Race Course / Terrain

The exact information on the race course shall be released about a month before the race.

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 highest point of the race is just over 3000m, it is a steep ascent over a pass on a narrow mountain chain which straddles the desert, but most of the race is relatively flat.

The course is EXTREMELY tough – please do not be fooled by the lack of steep ascents and elevation. 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.

2016 Ultra Gobi race course map and elevation profile. Please remember that this is last year’s course and the 2017 edition will not be exactly the same, but it gives you the rough idea of what to expect, and also tells you the positioning of rest stations and checkpoints. The 2017 race course map and elevation shall be provided at a later date.

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.