The 4 Deserts constructs and manages campsites in multiple locations along each event course. The campsites, all teeming with activity, are used as a kind of "home base" during race week and allow competitors to eat, drink, sleep, recouperate and socialize between stages. Campsites include specially designed competitor tents that fit between 8-10 persons. The tents are generally named on local geographic landmarks, cultural highlights or items of importance in the area. The campsite also includes a campfire, tables, stools, generators, lighting, medical tent, Cybertent and tents for local and international volunteers and staff. Each campsite must contain one flag for every country represented in the race - this is typically more than 40 country flags. The campsites must be taken down, moved to new locations and set up again every day. Camp set-up must be completed before the top competitors reach the finish line each day (normally within four hours). On average, there are between 35 and 40 tents at each campsite and between 14,000 - 20,000 liters of water used during the event.
On average, the 4 Deserts sets checkpoints every 10 kilometers along the course. Each checkpoint is staffed by a checkpoint manager, medical doctor and 1-3 volunteers. These checkpoints monitor sections of the course, record competitor times and ensure that competitors are able to continue the event. The checkpoints also distribute water to competitors as they pass and provide shade and attention, if needed.
The 4 Deserts uses the latest satellite technology, including Iridium and Inmarsat BGANs, enabling team members access to broadband Internet coverage in most event locations. Additionally, as technology evolves, more locations have cell phone towers. The 4 Deserts uses these for many of its communication systems, which include mobile phones, Blackberries, satellites and radios with repeaters. There are few locations where one system works 100% of the time. The latest GPS technology is used to set and maintain the course, including the locations of camps and checkpoints.
The 4 Deserts maintains a team of full-time staff that are responsible for organizing and assisting the management and execution of up to five events each year. These staff are from Finland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong. Each member of the management team has personal experience hiking and taking part in marathons, ultramarathons and/or endurance sports. The 4 Deserts staff have taken part in more than 100 endurance events.
Local Organizer and Staff
In most locations, The 4 Deserts works with a local organizer to assist in the recruitment and management of local staff, including drivers, campsite personnel, medics and course specialists. At most events, the 4 Deserts employs between 40-80 local staff over a seven-day period to assist with race logistics.
The 4 Deserts employs a Chief Medical Director in the United States and Medical Director for each event. In addition, the 4 Deserts has a renowned Medical Committee that assists with recruitment and management of the highest quality medical doctors in the world. On average, the 4 Deserts has one medical doctor for every 25 competitors. The doctors specialize in wilderness medicine and are placed at checkpoints, along the course and at the campsites to support competitors. To further understand the evolution of endurance sports, the 4 Deserts medical team conducts specialist research at events that are mostly funded by the 4 Deserts. Results obtained by this medical research are published in leading medical journals.
The 4 Deserts works year round on preparing items for shipment to its race locations. On average, more than 400 kilograms are shipped to each location. This is in addition to the already extensive supply list it maintains in each country.
On average, the 4 Deserts leases 15-20 4x4 vehicles and a fleet of trucks to assist with checkpoints, roving the course, and transport of tents, chairs, water and all race equipment from campsite to campsite. Locals with special knowledge of the area are hired to assist in the process. Vehicles are numbered and assigned specific duties to ensure the smooth running of the event.
Website and Media
The 4 Deserts' extensive website is updated on a daily basis from Hong Kong as well as from the race location during every event. Additionally, the 4 Deserts employs videographers, photographers and writers to provide live content from the field each day. The website contains features, daily stage updates, results, videos, photographs, breaking news and blogs. The 4 Deserts Facebook and Twitter accounts also feature race updates.