Expedition Gobi Update: 20 Days In And Challenges Ahead


No one ever said running across a desert would be easy, but ultrarunner Ray Zahab seems to have a way of making it look that way. In the past, he has run across the Sahara and the Atacama Deserts, as well as skied to the South Pole in record time. Now he’s taking on the Gobi and three weeks in he’s having an amazing experience, although some of the toughest days are still ahead.

When he set out back on June 23, Ray estimated that it would take approximately 35 days to complete the run, covering about 70 km (43.5 miles) per day. He’s done a good job of hitting those distances so far despite some difficult conditions at times, while also finding time to connect with the locals who call the Gobi home. He was suppose to be running alongside fellow-ultrarunner Kevin Lin, but Kevin has been nagged with injuries almost from the start, so Ray has been doing most of the miles by himself, something that probably makes all of his interactions with the Mongolians all the more special.

What is a typical day running the Gobi like for Ray? Check out the video below to get an idea. Don’t let the green, lush looking environment fool you however, as this is still a dry desert that can be very demanding. In the next few days, Ray will move into some very large sand dunes, which will add a new challenge to his efforts. Hitting those 70 km goals on a daily basis could become a much more difficult prospect.

Stay tuned for more updates as Ray continues this journey on foot through the Gobi. He still has a couple of more weeks to go until he’s done, so plenty of running yet to be completed.

Expedition Gobi – No Language Barrier from GOi2P on Vimeo.

Kraig Becker