Racing the Planet Race Series
In the mid-90s, founder Mary Gadams saw a need for a global event series that captured the best aspects of all the events in which she had competed. Her vision was to create a series of events that would encourage people to push themselves beyond what they ever dreamt possible.
The events would also be used to develop and test the world’s best products, in turn providing funding for the event series.
She started Racing the Planet in 2002 for runners who love to challenge themselves in multiday races while exploring the most stunning landscapes and ancient cultures on the planet.
4 Deserts Race Series
In 2002, she created RacingThePlanet and the 4 Deserts Race Series – a world-class footrace series taking place in the most challenging, pristine and culturally-rich locations in the world. The four annual events would take place across the world’s most varied terrain and would be located in the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts on Earth. The races were named the Atacama Crossing (Chile), Gobi March (China/Mongolia), Sahara Race (Egypt/Jordan/Namibia) and The Last Desert (Antarctica).
To date, more than 7000 persons from over 100 countries have taken part in these seven-day, 250 kilometer footraces.
The series has since been named by Time magazine as one of the world’s Top Ten Endurance Events, alongside such races as the Tour de France, Dakar Rally and Vendee Globe. The 4 Deserts Race Series was a question on Jeopardy, a popular American television show, and was featured on an award-winning documentary called “Desert Runners.”
In addition, there is a fifth event that moves to a new location each year with past events held in Vietnam, Namibia, Australia, Nepal, Jordan, New Zealand and Iceland with future events planned for Madagascar and Ecuador.
RacingThePlanet supports charities and initiatives in the areas where races are held while caring for the trails and planet.
It’s their mission to document and contribute to improving the lives of ethnic minorities and tribes in the areas we explore, and to encourage and support competitors to raise funds for their charities.
They sponsored the first female ultramarathon team from Afghanistan in the Gobi March!
RacingThePlanet Holding Company Limited is based in the Cayman Islands and is the holding company for eight separate companies including an events company and a property company.
In 2009, RacingThePlanet established an online store in Hong Kong to sell the world’s most renowned outdoor brands. The online store currently features more than 250 brands with warehouses in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
The online store carries about 25,000 different products, is maintained in seven different languages and ships to more than 100 countries around the world. RacingThePlanet’s online store is currently Asia’s largest and was selected from more than 1000 digital companies in Hong Kong for an award by Google/the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce for its innovative global digital ecommerce platform.
In 2010, RacingThePlanet acquired Expedition Foods, one of the world’s leading freeze-dried food companies which supplies energy efficient food to the world’s leading polar explorers, mountaineers, sailors, rowers and endurance athletes.
RacingThePlanet was featured in a Harvard Business School case study in 2007.
RacingThePlanet has raised/donated more than US$750,000 to various charities as part of its events, with competitors raising millions more for charities.
RacingThePlanet primarily supports education and healthcare initiatives in the areas where its races are held.
Most recently, RacingThePlanet established the Esquel / RacingThePlanet Scholarship to provide 10 scholarships for minority women in Xinjiang Province to attend high school and university.
In 2003 in China, the 4 Deserts Race Series was born, a world-class sporting event in the most challenging, pristine and culturally-rich locations in the world. The four annual events would be located in the driest, hottest, coldest and windiest place on Earth across the world’s most varied terrain.
The 4 Deserts Race Series are yearly held races in the deserts of Mongolia, Namibia, Chile and Antarctica.
And the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathons are races that change location every year. In 2020 it will be held in Georgia.
4 Deserts Grand Slam
The 4 Deserts Grand Slam began in 2008 when the famed “Ultramarathon Man” Dean Karnazes of the United States, set out to complete all 4 Deserts in one calendar year (Gobi March in China, Sahara Race in Egypt, Atacama Crossing in Chile and The Last Desert in Antarctica).
The 4 Deserts (which now includes the Namib Race in Namibia, the Gobi March in Mongolia, the Atacama Crossing in Chile and The Last Desert in Antarctica) are six-stage, 250 kilometer (155 mile) self-supported footraces across the most forbidding deserts in the world. Dean successfully completed the 4 Deserts in 2008. Since that time, 78 runners from around the world have completed the 4 Deserts Grand Slam and joined the 4 Deserts Club.
4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus
To complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus, you must successfully complete these four races and the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon, all within one calendar year. The location of the Ultramarathon changes every year.
This is one of the most difficult endurance challenges in the world.
To date, only eight runners have completed the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus.