Super marathoner and nutritionist Elísabet Margeirsdóttir will attempt the Ultra Gobi, a 400-kilometer run through China’s Gobi Desert, and one of the most demanding races to have ever been attempted by an Icelander. RÚV reports that race rules mandate that competitors must finish the race within 150 hours, or just over six straight days. Only fifty runners will participate.
Elísabet has been among Iceland’s foremost super marathoners in recent years. During this time, she’s competed in races from 100 to 330 kilometers. Last October, she ran 160 kilometers in the extremely challenging Grand Raid ultra-marathon on the island of Réunion. “I knew that it was one of the most difficult races at that distance in the world. I really felt it. It broke me down a bit, it really broke me down,” she said.
Following the Grand Raid, however, Elísabet undertook additional intensive races: a 100-kilometer race in Hong Kong in January—she considers any distance between 50 – 100 kilometers a “shorter run,” and then a 200-kilometer in Bhutan. The structure of this multi-day race, which was comprised of six stages of 30 – 60 kilometers each, was a marked difference from the single stage runs that she’d competed in before. The change suited her well: she won the race.
One of the organizers of the race in Bhutan is also involved in the Ultra Gobi, which is limited to just 50 competitors by invitation. Elísabet said that she knows that the conditions will be difficult and that there are things that she is still afraid of about this race. “...[B]ut I won’t be afraid of it [during the race itself], but rather get through it with good preparation.”
“When you get an invitation like this, you want to give it a shot.”