The 2008 Atacama Crossing came to a close over the weekend, with 63 very tired racers reaching the finish line. American Dean Karnazes claimed the top spot overall, besting the next closest competitor by over 35 minutes. Rob James of the U.K. claimed second place, while Johan Peterson of New Zealand came in third. Mimi Anderson was the top female finisher, giving the Brits even more to cheer about.
The event capped a six-stage, seven day race through the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth. Most of the days were spent running at least a marathon length course through the desert, with the second to last day clocking in at closer to 45 miles. The racers limped home on the final day however with an “easy” six mile jog. In all, the finishers covered more than 155 miles.
For Karnazes, this is his first ever 4 Deserts event, but it won’t be his last. He, along with South African Paul H. Liebenberg, will attempt to become the first men to complete all four events in one calendar year. Danish runner Jimmi Olson was also hoping to complete that quest, but withdrew from this race due to injury. Next up for Karnazes and Liebenberg is the Gobi Mach starting at the end of June.
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