History of The 4 Deserts

History of The 4 Deserts

17 March 2020 0 By Carlos Ultrarun

10 years ago it occurred to me to run the 4 most extreme races in the world, in Spain nobody knew anything about these tests and when they were completed, in just over 14 months I became the first Spanish to do so.

Today these races are known and many other trail runners have run them, among which are Chema Martínez, Salvador Calvo, Andrés Lledó or Beatriz García Berché among many others.
The 4 Deserts are a series of 4 foot endurance races in the 4 most extreme environments in the world. All races have a similar format, 250 kilometers in food self-sufficiency in 6 stages.

Competitors are challenged to go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. The races take place in the most inhospitable climates in the world and among formidable landscapes for which the runners must carry all their equipment and food since they are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent to rest every night.
The 4 Deserts have been named by TIME magazine since 2010 as one of the 10 best endurance competitions in the world.

Although the original selected destinations are: Gobi March in China, Atacama Crossing in Chile, Sahara Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica, the security conditions for terrorism or other reasons have varied, leaving these at this time:

The 4 Deserts were born in 2002 from the mind of Mary Gadams, a former American banker based in Hong Kong who decides to create some unique foot competitions in the world, combining three factors, an extreme climate, a very high distance and, hardest of all, the food self-sufficiency.

The first Gobi March was held in September 2003 in the Dunhuang region of China. This inaugural event introduced trail running races in  this Asian country. Less than a year later, in July 2004, the series was expanded in Chile with the Atacama Crossing, and then in September 2005 with the Sahara Race in Egypt.
The last desert in Antarctica was inaugurated in January 2006.

In February 2008, a fifth event, called RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon , was added to the 4 Deserts calendar.
This event is similar in format, although with a difference, it is held every year in a new country.

The first RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon was held in Vietnam , where the competitors ran through the Sapa rice terraces in northwestern Vietnam and where Salvador Calvo won.

RacingThePlanet: Namibia 2009 was run in Namibia, in the Fish River Canyon area and Salva got his way again by coming first and leaving second-time Ryan Sandes second.

Then came races in Australia (2010), Nepal (2011), Jordan (2012), Iceland (2013), Madagascar (2014), Ecuador (2015), Sri Lanka (2016), Patagonia (2017) and New Zealand in 2019.
The next race will be in August at Georgia . (Breaking News: If coronavirus worldwide emergency allow us)

Starting in early 2017, Los 4 Desierto has organized more than 55 walking events in countries around the world over fourteen years, with the attendance of more than 10,000 competitors.

In addition to various national media such as CarrerasdeMontana.com , or the TrailRun Magazine These competitions have garnered worldwide media coverage through digital, print and television media such as BBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, ESPN, Bloomberg, National Geographic, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Outside, Runner’s World, NHK or Trans World Sport.

Humanitarian support
One of the core elements of the Los 4 Desierto series is its philosophy of supporting local medical and educational charities.
Los 4 Desierto has worked closely with Y.L. Yang Education Foundation and Operation Smile in countries around the world raising more than $ 750,000.

Other charities supported by the careers include Royal Flying Doctors in Australia, the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care in Hong Kong, Child Welfare Scheme in Nepal, Ocean Voyages Institute in Antarctica and Fundación Amigos de Jesús in Chile.
The 4 Deserts has also raised money to help people affected by natural disasters that have occurred in the countries where the events take place, including the most important earthquakes in China, Chile, Ecuador and Nepal.

And that as an organization because Los 4 Desierto encourages and encourages competitors to individually support a charity: Millions of dollars have been raised by competitors of Los 4 Desierto through its events.