The 2008 Last Desert Ultra is Over!

The Last Desert Ultramarathon ended yesterday when inclement weather prevented the fifth stage from happening altogether. The Stage 5 Update, posted on the website has all the details, but basically it boils down to this. After bad storms prevented the ship from reaching Deception Island on Monday, the plan was to go to Half Moon Bay and go ashore for the final leg of the race yesterday. Unfortunately, high winds and choppy seas made that impossible as well, so race organizers from Racing The Planet elected to play it safe and call off the last stage completely. The ship is now steaming back across the Drake Passage to Ushuaia.

With the race now officially over, the standings remain unchanged since the last post I made on the event. South African Paul Liebenberg has been declared the winner, with James Elson of the U.K. and Russian Evgeniy Gorkov taking second and third respectively. Dean Karnazes finished in fifth place overall, and was crowned the champion of the 4 Deserts races. Dean and Paul also managed to become the first two people to complete all four of the races in one calendar year, and Dean has now completed his “Desert Grandslam” which adds the Badwater to the mix. American Louise Cooper was the fasted woman of group, holding down the 8th spot overall.

According to the updates, this was certainly a race to test the endurance of these amazing athletes. Apparently along the trail they encountered snow that was twice as deep as expected, and blowing winds were a constant issue while out on the course. The racers were disappointed to not get one more run through the snowy landscape, but are also happy to be headed home after the challenging race.

Congrats to everyone who participated in the Last Desert. Looks like it’s an amazing event.

Kraig Becker

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