The race in Chile is considered to be one of the three toughest stage races in the world and has been a highlight for the international runner scene for 15 years. Tanja Schönenborn and Rafael Fuchsgruber took on this special challenge – travellunch was happy to support them again.
A dream comes true
Start at an altitude of 3,400 meters in the driest desert in the world. Temperatures of over 40°C and sub-zero temperatures at night put a strain on the body. Nevertheless, the race in the Atacama Desert was the dream of the two athletes. Many altitude meters have to be mastered on the 250 kilometers in 6 days. Notorious in the runner scene for the large salt flats, which can only be mastered by marching. With every step there is the danger to break in, to cut shoes and gaiters on the sharp salt edges or to stand up to the shin in the salty “mud”. Tricky technical passages in the high mountains or huge dune landscapes have to be passed in height or spread.
Food for the whole week in one backpack – travellunch makes it possible
A self-catering race. Participants carry all their equipment and food for a week in a backpack (8-10kg). Tents and water are provided by the organizer. Runners drink about 12 liters of water a day – too heavy for the backpack.
For many years, we have relied on travellunch during our adventure runs in the deserts of this world.
– Rafael Fuchsgruber & Tanja Schönenborn
The way to the finish line
The women’s race will be extremely exciting and close throughout the week. The gaps at the finish are always only a few minutes over the days. Tanja and Rafael run as a pair, with her running in front in this race.
Rafael Fuchsgruber: “She can’t have anyone running in front of her – maybe the secret of her success.”
The stages are about 40km each day. But with 80km, it’s only the last day that brings about the decision of this week. After adventurous Martian landscapes, which look like Star Wars – scenery, dunes, river crossings and salt flats – the leader, Deborah Barbar (Australia), and Tanja Schönenborn cross the finish line in San Pedro die Atacama after one week and a total running time of 37 hours. Rafael Fuchsgruber accompanies them throughout the race. And with a hard-run solo stage on the last day, he can still secure the victory in his age group.