2009 Sahara Race is Underway!

quick facts
I know this is a few days old, but I’m still trying to catch-up form my down time last week. Last Sunday, this year’s edition of the Sahara Race got underway, with 130 competitors from 30 countries setting out across 250 km (155 miles) of some of the harshest conditions on the planet. The Sahara is the largest non-Polar desert on Earth, and it will test these racers, who will cross through three to four checkpoints each day, as they cover stages varying in length from 10-50 miles.

As of today, the race, we’re through three stages of the six stage event. The overall leader at this point is 40 year old Tobias Frenz of Germany, who is followed by Christian Schiester of Austria, and Paolo Barghini of Italy in second and third respectively. The top female competitor is Erica Terblanche of South Africa, who is currently running in 12th place over all.

Over the next three days, the racers will face several more tough stages, including a grueling 87.6 km (54.4 mile) trek dubbed the Black Desert March, tomorrow. That one will likely run into Friday for a number of the competitors, but thankfully things get better on Saturday, when they’ll finish up with a short run that completes the event by arriving at the finish line in the shadows of the Great Pyramids of Giza. What a way to end a race!

Having been to the Sahara and seen those Pyramids first hand, I can tell you that this has to be an incredible event for these runners. The desert is demanding on many levels, with an oppressive heat that I’ve never felt anywhere else on the planet. And if that wasn’t challenging enough, think about all that sand getting into every part of your body. Yes, I said every part!!

As always, this is a great event, and is just one pillar of the 4 Deserts series. Good luck to all the competitors. Be safe out there!

Kraig Becker

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