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About RacingThePlanet

The History

RacingThePlanet was founded  in February 2002. The first race under its banner was the Gobi March held in September 2003 near Dunhuang, China – and introduced trail running races to China. The next race to be added to the series was the Atacama Crossing in Chile which took place in July 2004 followed by the first Sahara Race in Egypt in September 2005, while The Last Desert in Antarctica was inaugurated in January 2006.

These races combine to create the annual 4 Deserts Race Series, which is now widely recognized as the most prestigious outdoor series in the world.

In February 2008, a fifth event was added to the RacingThePlanet calendar called the "Roving Race." This race, of similar format, moves to a different location each year, with the first event having been held among the rice terraces of Sapa in northwest Vietnam, the second in 2009 in the Fish River Canyon and Skeleton Coast of Namibia, the third in 2010 in the Outback of Australia, the fourth in 2011 in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal, the fifth in 2012 from Wadi Rum to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, and the most recent in 2013 through the lava fields of Iceland. The next Roving Race is scheduled for Madagascar in 2014.

The Mission

  • To challenge individuals to go beyond their athletic frontiers through two world class sporting events: the 4 Deserts Race Series and the 'Roving' Race, while exploring the most remote landscapes and ancient cultures on the planet.
  • To provide the knowledge, innovative products and services to enable all aspiring individuals to succeed in RacingThePlanet events and to inspire them with a life enhancing experience.
  • To document and contribute to improving the lives of ethnic minorities and tribes in the areas we explore, and to encourage and support competitors to raise funds for their charities.

The Charities

RacingThePlanet supports charities and initiatives in the areas where its races are held. To date, RacingThePlanet has raised more than US$750,000 to support Operation Smile missions in Vietnam, Egypt and China. In addition, RacingThePlanet has donated books, computers and sports equipment to local schools in Xinjiang Province, China and Windhoek, Namibia, and money totalling US$45,000 to support earthquake victims in Sichuan, China through its Gobi March event. RacingThePlanet competitors have raised millions of US dollars for hundreds of charities around the world.

The Company

Headquartered in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, RacingThePlanet has a worldwide presence through its 14 representative offices in Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan.

Aside from the core activity of organizing highly regarded endurance footraces, RacingThePlanet's business units include its online outdoor product store and freeze dried food company.

The company employs 45 full time staff in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, 160 contractors worldwide and over 100 volunteers annually at its events.

The Events

RacingThePlanet is a unique category of rough country footraces that take place over seven days and some 250 kilometers in remote and culturally rich locations around the world.

Competitors must carry all their own equipment and food; they are only provided with water and a place in a tent each day, but are supported by professional medical and operations teams.

RacingThePlanet is international; the events typically involve competitors from over 40 different countries who are able to mingle around the campfires and in their geographically mixed tents.

RacingThePlanet and 4 Deserts Race Series entries are capped at between 150 and 300 competitors to ensure that the races retain their unique character, and to minimize the impact of our presence. The locations we visit are remote, pristine and sparsely populated. Solitude is a highly regarded aspect of our events.

Currently the events consist of the 4 Deserts Race Series, a series which encompasses the Gobi Desert in China, the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Sahara Desert in Egypt and Antarctica, and a fifth event called the Roving Race that relocates to a new location each year.

Time Magazine recently ranked the 4 Deserts #2 on its list of the world's top endurance competitions.

For more information about our races please visit our website: www.4deserts.com.

The Store

RacingThePlanet provides the best outdoor equipment, clothing and nutrition through its rapidly growing online store.

The RacingThePlanet and 4 Deserts Race Series provide the ultimate testing ground for endurance racing, outdoor, and rugged technology products.

The expertise and knowledge gathered by RacingThePlanet and our participants enables us to credibly identify the most reliable, useful, innovative and lightweight outdoor products available and ship them worldwide.

With selections made and guidance given by considering activity, terrain and climate, RacingThePlanet's international online store is the top resource for endurance racers and outdoor enthusiasts in the world (products are shipped from warehouses in both Hong Kong and the UK).

To visit our international store click here, and to visit our European store, click here.

The Timeline

2002
  • RacingThePlanet founded in Hong Kong
  • Planning for the 4 Deserts Race Series begins
2003
  • Inaugural Gobi March in China
  • National Geographic Television features 60 minute documentary
  • The New York Times features Gobi March
  • Fortune magazine features Gobi March
2004
  • Inaugural Atacama Crossing in Chile
  • BBC features prime-time show on English football player competing in the Atacama Crossing
2005
  • Inaugural Sahara Race in Egypt
  • CNN features Gobi March and Sahara Race
  • NBC Jeep World of Adventure Sports features Gobi March
2006
  • Inaugural The Last Desert in Antarctica
  • The entire 4 Deserts Race Series is held for the first time
  • RacingThePlanet online store is launched in Hong Kong
  • NBC Jeep World of Adventure Sports features the Sahara Race
  • Taiwanese Kevin Lin wins the overall 4 Deserts Championship
2007
  • Harvard Business School case study on RacingThePlanet
  • Italian Francesco Galanzino wins the overall 4 Deserts championship
  • NBC Jeep World of Adventure Sports features The Last Desert
2008
  • RacingThePlanet launches the annual Roving Race with the inaugural location in Vietnam
  • NBC Jeep World of Adventure Sports features RacingThePlanet: Vietnam
  • The Washington Post features the Atacama Crossing
  • The Times of London features Dean Kanarzes
  • CNN.com features the Gobi March
  • Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes competes in the 4 Deserts Race Series and wins the overall championship
  • Time Magazine ranks the 4 Deserts #2 on its list of the world's top endurance events
2009
  • New online store is launched with distribution centers in Hong Kong and the UK
  • RacingThePlanet: Namibia is held
  • CNN.com features RacingThePlanet: Namibia
2010
  • RacingThePlanet acquires Expedition Foods, a UK manufacturer of premium freeze dried food used by the world's leading explorers, mountaineers, sailors and endurance athletes
  • RacingThePlanet: Australia is held
  • Time Magazine again names the 4 Deserts series to its list of the world's top ten endurance races, ranking as the top footrace in the world
  • South African Ryan Sandes becomes the first in the world to win all 4 Deserts becoming the 4 Deserts Series champion for 2010
2011
  • RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2011 is held; a record number of applications are received with nearly three applicants for each place. Two-hundred and twenty (220) are selected to participate
  • RacingThePlanet launches its online store in five additional languages: Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Italian and French
  • RacingThePlanet, The Outdoor Store, becomes the largest store for outdoor gear and clothing in Asia, and one of the largest in Europe
  • RacingThePlanet, The Outdoor Store, doubles its online sales in both Europe and Asia
  • Expedition Foods, a subsidiary of RacingThePlanet (UK) Limited, introduces a regular serving line of its famous freeze dried food appealing to campers, hikers and emergency services around the world
2012
  • RacingThePlanet celebrates 10 years in February 2012
  • RacingThePlanet: Jordan 2012 is held; a record 70 percent of the field has competed in a past RacingThePlanet event. The Roving Race finishes in front of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra, Jordan
  • RacingThePlanet stages its 35th event in 2012
  • RacingThePlanet expands its operations in the UK and Hong Kong doubling its warehouse capacity in both locations
  • NHK, Japan’s leading television channel, films a two-part, four hour documentary at the Sahara Race in Egypt. A record 30 media are present at the Sahara Race to film for five separate television programs
  • Expedition Foods, a world leader in freeze dried food, introduces three new recipes expanding its Asian and breakfast dishes
2013
  • RacingThePlanet celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Gobi March, part of the annual 4 Deserts Race Series
  • RacingThePlanet announces a joint seven-year scholarship program in conjunction with the Y.L. Yang Education Foundation to support scholarships for women of the Gobi Desert
  • RacingThePlanet stages its 40th event in Iceland with its largest field ever, 280 competitors from nearly 60 countries
  • Record applications are received for all RacingThePlanet events, with a nearly 40% increase in 2013

 

Job Openings

There are a number of job opportunities available. If you have experience in event management, internet retailing or IT, please send a CV and cover letter to jobs@racingtheplanet.com.

Volunteers

RacingThePlanet accepts more than 100 volunteers annually to support its footraces around the world. If you'd like to apply for one of the highly coveted volunteer positions, please click here to learn more, and click here to complete an online application.