Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Running the Race

Did you know that right now there are 158 people from around the world involved in a foot race in the Gobi Desert?  They are participating in the Gobi March (China) 2010, a venue of RacingThePlanet.  According to their website, "RacingThePlanet is a unique category of rough country footraces that take place over seven days and some 250 kilometers in remote and culturally rich locations around the world."

The competitors range in age from 22 to 61, with the average age being 39.  They will be given bottled water, a spot in a tent where they can mingle with others and sleep, and they will receive necessary medical care and administrative oversight.  But they are responsible to carry all their own supplies and food.  The temperatures for this year's race in the Gobi Desert are expected to range from 50 degrees F up to 95-104 degrees F.  Dry rocky river-beds, dusty tracks and sand dunes will make up the terrain of the race.  I suspect that, unlike marathons, there will be no spectators positioned along the race course.

Again, quoting from their website, "RacingThePlanet is international; the events typically involve competitors from over 20 different countries who are able to mingle around the campfires and in their geographically mixed tent.  Currently the events consist of the 4 Deserts, a series which encompasses the Gobi Desert in China, the Atacama Desert of Chile, the Sahara Desert in Egypt and Antarctica, and a fifth event which roves to a new location each year."  In 2010 the "roving" event will take place in Australia; the 2011 race will be in Nepal.

I'm just trying to imagine what this must be like, how if feels to get up at 2:45 in the morning so they can get most of the event finished before the desert heat becomes unbearable; the brutal battering the body receives; the emotional and mental strain; exploring a microcosm of the world as you are living with people from many cultures (now that part sounds good to me).  What would drive a person to even consider entering? How could anyone ever prepare adequately for such an undertaking? Amazing, just amazing -- and a little bit crazy!

The entry fee if US$3100, and the winners receive only a trophy.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever...Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  (I Corinthians 9:24-25; Hebrews 12:1b)

(Interested in reading blogs by competitors?  Check them out here.  Or check out their Facebook links.)

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