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home > news > africa > vicente juan garcia beneito and anne-marie flammersfeld gain extraordinary victories in the sahara race

Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito and Anne-Marie Flammersfeld Gain Extraordinary Victories in the Sahara Race

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Posted Monday, 5 November, 2012

Vicente Juan Garcia Beneito of Spain has done it again. The 36-year old completed the 250-kilometer course of the Sahara Race today in a time of 25:56:12. This marks his third victory of the year.

"It's great to end in a such a spectacular site,” said Beneito as he came into the finish line amid the legendary Pyramids of Giza. “I'm so happy also to finally arrive with the other competitors, it's a good feeling, not that I've felt alone this week. Now I'm going to rest with friends and family.”

The Spanish firefighter is on track to what could be a record-breaking year. Should he emerge as champion of The Last Desert (Antarctica) in three weeks time, he will be the first person to ever win all 4 Deserts races in one calendar year.

There was an equally incredible performance in the women’s division with German competitor Anne-Marie Flammersfeld taking a gold medal and fifth position overall with a time of 31:08:33. Flammersfeld is also heading for an historic year—if she triumphs in Antarctica, she will be the first woman to ever win all 4 Deserts.

“I’m so happy, it's been an incredible week,” said Flammersfeld who is a sports scientist and owner of All Mountain Fitness in the resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland. “The finish by the Pyramids is so overwhelming.”

The Sahara Race kicked off on Sunday October 28th with approximately 140 competitors who set out from the starting line making it through the dramatic course that ranged from sand dunes, to valleys, lakes and the protected Wadi El-Hitan, or Valley of the Whales, where ancient whale fossils still lie like museum relics on the sands.

Against the stunning backdrop of today’s finish line, the second person over the line was Canada’s Simon Donato (36), one of the stars of the TV show Boundless, who finished the course in a time of 28:48:53. Belgian competitor Steven Sleuyter (40) took the bronze medal with an overall time of 29:08:14.

Mary Gadams, RacingThePlanet CEO and Founder, commented: “It was a hot and sandy week but everyone persevered, mostly with a smile on their face. I'm so proud of every competitor.”

This is proving to be a landmark year for 4 Deserts where Grand Slammers—those who are taking on all four races in one calendar—are gaining compelling victories. The winning Team JDRF Born to Run consists of five Australians who are embarking on the 4 Deserts Grand Slam to raise funds for Type 1 Diabetes research.

They are Roger Hanney (38) who himself has Type 1 Diabetes, Jess Baker (30), Rob Schwebel (61), and father and son Matthew Donovan (22) and Greg Donovan (51). “We are all amazed at how vast and remote the desert is,” they said. “It was a special place to be. Born to Run is proud to finish three of the 4 Deserts, finishing first is the icing on the cake.”

For many of the competitors who are taking on the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, while today’s finish offered relief—it also marks the countdown to The Last Desert (Antarctica). There are just 19 days left to this spectacular event, the final race in the 4 Deserts series of 2012 that begins on November 22 amid the snow and ice of the planet’s southernmost continent.

About the Sahara Race 2012 (28 October - 3 November) -
The Sahara Race is one of the four races that comprise the world renowned 4 Deserts series of 250-kilometer rough-country footraces. The race takes place in the historic Wadi Al-Hitan area of Egypt’s Sahara Desert, the largest non-polar desert in the world. Wadi Al-Hitan, or Valley of the Whales, is an ancient shallow sea where competitors pass fossils believed to be whales with legs that died 40 million years ago.

About the 4 Deserts -
The 4 Deserts is the world’s leading endurance footrace series, a unique collection of world-class races hat take place over 7 days and 250-kilomters in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet.

Competitors must go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-supported in the most inhospitable climates and landscapes, they must carry all their own equipment and food, and are only provided with drinking water and place in a tent each night to rest.

The series, named again by TIME magazine in 2010 as one of the world’s Top 10 endurance competitions comprises the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China, the Sahara Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica.



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