250km Gobi Desert Marathon in Aid of Equilibrium

The Gobi March is a six-day, 250-kilometer rough country footrace across the Gobi Desert of China. It was established in 2003 with just 42 participants.  French man, Jerome Cartailler is taking part in support of Equilibrium.

People from all walks of life compete. Some just want to cross the finish line, others want to win (the time difference between the front runners and the back of the field can be in excess of 50 hours by each race’s end). Competitors range between 21 and 67 years of age and come from more than 130 countries.

The Gobi March is a six-day, 250-kilometer rough country footrace across the Gobi Desert of China. It was established in 2003 with just 42 participants. The Gobi March has been held in Dunhuang, China, Turpan, China, Hami, China and Kashgar, all locations along the ancient Silk Road. It now attracts about 200 participants from more than 25 countries.

The Gobi March usually takes place in June each year, and the routes take competitors through widely varying terrains, encounters with nomadic tribes and small settlements. The main obstacles in the Gobi March are the number of different terrains competitors experience underfoot and the unpredictable weather, making equipment choices more difficult.

On November 2009, Jerome came across the idea of doing something different and worthwhile in line with his love for running:

I want to do something uncommon and different from the races that I have joined for the past four years.  And I choose a desert race multiday. Not too far; in Asia and the Gobi desert popped up.

The Gobi March event in China this coming June 27, 2010 is definitely one race that is worth doing because its cause is to raise funds for Equilibrium an organization dedicated in improving treatment and understanding the causes and effects of bipolar disorders.

This condition is often unknown not diagnosed and is a very challenging for the person who suffer and the entourage (family, friends etc) this can be very disruptive if not understood. I shall raise the awareness by dedicating this race to it. For Czarina my daughter.

Jerome worked in the kitchens from one 5 star hotel to another until he finally became an Executive Chef in 1996. As a chef, of course Jerome enjoys the pleasure of “good life” and being a French man, a love for wines and liquors. Not to mention one or two packs of cigarettes a day, a part of his system since he was 15 years old.  At age 39, Jerome weighed 215 lbs, almost 80 lbs overweight for his height.

But despite the vices, Jerome took a sport that suited him, scuba diving.  He is an Open Water Diver since 1996 and a Certified Rescue Diver as well.  But diving was not an everyday sport unless you live by the beach.  So this sport was not enough to enable one to live a healthy lifestyle.

Happy as he may seem, his lifestyle was definitely not healthy, and he knew this.  One morning, Jerome woke up and decided to stop smoking and go on a diet.  Just like that.

Unlike most sports enthusiasts, Jerome did not start running to shed off pounds. Running was not in his mind when he first decided to shed off the excess pounds.
He started with a 30 minute fast running at the treadmill to develop his endurance until he was running in the treadmill for hours continuously.  With the diet and the treadmill workout, he developed not only his endurance but muscles as well that replaced the sagging skin of his once upon a time fatty structure.

It was his gym trainer who introduced Jerome to road races starting with a 5km run to 10, 15 to 21 km.  Finally, he joined the marathon. His first full marathon was the Milo Marathon, then the Manila Marathon and after that there was no stopping Jerome from joining all sorts of running event not only in Metro Manila but running events all over the country and Paris marathon.

He participated in two North Face trail run and the first Bataan 102 which he shall be able to finish this year.

To this day, Jerome, always cheered by his loving wife Rhodora and two daughters, Czarina and Chloe who occasionally goes with Jerome on run events, hopes to see more of him succeed in his new found love in running.


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