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, the events were spun off into a separate entity, and a fifth event was added to the calendar called the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon. 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, ​the sixth in 2013 through the lava fields of Iceland​, the seventh in August 2014 through the lush landscape of Madagascar, the eighth in 2015 across the high Andes Mountains of Ecuador, and the ninth in 2016 across the tea plantations and jungle of Sri Lanka. The 10th edition of the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon is scheduled for Patagonia in November 2017.

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 rough-country 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 the Gobi March event. 4 Deserts Race Series competitors have raised millions of US dollars for hundreds of charities around the world.

In 2015, RacingThePlanet sponsored the first female ultramarathon team from Afghanistan in the Gobi March.​

The Company

Headquartered in Hong Kong, RacingThePlanet has a worldwide presence through its representative offices in Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, South Africa and Spain.

RacingThePlanet's business units include its online outdoor product store and a freeze dried food company.

The company employs full time staff in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

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.

The 4 Deserts Race Series entries are capped at around 150 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 Namibia and Antarctica, and a fifth event called the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon that relocates to a new location each year.

Time Magazine 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:

The Store

RacingThePlanet provides the best outdoor equipment, clothing and nutrition through its retail and online stores.

The 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 participants in the 4 Deserts Race Series 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 Hong Kong).

The Timeline

  • RacingThePlanet founded in Hong Kong
  • Planning for the 4 Deserts Race Series begins
  • Inaugural Gobi March in China
  • National Geographic Television features 60 minute documentary
  • The New York Times features Gobi March
  • Fortune magazine features Gobi March
  • Inaugural Atacama Crossing in Chile
  • BBC features prime-time show on English football player competing in the Atacama Crossing
  • Inaugural Sahara Race in Egypt
  • CNN features Gobi March and Sahara Race
  • NBC Jeep World of Adventure Sports features Gobi March
  • 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
  • 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
  • RacingThePlanet launches the annual RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon 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
  • 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
  • New online store is launched with distribution centers in Hong Kong and the UK
  • RacingThePlanet: Namibia is held
  • features RacingThePlanet: Namibia
  • 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 Race 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 Race Series becoming the 4 Deserts Race Series champion for 2010
  • 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 two additional languages: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese
  • RacingThePlanet, The Outdoor Store, becomes one of the largest stores for outdoor gear and clothing in 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
  • 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
  • RacingThePlanet celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 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: Iceland is held with its largest field ever, 280 competitors from nearly 60 countries
  • Record applications are received for all 4 Deserts Race Series events, with a nearly 40% increase in 2013
  • RacingThePlanet provides anchor support to Free to Run which provides outdoor activities for young girls in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan.
  • RacingThePlanet: Madagascar is held.
  • The 4 Deserts Race Series stages its 45th event over the past 12 years in Antarctica with The Last Desert.
  • A record 18 competitors participate in the 4 Deserts Grand Slam.​
  • RacingThePlanet ​sponsors the first female ultramarathon team from Afghanistan in the Gobi March.
  • RacingThePlanet: Ecuador is held.
  • The 50th race of the 4 Deserts is celebrated at the Gobi March in China.
  • The RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon stages its ninth edition across the island of Sri Lanka.
  • The sixth edition of The Last Desert in Antarctica is held with a full field of 61 taking part. 
  • Nineteen competitors complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, and five individuals complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus including the first women in the world, Jax Mariash of the United States and Cynthia Fish of Canada.


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


The 4 Deserts Race Series 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.