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  Along with 100 others around the world, I am s member of the 4 Desert Club awarded to the individuals who have completed each race on the circuit.

In 2009 I completed the Gobi March in China, in 2010 the Atacama Crossing in Chile, in 2011 the Sahara Race in Egypt, and in 2014 Antarctica: The last desert.


GOBI MARCH

I arrived hoping to complete the Gobi, the windiest desert on earth, and came in first in my age group and the first Canadian.

Blogging for the first time to raise funds, friends encouraged me to write Gobi Runner, a tale of leadership under adversity and the lessons learned.

You can access my daily blogs from this race here.


ATACAMA CROSSING

At the Gobi finish line, along with a couple of friends I saw that in the team competition where runners must complete the 250km race shoulder to shoulder that the winning team wasn’t the group of most prolific runners but in fact the best team. Along with two other middle aged colleagues from the Gobi, each with unfinished business, we signed up as a team for the Chilean Atacama, the world’s driest desert. This proved to be a completely different experience from the solo race, To thrive, each member must constantly adapt to each other and move the weakest runner as fast as possible, essentially surrendering their need for "I" first and turn it into "We". Many teams implode.

With a backdrop of unusual events including the biggest earthquake in recent history in Chile which delayed arrival and affected the ability to adapt to a high altitude race at 9,000 feet, our team won.

You can access my daily blogs from the Atacama race here.


SAHARA RACE

Sahara was my third race, the hottest desert. Again as part of a team, hoping for a win after the success in the Atacama. I also recruited 8 other runners to participate, all first timers, to raise funds for Nabs. True to form, this proved to be a completely different experience from the first two races. The desert experience progressed from "I" to "We" and with a small community also running, it felt more like "All".

The team (2 Canadian fellows and a female ultra-marathoner from the UK), came in a close second in the team category, by the slightest of margin, placing in the top 20 overall. It made looking back on Atacama that much sweeter. Amongst the 8 first-timers, 5 completed the race. Our female team member was first overall amongst all women.

And more than $100,000 was raised.

You can access Stéfan's daily blogs from the Sahara race here.


ANTARCTICA RACE

Three knee surgeries later, five in total, a window opened up to complete the 4 Deserts circuit and make the long voyage to Antarctica, the coldest desert. A third runner, Michael Gilgen from Switzerland, was recruited and we sailed off to run in the snow. The two and half day sail on the Drake passage was painful with many sea sickness episodes prior to taking the start. Once on terra firma however our team came together beautifully and we had an amazing first day producing a lead which we would never relinquish, placing 8th overall as a unit of one, our best finish yet.


WHAT'S NEXT?

For a while due to knee surgeries, it looked like running had ended but somehow riding the bike strengthened both legs enough to attempt Antarctica. I ran it pain free. The bike is my new hobby; I’ve since done the Pyrenees Raid since - an 750km crossing against the clock of the mountain chain from the Atlantic to the Mediterannee.

Having won two of four in the team category, we continue to hope that circumstances align for us to attempt to re-do the Sahara and possibly even the Gobi and win them all. Just for the sake of it.