The first edition of the OFR was a huge success in February 2013. We had so many smiling faces leaving the desert and so many happy memories. We had a sandstorm that interrupted the event part way through but the adventure the entrants had was fantastic to see. The 2014 event will take place on the 23rd March.
Date of race – 23rd March 2014 (Meeting organisers at pick up point on 22nd March
Location – Egyptian Western Desert – Specifically The White Desert
Distance – 160 miles (96 hours- 4 days time limit)
Format – Non stop footrace with entrants being guided by gps.
For full details of the event plase go to the main website at www.oceanfloorrace.com
With a time limit of 4 days to complete this ultra marathon event, entrants will be directed through the Egyptian Western desert and specifically the Egyptian White Desert to check-points every 15 miles, where they will have access to water and their drop bags filled with food.
This is a true test of courage and determination, and undoubtedly one of the most challenging events on the planet.
The race has limited availability (50 places) so please bear this in mind to avoid disappointment.
The Ocean Floor Race” is so called due to the location being covered by the Tethys Ocean over 200 million years ago. Evidence of this is everywhere; ocean floor bedrock has been carved into fantastic shapes by the wind and sand over millions of years. The desert is a wonderland of over-sized mushrooms, kneeling camels, sitting ducks, dessert meringues and towering spires. Literally thousands of rock formations scatter the desert landscape making it an amazingly magical place to navigate through.
Before the race begins, entrants will fill personal drop bags with their own personal supplies that they will need at the various check points during the race. This drop bag could contain for example; 1 freeze dried meal / boil in the bag meal, 2 energy bars (non melting), pack of nuts, pack of raisins, some boiled sweets, spare batteries for gps and head torch.
Once the race begins runners will be guided by their gps units to a check point situated 15 miles away. Once in this tented checkpoint competitors have access to hot/cold water, tea, coffee and their pre-packed drop bag. The competitor has the option (depending on ability) to either rest at the check point or to quickly refill their water, collect their drop bag and continue on the route. The clock is always ticking so each competitor must decide how to manage their time themselves. Given the time limit of 96 hours , competitors must complete a minimum of 40 miles each 24 hour period which we feel is very generous for an event like this.
See the below footage of the white desert from the BBC documentary
Rest & Sleep
Entirely the entrants choice of how to manage their time with regards to rest. They can either rest along the route, in the check points or not at all. Most elite runners will have trained themselves to be able to keep going with little or no sleep for an event of this nature. For the rest of us sleep will be a necessity. Those needing sleep can get in their sleeping bags and rest in the check points or if their eyes can’t stay open while in between check points then laying under the stars isn’t a bad place either.
This can be a worry for many people who have never used one before. The units that are appropriate must have replaceable batteries and not rechargeable batteries. We can recommend the Garmin fortrex 301 or 401 which are both wrist mounted and very easy to use. The Garmin etrex units are also very good. All have replaceable batteries which last for approx 12-14 hours before needing to be changed. Coordinates of the route will be sent out to entrants closer to the race date and we will also be assisting with the uploading of these coordinates when in Egypt if people require.
This race is suitable for a range of abilities from the elite ultra running athletes to the experienced walker.
Race organiser Keith Gray who has run through this desert twice previously commented
“The location is really amazing. It really does feel like you’re running on another planet. Running at night is even more surreal with an unbelievable number of shooting stars zipping through the sky and the rock formations taking on a subtle blue glow in the moonlight. It is a very tough event but very achievable if the person has their head prepared for it. It stands to be an awe inspiring race with fantastic appeal for a range of abilities. There will be the elite runners who run the event from start to finish with very little rest who will be looking for a good time and placing but there will also be the walkers whose goal is to complete this epic challenge in the allotted time”
The race takes place in the Egyptian western desert which is part of the vast Sahara desert. The route for the race will focus through an area called the White Desert.
The thousands of strangely shaped sculptures are all that remains from the ancient rock sea bed that once covered this area. The wind and sand have spent the past few million years sculpting and shaping what we now see today. Many of the rock formations are quite famous in the area and have been given names such as The Kneeling Camel, The Mushroom, The Ice cream cone ..etc etc
As well as the amazing sculpture display on the ground, the fantastic shooting stars in the area are a constant companion throughout the evening hours. During evenings of high activity barely 30 seconds will pass without a shooting star zipping across the sky.
To see more details on the event please go to the event website at www.oceanfloorrace.com