Seven marathons in six days is tough enough. Now add a desert into the mix.
Matthew Pryke, trustee for the Fine & Country Foundation put his physical and mental abilities to the limit as he took on the Gobi March. Over 80 competitors ran, jogged and walked their way through the vast a varied terrain of the Gobi Desert in China. The footrace began on Sunday 18th June and continued until Saturday 24th June with each daily Stage differing in environment and weather. Matthew had a brief window each evening to give us updates.
Stage 1 began with sand dunes and blistering temperatures. They climbed the Barkhol Sand Dune and then ran through soft sand throughout the day. Matthew completed the 17 mile (27km) course in just 4 hours and 19 minutes.
Stage 2 involved the highest ascents of the challenge with over 1,200 metres (3,937ft), higher than Mount Snowdon. The 21 miles (34km) day was accompanied by cool temperatures, allowing Matthew to breeze past the finish line at 13th place.
The endurance of the Gobi March began to take its toll in Stage 3 with another hilly day of 25 miles (40km). Matthew was grateful for the refreshing winds throughout his 900m (2,953ft) ascent.
Stage 4 was really positive for Matthew who finished the 27 miles (44km) day in 19th place, bringing his overall ranking to 14th position.
Luckily for Matthew and the other competitors, they were given a rest and recuperation day. They ate plenty of food, did yoga, had naps and enjoyed their idyllic surroundings. This rest day was exactly what was needed because Stage 5 the following day was the ‘Long March’…
Stage 5, the ‘Long March’ was 51 miles (82km) through the Black Gobi. Temperatures reached 47 degrees and the competitors were forced to take a three hour break to get out of the sun. Matthew completed this mammoth day in just 13 hours and 41 minutes. The final competitors made it to camp 29 hours after setting off.
The final day involved a victory lap of 3 miles (5km) to celebrate their incredible achievement. It was an emotional end for competitors, organisers, the medical team and all those who accompanied the mission.
Matthew has raised an amazing &3,360 and counting. To support Matthew and our fight to reduce homelessness click here