Yesterday I completed a 240km foot race in the Gobi desert, Mongolia organised by @racingtheplanet. I received a medal.

Seen here is Carlos, the course director who plotted a great trail for us to run on.

#250km #GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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Aiding me all through were my best friends - the elements led by अग्निः वैश्वानर:, lord of the divine will - देवता: इन्द्रः, सूर्यः, अश्विनो, वायुः, मरुतः एवं देवी पृथ्वी:।

Full love to wife @saffrontrail and our son for their unstinting support!
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I arrived in Ulaanbataar 2 days ahead to acclimatise, packed my gear, met old friends and drank a beer or two (or three) with them.
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Pre race carb loading is good, they said. I didn't argue.

Ate some food and washed it down with Chinggis Dark. Lots of Chinggis Dark. 🤣

#Ulaanbataar #GobiMarch
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We arrived at the campsite last Saturday. I met my tent mate, Colonel Mandeep Mann, former CO of the 21 Para. Felt good to hold the tricolour!
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I ate my usual tried and tested dinner at these races - Maggi noodles, Knorr soup and a protein bar. Has never failed me over the last few years 🙂

I then watched the sunset at camp before going to bed for the night!

#250km #GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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The race started on 29 July at 8 am. We ran across varied terrain. Pictures copyright here to @racingtheplanet.

Julian is filling up my bottles. I was very thirsty and drank 1-1.5 litres of water every 10km

#250km #GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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Checkpoints were a welcome sight. To refuel, eat or simply take my shoes off and rest a while. The volunteers' enthusiasm helped motivatee throughout. They work harder than us, waking up at 4.30am to get to the CPs and prep for our arrival

#GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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And when we complete a stage and enter camp for the evening, there is an immense sense of gratitude and happiness.

Pictured here with me is Angela from Germany when we finished Stage 1 and entered Camp (picture copyright to @racingtheplanet)

#GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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My tentmates are an immense source of inspiration and support to each other. We helped each other through and through.

Here are a few pictures of us. Tent 21 - Choijin Lama

I also wrote something about my tribe!

#GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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People ask me why I run such long distances. Truthfully, I don't know the answer to that when I sign up. And then somewhere on the trail, I get the why! I cannot explain it. You have to experience it yourself.

#LiveToRun #RunToLive #GobiMarch
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Towards the end of the Long March, I was caught in a thunderstorm and drenched totally. I dried my sleeping bag (and clothes) by a heater in a yurt/ger. In the AM, we were evacuated to a dry zone. I gratefully put my feet up and rested!

#LongMarch #GobiMarch
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The bestest part of these races are the new friends you make, the old connections you renew and the camaraderie all around.

In Pic 2 (courtesy @racingtheplanet) is Nigel Vaughan. He ran the Gobi Desert in China with me. In 2012!

#GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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We finished the race in Karakorum, a great city in the Mongol Empire. So many happy faces. So much elation.

Am here with my tent mates and a friend at the finish line.

I then sat down and drank a beer and ate some fried rice!

#250km #GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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I also had the honour of racing with some former senior members of Indian special forces from 1 Para, 10 Para and the CO of 21 Para, Colonel Mandeep Mann.

First time India had more than 5 representatives at this race. See pic!

#India #Tiranga #GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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"There are no strangers at a start line. Just fellow runners who haven't met yet" - Suzy Shapiro

@racingtheplanet

#250km #GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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After a long week, we went back to Ulaanbataar. For a shower and a cleanup.

The awards banquet last night was great. We watched the slideshow and videos of our run. Good food, happy conversation and fond memories.

#GobiMarch #RacingThePlanet
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Finis!

Thank you for patiently reading through this.

Until my next adventure with @racingtheplanet . . . 🤗🤗 to all of you!

#RacingThePlanet #GobiMarch

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