Married couple & elite Berghaus athletes Anna and Philippe Gatta have competed in the 2012 Atacama desert Race. The Atacama Crossing is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts series of 250-kilometer rough-country footraces. This is the eighth edition of the Atacama Crossing, kicking off on Monday 5th March in the Chilean desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, with one of the most ambitious groups of competitors to ever embark on the 250-kilometer footrace. Of the 160 competitors setting out on the world-renowned race through the Atacama Desert, 13 are aiming to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam.
The Atacama Crossing is considered by many to be the toughest race in the 4 Deserts series. It is equally known for its staggering beauty. The seven-day odyssey takes competitors through an otherworldly landscape of salt lakes, lava flows and sand dunes in settings that traverse the Valley of the Moon, the Valley of Death and Laguna Tebinquinche Rio Grande. The course moves along historical trade routes, through streams, dried up gorges and across the infamous salt flats. Competitors carry their own food and equipment for the week, with only water and shelter provided along the course. An average altitude of 2,500 meters and the notoriously challenging terrain brings added challenges.
Anna and Philippe on Sunday reached the finish line after 7 days of intense running across extreme desert terrain. The aim of the race was for Philippe an experienced ultra-runner with many desert races in his CV, to train and coach his wife to compete and successfully complete the Atacama Crossing, a self-supported desert race of 6 stages and 250km, considered by many as the hardest of the 4 desert races.
Anna said “Many of the runners and the organisation loved the concept as well as our supporters and friends that congratulated me for finishing and Philippe for bringing me all the way. The 4 months of intense training combined with the food and electrolytes strategy was perfect and the mental support Philippe gave me all the way was crucial. We stuck together the whole way, meter by meter, all through the 7 days and 250km. That was the first time that Philippe had ran as part of a team. For him too adapting his pace and taking care of someone else was not easy but sharing this experience was his main objective.”
All Philippe & Anna’s hard work paid off as Anna won the race for her age group 30-39! Berghaus would like to give a big congratulations to Anna, and to Philippe for his support and hard work to help Anna with this fantastic achievement!
You can read more about the race and Philippe & Anna’s experience over the seven days here.