Race Course / Terrain
The race course is not a struggle against sand dunes, like you might expect hearing the name “Gobi Desert”. The landscape in the Southern Gobi is very varied, and actually, there is not much sand. The main terrain is rocky desert, and some of these rocks are very abrasive and sharp, you will need well-padded shoes.
A large part of the course goes through very compacted sandy desert where you do not sink into the sand. Formations knows as yardangs or hoodoos abound.
Then there are dry river beds and also canyons, some canyons are quite deep and can be a challenge in the dark.
There are also a couple of river crossings, but nothing deep.
Most of the course does not follow any trails, you follow your GPS track, please learn how to use your GPS!
The course is EXTREMELY tough. The abrasive terrain is very tough on your feet. Such uneven surface is hard on your feet and tires you out quickly. In addition, there are short bushes in many places and runners have to weave in and out, which adds distance and contributes to fatigue.
You will cross highways several times. There are also short sections though local villages and along drivable dirt tracks.
The start of the course is next to the 2000 year – old ruins of Suoyang City, close to the town of Guazhou. The finish is in the town of Guazhou itself.
2018 Ultra Gobi race course map and elevation profile.
Pavel Paloncy (Czech Republic) negotiating rocky desert and hoodoos (yardangs). Ultra Gobi 2016.
Canyons are common on the race course.
Harvey Lewis (USA) on a rocky stretch of desert with Qingling Mountains in the background 2016.
Dry river beds are everywhere.
Such uneven surface, is hard on your feet and tires you out quickly.
There are trees wherever there is a river or a stream.