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Gobi Desert Ultra-Marathon success for Rolawn's Managing Director


Paul Dawson, Managing Director of Rolawn Limited, Europe’s largest turf grower and leading topsoil distributor, based at Elvington near York, has successfully completed the 250km Gobi Desert (China) ultra-marathon in 38hrs 22mins 43secs - finishing in 21st place out of an international field of over 180 competitors from 23 different countries.

The Gobi March is a self-supported footrace across 250 kilometres of Gobi Desert in China, consisting of six stages, lasting 7 days. 

Each competitor had to carry their own gear, food and clothing in a backpack. Competitors had to be fully self-supported throughout the event, the only assistance provided was water, tents and medical assistance. The average backpack carried by the runners weighed about 25 pounds.

Paul Dawson commented “the Gobi March has been an epic experience of a lifetime, so many aspects of the race were unpredictable, the weather has been extreme.  After months of dryness, a storm hit while we were going over a 3,800m mountain pass, instead of blazing desert heat we were hit by rain, sleet and even snow, followed the next day by stifling heat with no wind.”

“The local culture has been fascinating and we have experienced incredible hospitality from the people, we stayed in the homes of many locals during the week.  Another outstanding feature of the race has been the racers themselves, those you might have expected to make it dropped out, while others who you expected to give up stuck with it to the very end.

An amazing amount of improvisation was also often needed during the race, at times even the most high tech equipment had to be replaced by local technology - the donkey cart, used to help everyone across swollen rivers and camels were used to bring competitors in trouble through altitude sickness down from the mountains. I can honestly say that the whole experience was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before and I’m rather relieved to have finished in one piece and pleased to have been able to raise money for The Neuroblastoma Society whilst doing so” he commented.

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