son (Tom). Andy has done several Adventure races and Ultra Marathons, Tom has only run up to a half marathon but has youth on his side and lots of Adve…nture race experience. Tom has the pace, Andy has the the endurance! They say “Bring it on Hercules!”.

Corinna O’Connor was another entrant. Corinna has entered as a solo competitor and is in fact the first lady to sign up solo!  Great news.  We’d like to see more ladies in the event, solo or in teams, so come on what are you waiting for!

Hello to Solo competitor Dave Fawkner.  Dave has completed the Cotswold 100 twice, the Thames Path 100, and swam the 10.5 mile length of Windemere for Macmillan Cancer Support. Dave, that’s a charity close to our hearts. Beyond Marathon donate 100% of profits for Dusk til Dawn to Macmillan every year

A warm welcome to”The Bruising Banditas”, an all girl team of 6 from Yorkshire.  They are women’s roller derby team. Some of them are runners, others are reasonably fit and adventurous and will train for the event. They say  “We love a challenge!”.  We are impressed ladies, and really looking forward to you taking part in July!

Welcome to Karl Claridge qho has entered solo.  A great bio from Karl that speaks for itself! :- Sir Francis Bacon, an ancestor of mine, once wrote “A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he has lost no time” and that has been one of my life mottos. I’ve traveled, lived, studied, acted, loved and ran again and again throughout my life. Over the years I’ve intermittently ran charity …runs, various half marathons, a couple of full marathons an Ultra and now I’m training for the September London to Brighton run “possibly” with the intention of qualifying for the Spartathlon..we’ll see though…No Pressure!!! Seeing this 12 Labours of Hercules though, even just 1 month prior to run I just couldn’t bring myself to ignore the possibility. Life is made for living after all. So slightly misquoting King Leonidas I’ve decided to go for it and ” Go and take it !!”

So a great mixture of solo, pairs and teams have signed up last weekend.  It’s great to see such diversity and appetite for a challenge!





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