Sunrise over the UNESCO Orkhon Valley
It was the last morning and as usual I was up early. Not only for the sunrise but because due to my gimpy, gooey toe status, I was in the early start staggered group. AND we got a ride across the river to the starting line, so no early morning feet/shoes immersion into the chilly water at the start of the race. The biggest bonus of the early start was that I actually got to see the race. The rest of the competitors had their staggered start about 45 minutes after we were sent off. It wasn’t long before the front runners came charging up the path and raced on by us on their way to the finish at Karakorum and the Erdene Zuu Monastery. The rest of the running pack was soon to follow. It was so awesome to see everyone in action and cheer them on as they passed.
Rounding the final corner and entering the impressive monastery grounds to the finish line was epic!
Woohoo! Finishing is winning!
The frosting on the cake was having my training partner waiting for me at the finish line to put the medal around my neck.
What an amazing MonGOlia experience trekking my way through the beautiful green valleys and hills, trees and temples, rocky peaks, sand dunes, lightning storms, pouring rain, roaming cows, goats, sheep, running horses, and river crossings with some really awesome new friends! So grateful and extremely HAPPY! Thank you to Racing the Planet for the opportunity to participate in this race and visit this beautiful country. A huge thank you to the crew, volunteers, and medical staff who supported and took care of us while we were out on the trails.
After a long layover in Seoul and a seemingly never ending flight back, I am finally back home and WTF it is still Monday??? Time travelled again. My MonGOlia adventure is complete with a follow up ER visit for the infected toe and a prescription for additional antibiotics. Time to pour a glass of wine and get these cankles elevated. Cheers to the poor person who had to security check my suitcase. I know what’s in there and how bad it smells.
For more information on the Race and Mongolia check out these resources:Nature, history, culture, and tidbits about Mongolia – The Lonely Planet’s travel guide
Racing the Planet’s 4 Desert Series – The Gobi March