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 Ultramarathon Series which is now widely recognised as the most prestigious outdoor series in the world.

In February 2008 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 took place in mountains of Patagonia in November 2017 and the 11th edition is scheduled for 3 March 2019 on the South Island of New Zealand. 

The Mission

  • To challenge individuals to go beyond their athletic frontiers through two world class sporting events: the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon and the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series, while exploring the most remote landscapes and ancient cultures on the planet.
  • To document and contribute to improving the lives of ethnic minorities, tribes and wildlife 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. In 2010, RacingThePlanet teamed with The Esquel Group to create the RacingThePlanet/Esquel Scholarship Fund to provide education grants for ethnic minorities in and around the Gobi Desert of China. RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon and the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon 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 and subsquent teams in Sri Lanka and Mongolia.

The Company

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

The Races

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 Ultramarathon Series entries are are limited 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 Ultramarathon Series, a series which encompasses the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Namib Desert in Namibia and Antarctica, and a fifth event called the RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon that relocates to a new location each year.

Time Magazine twice 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 races provide the ultimate testing ground for endurance racing, outdoor, and rugged technology products.

The expertise and knowledge gathered by RacingThePlanet 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).


RacingThePlanet 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.