Atacama Crossing Blogs 2023

Scotty Hawker



Atacama Crossing (2023) blog posts from Scotty Hawker

25 July 2023 02:30 pm (GMT+12:00) Auckland, Wellington

There’s often two ways to look at challenges and adversity we face in life. We can turn away and accept defeat or we can stare it right in the eye and make the best out of any situation we face.


Since arriving to Europe from New Zealand in early July, Europe has been amidst a heatwave and in particular Spain has been bearing the brunt of it. Temperatures here in Girona have reached 42deg with crazy humidity. You know when the forecast shows 32deg for the following day and you’re telling your family back home how awesome it’s going to be to run in “cooler weather”.


Atacama is going to for sure have some heat I’m told. After an initial “holy crap this is literally the opposite to the weather I was training in whilst still in NZ” I re-shifted my focus and thought how blessed I was to be getting some genuine heat training/ exposure in and seeing how my body responds in the heat.


Another element I’ve been exposed to since arriving in Europe has been altitude. Fortunately for me Atacama has both heat and altitude, so while I can’t say every run has been a box of fluffies and unicorns, there’s been a real focus to my training runs and I’ve been thinking about how what I’m doing now is going to translate to performing better and completing the Atacama Crossing in September.


My last 2 weeks training I’ve run 145km, 130km and over 6000m+ vertical gain for each week. I feel like the legs are starting to get some real conditioning that I hope will serve me well at Atacama. For me Atacama is the first race in many many years that kinda scares me… there will be so many firsts and I can’t wait for the adventure to begin!!

Comments: Total (1) comments

Tanja Volm

Posted On: 20 Aug 2023 10:54 am

Dear Scotty, yes, Europe was a little bit wild this year. Arctic days and heat waves - both in August. Good training conditions and a lot of fun, either. I guess you don't have to be scared at all. 140 k a week with 6000 verticals - that is quite a lot and for sure much more than necessary for a good race. Maybe the height will play a bigger role? Even in Switzerland, the living areas are much below 2000 height meters (most live at 500), so 3000 and above is a big challenge. Have some more nice training weeks and see you in St. Pedro!

26 April 2023 07:00 pm (GMT+12:00) Auckland, Wellington

On the 24th of April 2012 I sent this email to my now good friend and at the time race director of the Kep Ultra in Western Australia.


“Hi there Rob,


I have been told from a good mate of mine Adam  that there may be a few places available for the KEP Ultra this year due to people not being able to race. Are there any spots at all available? I wasn't able to enter earlier on as I had surgery in January and was unsure how I was going to recover. Since surgery things have gone really well and I just got back on Sunday from running over 230km along the Munda Biddi from Jarrahdale to Collie. The body is feeling great so I am really keen to race if at all possible as I had heaps of fun running last year! 


Hope your training is going well





Keep Ultra

Photo from the 2012 Kep Ultra.


During this 230km journey I experienced so much. The solitude and silence of empty trails, carrying unnecessary kilograms in an already heavy pack and feet/ toes that have not seen worse days in the 11 years since. But on the positive side the feeling of being self sufficient, planning and setting out on an unknown outcome and challenging myself like I’d never done before was exhilarating and something I still think about a lot in reflection.


Fast forward 11 years and I’m so excited that I’m getting the opportunity to run in the Atacama Desert Race by Racing the Planet. Naturally after finishing my 230km run on the Munda Biddi I went to Google to see what races were out there and Atacama came up top of the list and I also remembered seeing some footage of the 2010 race with my bro Ryan Sandes crushing the 4 Deserts Grand Slam and winning overall. 


The whole concept of stage racing is something that’s always excited me, and I have no doubt Atacama will provide a crazy and wild adventure with like-minded others in an absolutely epic part of the world. I’ve already had conversations with my Uncle and a few friends who have done stage races and the planning has already begun!


I’m excited to share this journey with you!



Comments: Total (2) comments

Jihee Nam

Posted On: 27 Apr 2023 06:11 am

This is amazing to see. Can’t wait to cheer you on! Only sad I won’t be there 😭

Sam Fanshawe

Posted On: 26 Apr 2023 01:18 pm

Exciting Scotty! Great to read the back story. Looking forward to meeting you in San Pedro.