7 days, 250km: the Sahara Race

A 250km race would be enough of a challenge!

But move it to the Sahara desert in Egypt and it becomes a different question altogether.

What is more, there are not many people, out of the thousands who have run marathons in London, Paris, Milan or elsewhere, who can claim to have passed a camel during their race.

Not content with just one type of terrain, those taking part in a contest as grueling as the Sahara Race can expect a land of contrasts: think mountains of rocks that give way to gold, red and white sand dunes, sometimes scaling more than four hundred feet high. A run past an open air museum of fossils more than forty million years old adds to the intrigue of this race even further.

So Where is It?

Around 60 miles south-west of Cairo, the precise setting for this year’s race, which falls under the name of the 4 Deserts series, is the Valley of the Whales, part of the Wadi El-Rayan Protected Area in Egypt’s Western Desert region and lying between two lakes created in the 1970s to house the region’s excess water. The area is an open air museum dedicated to the unique biographical, geographical and cultural resources it houses, and is home to whale skeletons dating back over 40 million years.

Have you got What it Takes?

The race itself, which takes place across 7 days and 6 stages, is entirely self supported in that participants must carry all their own gear in a rucksack. Yes, everything they need – food and clothing included. All that is provided to them by the organisers of the race is drinking water and more water for cooking food, plus tents to sleep in at night and medical and other support should they need it. Other than that, if you choose to take part in this hardcore race then you are on your own.

The Extreme Conditions!

The 4 Deserts series of races has been set to pass through some of the most beautiful, pristine and untouched land on earth. The 4 deserts selected, which are chosen from the 4 categories of subtropical, cool coastal, cold winter and polar deserts, are the largest in their respective category, also representing the driest, hottest, coldest and windiest places on earth.

Pace yourselves!

Along with the race in the Sahara, the other events in the series take in the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China and The Last Desert race in Antarctica. Participants can take on any of the challenges at any time and there is no obligation to complete the rest of the series; however, those wishing to participate in the Antarctic race must have completed at least two of the others – so the Saharan race is a good place to start!