The stats, the facts and the top contenders for the Atacama Crossing 2023

As we look forward to the 17th edition of the Atacama Crossing which takes place on 24 September 2023 let’s have a look at the field – the stats, the facts and the top contenders.

  • 37 countries represented
  • The countries most represented are:
    • United States
    • United Kingdom
    • Japan
    • Korea (South)
  • Latvia, Czech Republic, Morrocco, Reunion and Uruguay are also represented among others.


  • Youngest: 23 (Bo Cheng Zhuang) from Taiwan
  • Oldest: 69 (Ivan Schmidt) from Denmark / Germany
  • 29% women / 71% men
  • 56% have completed a RacingThePlanet Event before / 44% are joining for their first time
    • Six 4 Deserts Club members
      • Karen Wei – who has completed more races than any other female
      • Bea Garcia Berche
      • Jisung (Jesse) Yoo
      • Jagdeep Kairon
      • Kevin Lin
      • Bart Van Schilt – who completed the 4 Deserts Grand Slam in 2018
    • Five people will join the 4 Deserts Club when they complete the Atacama Crossing:
      • Doreen Hoffman
      • Eyal Shimoni
      • Ryioji Kida
      • Scott Baldrige
      • Radir Bikmetov
    • Thirteen people are returning to the Atacama Crossing
      • 5 did not finish the first time
      • 7 completed the race before


  • Scotty Hawker 
  • Radmir Bikmetov
  • Davide Vitali
  • David Hauser
  • Bart Van Schilt
  • Hiroki Okada
  • Christopher Kaya


  • Magdalena Paschke
  • Isabelle Du Four
  • Joelle Kabbaj
  • Hannah Walsh

And no doubt some unknown speedsters among the competitors.


Family Occasion

  • Karen Wei and her daughter Ally Lor
  • Matt Marsh with his son Sam
  • Erna Wilmink with her son Bob Muijs – Erna’s husband and Bob’s girlfriend are volunteering
  • David Nicholson is racing again with his wife Dolores. Their first race was to celebrate their wedding anniversary!
  • Michelle Stark with her husband Tim Gudgeon-Osterritter and brother Christopher Stark


  • Bea Garcia is a Type 1 diabetic. She will run with an insulin pump, extra food and everything need to manage her diabetes. This is her 9th RacingThePlanet Ultra – her first one was the Atacama Crossing in 2013.
  • Project Breaking 250 – nine women who have been training and preparing together with Hannah Walsh Coaching. Her next group will go to the Gobi March (Mongolia) 2024
  • There is one official Team. Team Latvija – representing Latvia. They are guaranteed a podium for the team if they finish, but that is no mean feat as a team.
  • Kevin Lin is the 4 Deserts Champion from 2006 after winning the Atacama Crossing 2004 and finishing on the podium at the Gobi March (China) – twice, the Sahara Race (Egypt) and The Last Desert (Antarctica). He is a famous ultramarathoner and sports business personality in Taiwan.

Most RacingThePlanet Races

  • Jisung (Jesse) Yoo – 21st race!
  • Karen Wei – 15th race!
  • Jack Fierstadt – 10th race
  • Bea Garcia – 9th race
  • Magdalena Paschke – 9th race (she met her husband at RacingThePlanet: Ecuador 2015)
  • Jagdeep Kairon – 8th race

It looks like it is going to an exciting and fun race with 115 people on the starting line. You can follow the race as it happens on the Atacama Crossing Live Page and sign up for breaking news to receive updates to your email during each Stage of the race.