Date of race - 20th October 2013
"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.
The white rock formations are a result of marine life dying and falling to the bottom of the ocean over millions of years resulting in calcium carbonate (chalk) being left behind. Over millions of years this rock is shaped to the formations you see today. These rock formations have been created within the last 125 million years.
There have been many discoveries in the western desert showing that ocean life once flourished. Fish skeletons, fossilised shells and 406 fossilized whale skeletons have been excavated in fantastic condition.
Very little plant life survives here but there are a selection of very small oasis where trees have managed to survive.
The area of the desert that the race will start from is situated approximately 300 miles south west of Cairo. It is an Egyptian national park, declared in 2007 and soon to be protected by UNESCO due to its unique landscape which is found nowhere else on earth.
The terrain varies from a hard rock floor, soft sand and loose rock. Shoes that can protect your feet from the terrain are therefore essential and minimalist shoes are not recommended.
The temperature is an average of 28 degrees celcius in the day and around 17 to 22 degrees celcuis in the early evening. The temperature will drop to 14 to 15 degrees in the late evening until the morning.
Sunrise in October will be 6:00 am and sun set is 17:51 pm full darkness at 18:12 min pm
Life in the desert is limited but it does exist. Along with birds and insects the most endearing animal that lives in the desert is the desert fox known as the Fennec. These tiny foxes with huge ears are the smallest species of canid in the world. They are generally not shy or scared of humans due to them having very little contact with us. They are inquisitive creatures and are happy to approach a person to investigate what you are up to. They are quite harmless and it is possible to see their eyes reflecting from your head torch during the evening hours.
“Running through the desert alone is an experience not to be missed – having ran the first 60 miles with other racers (which was great), the real nature of what you are doing sinks in when you are alone in the middle of the Sahara. The race was organised incredibly well and the whole team were excellent. Despite the field getting spread out in the later stages of the race, never did I feel left out or neglected. “
Jamie Flanagan- February 2013 entrant
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