RacingthePlanet Gobi March 

June 23, 2024
Karakorum, Mongolia
June 29, 2024

The Gobi March course is located in the Karakorum region in Central Mongolia. The course takes you through vast green grasslands, stupas and temples, sand dunes, great rock valleys and old forests, while competitors will at times sleep in traditional Mongolian yurts. The Long March will take you through wide Mongolian steppes as you make your way towards the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape and further to the ancient city of Karakorum, the former capital of Genghis Khan’s empire. You can also experience the colorful culture of the Naadam Festival, held during the time of the race.

The total distance of the Gobi March (Mongolia) is 250 kilometers / 155 miles over six stages. The distances of each stage are listed in the box below. Note that all distances are approximate – the exact distances will be provided in the course book that competitors receive at Competitor Check-In in Ulaanbaatar.

Stages Estimated Distances
Stage 1 41 km / 25 miles
Stage 2 44 km / 27 miles
Stage 3 40 km / 25 miles
Stage 4 69 km / 43 miles
Stage 5 43 km / 27 miles
Stage 6 13 km / 8 miles
*NOTE: all distances are subject to change.

The Gobi March (Mongolia) course has a total of 4,450 meters / 14,600 feet of elevation gain and 3,825 meters / 12,550 feet of elevation loss. The lowest point of the course is at 1,015 meters / 3,330 feet and the highest point is just under 1,765 meters / 5,791 feet.

Lowest Point 1,015 meters / 3,330 feet
Highest Point 1,765 meters / 5,791 feet

The 250-kilometer / 155 mile course will take competitors through beautiful landscapes, rough terrain and unique culture off the beaten track. The course is primarily on tracks, trails and off-road. Terrain will consist of a combination of grassland, fields, soft sand and dunes, rocky terrain, river beds, gravel tracks, river crossings, climbs and descents. The course does not include technical climbing.

During each stage checkpoints are located approximately every 10 kilometers (6 miles) along the course.

At each checkpoint competitors must:
Be logged on arrival by event staff
Take a minimum allocation of drinking water for the next section of the course
Abide by any instructions given by the event staff due to changing course conditions (e.g. thunderstorms, sandstorms, fog, terrain changes, etc.)

At each checkpoint competitors can:
Rest for a short period of time
Take advantage of the shade that the checkpoint tent provides
Seek advice and treatment, if appropriate, from the medical doctor at the checkpoint

Please note that adverse weather conditions and other factors can result in changes being made to the course.

The much-anticipated long stage in all of the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series events is known as The Long March. Generally, this stage is between 60 and 100 kilometers (37 to 62 miles) long, roughly double the length of the previous four stages.

The stage follows much the same format as the previous ones: checkpoints are located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) apart; however, many competitors will take the opportunity (the only one in the week) to have a few hours of sleep at a designated Overnight Checkpoint.

At the Overnight Checkpoint, there will usually be a tent in which competitors can sleep as well as a campfire or stove where hot water is available for drinks and meals.

A cut-off time is the time by which you must have left a Checkpoint.

There are cut-off times for every checkpoint on the course – these are announced in the morning briefing before the start of each Stage. The cut-off times are designed to help you finish, not to stop you from finishing the race.

While the leaders are extremely fast (finishing 40 kilometers / 26 miles in 3-4 hours) the cut-off times for the back of the field are based on a 4 km per hour / 2.5 miles per hour walking speed. This means completing a 40 kilometer / 26 mile stage in 10 hours.

Cut-off times for The Long March are based on a similar speed but with additional time allowed for a rest at the Overnight Checkpoint.

Image by jacqueline macou

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