Atacama Crossing Blogs 2022

View All Posts 2022 From : Betsy Rogers

Betsy Rogers
POST #2 - 158 days Left

29 April 2022 02:42 pm (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi

The email from RTP is jarring.  How long is 158 days?  How many runs?  How many breaths?  how many steps, how many planning days and races and runs in between birthdays and graduations and starts of the first day of college, of high school, of middle school? It’s too much to calculate.

So I just run. 

“Rent” streams through my conscious.  “Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes…  How do you measure, measure a year…”

“Are you really going to Chile? I know you can mentally run through the miles.  Do you really want to do this?”  “Why don’t you start with a shorter race, and more local?”

I just started to telling friends of this “crazy” race I am running in September.  I don’t really want to share this trip because I don’t want the attention or the weight of “what if I don’t run it now”.  However, the more I share, the more people care and a waterfall of support and encouragement abounds.  And really, it’s not about the goal, but the journey and we can only participate in the today.  The tomorrow will come.

I get energy from those I tell and they understand, they’ve walked similar paths and have a glimpse of the toil and sweat this preparation entails.  “How many miles are you running a week?”  “Where are you running?”  “What is your training schedule?”  These questions ground me and provide oxygen because the conversations are relevant to my training and success.  They are my mentors.

I surround myself with structure and support.  I have my routines. I have a week of so-so runs and then I have a great week with great times and no aches.  Then the hamstring strain and some blues to ground me that the journey is one step at a time and the power is to simply power through each day. 

I meet with friend Mike in Tokyo - whois en route to run Namibia.  I grill him with questions and takes notes on gear, food and preparation.  I look forward to his download after his race.  I look forward to following Namibia in a few days time.  The race is getting real. I purchase my ticket to Santiago.  Set the structure and treat this adventure as any other big goal. I run wherever I am whenever I can, mostly.

I am running, playing tennis and squash and hiking with my Tuesday Tt Trekkers.  Despite running and hiking 40kms+ weekly, surprisingly, my weight stays exactly the same; and I am keen to shed 8 kilos as I have to carry that in a pack.  The wine has got to go.  Waaaah.  Gotta love the low metabolism in your 50’s.  I wonder if that means I can live on 100 calories a day during this race and that will suffice?! Ha.

I sign up for the 50km trail race in Aspen in July when I am visiting my parents.  I research other races to dot my summer calendar as I visit family & friends and drop kids off at camps and do my research and consulting projects.

This adventure is all consuming. I love it.

Comments: Total (1) comments

Sandy Kondo

Posted On: 25 May 2022 02:30 am

Hi Betsy, your life and training sound veeeery exciting ! I think Mike had a chance to talk to you about his experience in Namibia. I was volunteering for Namib Race, and it was very nice to see him enjoying day by day. I am also in 50's (and very last of 50's), so no worries ! I am sure you enjoy every moment. It's going to be hot hot hot in Atacama, but as we live in Tokyo, it is DRY hot. I feel Tokyo summer is sometimes much harder because of humidity. It's hot in Atacama, but dry. So it's not bad. Just remember you take enough sun screen especially for your lips !
Betsy Rogers
POST #1 - Just put one foot forward.

28 March 2022 08:53 pm (GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi


That is how it starts for any journey.

Twenty years ago I ran the MS2S Ultramarathon in Mongolia.  I ran it a second time a year later with my adventurous mom, who at age 58, ran her first and last marathon.  Her goal and promise that year was simply to visit all her children in the place of residence.  I happened to be working in Beijing with the plan to run the 100km again with some friends for now I really knew what to expect and hoped to challenge my 17:59:59 PB for 100km. 

That brisk morning in a July, we woke at 4AM and took off with a slimmer of sunrise.  As the 60+ runners took off at a gallop I realized there was no way I would leave my mom’s side.  I dropped back so that together we climbed two mountains and finished arm in arm at the camp after 42kms to the cheers and hugs of all the locals.  (Oh, and she happened to have Lyme’s disease that she had unbeknownst had picked up 3 weeks earlier!)

I am going off-piste.  So one of the participants at that race was THE Mary Gadams who had flown in from South Korea to understand what the organization of an ultramarathon looked like, thinking that this was the road she wanted to take to pursue her love for adventure and running.   Since then I have followed RTP races and planned multiple times in which one I would partake. However, over the years, each time I planned to run one of her adventures, a child would pop into this world, and then another, and then another and another and ideas of RTP races just went “poof” off into the horizon.

Love for the great outdoors and pushing ones limits to explore and enjoy with the minimum of accoutrements persists and three years ago I started to get the itch again and I registered for Namibia, RTP.  I thought it would be a good goal to get in shape as I was very VERY badly out of distinguishable shape and settled in a shape and size I had not experienced nor recognized before.  Welcome yee oh menopause.  As CoVid would have it, the race did not happen-which was perfect as it gave me the space to focus and drop 45 pounds in the past 18 months.  I started running again.  I started playing tennis again.  I added squash and walking with a heavy backpack.

In February I put down my deposit for Atacama and downloaded the training schedule.

Our kids are now 19,17, 15 and 12 and my husband, Ed, is all for this adventure.

This is the start of my adventure to run the Atacama.  I hope I will.  I know life throws curveballs invariably and if the stars align, I will line up at the start.  I am excited about the journey as I am about running for 7 days through God’s country.

Comments: Total (2) comments

Mary Gadams

Posted On: 28 Mar 2022 06:18 pm

Hey Betsy, wow, soooo awesome to hear from you. I thought I recognized your name when you first registered for the Namib Race. How great that you are in Japan -- one of my favorite countries and the last country I visited before the pandemic hit. The race in Mongolia was so lovely but I concluded at the time that the infrastructure wasn't quite ready for a stage race so I went to the Gobi Desert of China instead but my heart was still in Mongolia. We have since moved the Gobi March to Mongolia. We have worked with quite a few people I met in at the Sunrise to Sunset race in Mongolia and I believe Fred Chang was there the same year. Fred will be running the Atacama Crossing this year, do you remember him? Don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions at all. Congratulations for raising four kids! Warm wishes, Mary

Sam Fanshawe

Posted On: 28 Mar 2022 01:18 pm

Hi Betsy, I was so happy to see that you were able to log in and add this blog post - and OMG how amazing that you met Mary 19 years ago in Mongolia! I can't wait to meet you in San Pedro and share this next adventure which is about more than running/walking 250km across the Atacama Desert.