Continent 2 – 250k Gobi Desert – Daily Recaps



PRE RUN INTRO

Hey! My name is Jacqui Bell and I am 23 years old from Brisbane, Australia. 
I use this Blog to post about my journey this year to complete the 4 Deserts which I began about a year ago.

I will be using my Racing the Planet event blog during the event to write about how I am going each day and my friend will be transferring it across to this personal blog aswell.  Kayla will also keep my instagram and facebook up to date to make it easy for anyone who wants to follow! Thanks KB!

I am #14 competitor!  https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/view-full-blog/2018-jacqui-bell
I love to receive blog comments and emails during the race so please do so as it is awesome to read at the end of a day! I will put the link below to access this – it is just under the Gobi heading and you click on official competitors – you will see my name Jacqueline Bell and beside this you can click send email – I receive these offline whilst out in the Desert as the event staff download it via Satelite! 

https://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/view-full-blog/2018-jacqui-bell

I arrived in Mongolia yesterday after quite a long journey. I had no expectations for Mongolia and was pleasently suprised with how beautiful it is, I look out my window to the most amazing gigantic rolling mountains. 

As soon as I arrived I couldn’t help myself and was off for a run which turned out to be quite the adventure – figuring out how to cross the river rapids, not get eaten by all the stray dogs and make it to the top of one of the most vertical mountains ha!ha! 

… turns out as fun as it was, it wasn’t such a great idea as it has really flared up my plantar fascitis… I think the week of the 250k is going to be a real push this time around with my foot feeling as it is but I will just have to suck it up and try to pretend its not there :).. so I doub’t I will mention it again and keep it out of my mind :/ ha! ha! mind over matter right… 
Super excited for race 2 to start in a few days and to meet the other competitors, there is almost 3 times the amount of people running this event compared to race 1! There is 17 of us attempting the 4 Desert Grand Slam this year – 16 males and well I am the only female (go the girls) ha!ha! It is definitely nice knowing there will be a fair few familar faces this event! 
Arriving in Beijing I ran into Tony and Bev some volunteers from race 1 – not only just ‘some volunteers’ – they are super experienced – Tony has completed the 4 Desert Grand Slam and this is his 25th event he is head of the volunteer team and Bev has volunteered for 13 races now.
I am staying at the Ibis Hotel in Ulaanbaatar here in Mongolia for the first few nights before moving to the event accomodation. I am so lucky that the Accor/Ibis group have helped support me at this event by putting me up in my accomodation. My room is huge and has an amazing view! Not only this but the gym and sauna facilities are EPIC!
Anyway off to explore some of the town and try to resist going for another run in the mountains today!
If you would like to donated to my charity page I will pop the link below.
Thanks and happy following 🙂 
PRE DAY 1 RUN


Hehe Dear Desert Diary 😉
…got to keep that theme going
It feels like just the other day I was in Namibia – I am having so many memory flash backs from the first desert now that I am back in this environment. Loving being back with friends from race 1 – Leon, Scott, Isabella, Bruno, Honey Badger ha!ha! And all the crew!
So today was a 5 hour bus ride from the city to the start line – there was a convoy of 11 buses and it was like 4WD in a bus – the roads were crazy! We arrived about 7pm and were greated by local Mongolian performaners – music and a young girl doing some crazy cool moves! At one point she held her entire body weight in a back bend with her mouth just clentching a mental piece….ouch!
Such a beautiful night here in Mongolia – the weather is absolutely perfect, everything is so green and we are set right beside a large ruins which has some history to do with Ghengis Khan. Ha! ha! don’t ask me… but hey it looks super cool! I went into the ruins to explore and had a climb but was attacked by some viscious weed that stings like a BISHHH! … Won’t be doing that again!
Lots of people bring a nice meal for night one and for breakfast tomorrow before having to eat dehyrdrated foods all week.. the most common are KFC and pizza… Ha! ha! I was a bit late sorting myself so just got some inspo while at the supermarket…
Well I ended up with an amazing soughdough, a jar of nutella and 2 bananas haha – everyone has been saying it’s a kids meal (classic 23 year old Ha! Ha!) – they are just jeaous! I think this may turn into my breakfast lunch and dinner tomorrow too Ha! Ha! … KIDDING #nutritiousanddelicious :p
Sooo they are packing up the cyber tent as it’s already 9-40pm! The sun has just set! 
Last thing! Pretty awesome – I needed my plantar fascitis strapped.. somehow I found the podiatrist for MANCHESTER UNITED !!! WOTTT ! yep and he assessed my foot, shoes and has helped me sort my game plan for the week! Super cool!
Running 38K tomorrow! I feel a bit apprehensive as to how I will go – sooo many good runners at this event! Will just give it my best crack!
Appreciate the emails I have received already – thank you 
JB xxx
DAY 1

8km day ! My goal was 5 hours and I got in at 5 hours, happy days!
My new moto is the 4 S’s – Smart, Steady, Solid and don’t be STOOPID haha! .. key one – don’t be stupid JB! 😏
Every time a competitor (especially a girl) is coming up behind me and passes me, it hurts my soul a little but I am forcing myself not to push it too early on this time, I cannot handle a repeat of the Long March day in Namibia – better to be 10 minutes slower each day rather than cook myself and be 10 hours slower on the long march day ha!… Wow, I think I am learning…ha
I came in 7th for girls and 35th overall today which I was really happy with as there is about 100 females and 230-ish total competitors.
Today we wokeup at about 5am and it was already day light, I slept like an absolute baby last night – I have a slightly different sleeping mat this race – Sea to Summit and also a sleeping bag from them but it is actually a quilt! So good I can have a leg out of it rather than feeling like a mummy haha.
Breakfast – I had another Nutella and banana sandwhich mmhmmmm delishhh!… Don’t worry Mum I also had a peach haha last bit of fresh fruit.
We kicked off at 8am and todays scenery was the most beautiful I have ever seen, whilst writing this I am currently looking out at rolling green mountains, it is honestly something else. It got super hot during the run today but my new walking poles got me through – they are one of the best decisions I have ever made – cyaaa later daawdling walking I am now mastering the power walk.
It has been so good to see Zeana and Riitta again (the race organises) – just missing Sam! – Hey Sam 👋! In Namib, Zeana competed and was my room mate – only 2 days into this and she has copped about 5 hugs off me haha.. After running a marathon I feel like I need a hug haha!
I know I am not meant to be bringing it up but I will just say this… Plantar – much ouchhhiee! Luckily some really cool stuff happened during the run today – We had locals standing outside of their little GER (house) in the middle of nowhere cheering us on. At one spot there was 5 little kids about 4 years of age who gave me high fives – So cute and there was 2 young boys galloping on horses, standing up and showing off ha.
The last 3km’s today was brutal – it was all MUD FLATS… the concentration to avoid face planting in the mud was ridiculous haha… happy to say I didn’t get a mud bath today, although, I did have my first river crossing. I spent 5 minutes trying to use stepping stones across but I slipped and ended up knee deep in water at only 10km’s in!
I am soo relieved today is completed, I haven’t run 38km’s since the Namib Race so was a tad nervous. I know I have been training hard but not being able to run scared me a little. Anyway it is just day 1… still a long long week ahead! Whilst running today I realised that if I start to think about the 250km’s week as a whole it scares the shit out of me! Even thinking about the next day ahead… it is just too much so focusing on the very moment at hand and each step is honestly the only way to fathom the 250km’s. Especially with a heavyyyy as pack on your back, I think with all the little extra things and water I was running today with about 11/12kg’s – not light! #stronggal haha!
So my fitbit stats for the day so far are:
50,000 steps
45.5km’s  
4500 cals
Wowza haha and it is only 3pm. Many runners are still making there way in. I am going to sign off now and go and get some gourmet Mac n Cheese happening haha. The vibes around camp are really chill right now, there is music playing, people cheering in the runners coming in – there is also a loud drum to amp up the runners coming in, I usually go over and have a bang on it for a while ha it is pretty fun, I can be as loudddd as I like!
Tomorrow big big day – just under 50km’s! EEEEK!
JB xx

DAY 2

Far out! 
Almost 50km’s of torturous mountains, sooo many hills.
Today definitely didn’t go as planned… Dropped back a few spots – 9th for women and 40 something overall. But honestly I was just happy to get through.
The day started on a disorganized note – spent an hour rolling my foot on a golf ball someone lent me so I was late getting my stuff together. I decided to go back to the technique I used in Namibia and put my sleeping bag in my dry sack and put it right behind my back for some padding… legit was fussing around with this, getting my timing chip swiped and sorting my backpack when all 230 competitors were on the start light with 1 minute to go…
Within the first 7km’s I lost my footing in 2 pot holes… this hurt a lot – many profanities were used ha! I then had to stop 3 times and sit down on the grass take my gaitors and socks off and find my blister stuff in my bag to try and fix up a hot spot – a hot spot is a place where I can feel a blister coming on.. so I sat once and thought I fixed it… ran a few hundred metres and realised I hadn’t so yep, took me 2 more times to get it right…
I thought about running through it but knew I would regret that!
Kind of like in the night time when I am in the cosy tent with 7 people… I know I need to go to the toilet but the effort to get out of my sleeping back, somehow dodge 7 bodies and unzip the tent, put shoes on and walk 500m to the toilets seems sooo hard. I always lay there for 20 minutes and try to forget about it but it is always the same outcome… haha I should just go straight away! So getting to the point… I’ve learnt that if there’s any issues whilst running it is best to stop and fix it, asap… although fixing my feet meant I had 20 people run past me.
Also not sure why I always say I slept like a baby… babies sleep shockingly? They wake everyone in the house up a thousand times every night.. haha so I will just say I am sleeping really well! It hasn’t been cold at all! Nice temperature – just really hot running in the day times.
So back to the race – 2km’s leading up to checkpoint one was a monster of a hill climb! I think it took over 30 min – after this was when the real struggle began. I was battling to get into a running groove and was feeling super light headed like I was going to faint. Everything ached, an ache I can’t even explain.. from my feet to my neck. You’d think with the hours of training I did in the lead up would help but this is just something else. 50km’s with a SUPER heavy pack, being out in the desert elements and just doing super massive KM’s really takes its toll on the body (Who would’ve thought).
Today was savage… there were a few tears shed! My lower back from my pack is suffering and my collar bones have big lumps on them from the weight of the pack.
Tempting to eat all my food tonight to make my pack lighter haha but that’s a dumb idea! – sticking really well to my food and snacks I have planned out for each day which is a positive!
I then knew that being alone wasn’t an option! I kept up with Bruno and this really lovely Aussie Karen and we would power march and jog as best we could and chit chat which lifted my spirits. I then found a bit of a groove and ended up finishing ahead of them at about 3:20pm so it was a long day! Being alone out there when the going gets tough is the worst of the worst so I know now to team up with someone!
I am absolutely spent! So glad tonight is in a GER which is far more spacious! Wouldn’t be surprised if I am in bed by 6pm!
Tomorrow is around 42km’s of big hills and sand dunes #help! Another grindy day.
KM’s total after today is almost 90km’s… many more to go.
My fitbit stats today as of 5pm:
70,000 steps
55km’s 
5500 cals
Thanks to Emily O’connor for your classes encouragement and Rowanne!
I love it 
Love the emails of support Tate and Laura! Thanks Bri Bri and Aimos 💛and Carmen! x
HAHAH I was sitting here laughing so much at yours Bowz! Keep em coming ha!
And yep Jeremy I brought WAY BETTER SNACKS 😋
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY OLD MAN HAHA AKA DAD! Hope Mum spoilt you – love you lots! Big hug xxx
So exhausted to go into much more detail! The keyboards are difficult to type, especially in my state.
JB x
PS. This is the GER
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DAY 3

Alrighty day 3 today!
Sooo glad to be almost halfway, after tomorrow it’s the home run!
Currently sitting at the cyber tent and it is poooring rain – poor people who have been coming in over the past few hours who have been caught in it. Before I dive into how today went I don’t think I have mentioned the diverse group of people that are here running.
Get ready for a few WOWs haha.. 
There is one guy here running the entire race in a suit… yes a legit suit! Why? Because he wanted an extra challenge. 
Another guy is kicking a soccer ball through the whole run… NO IDEA HOW!! Ha 
There are 13 Japanese video and film crew so there is constantly drones flying around everywhere There is also the Discovery Channel from Poland filming a lot 
There is one guy who is wearing literally flip flops for the entire race! Yep just a flat piece of rubber and little tie over the top of his foot! 
The most amazing one is the 3 girls from Afghanistan who are running for a charity called Free to Run – they had to overcome so many obstacles to even get here. They received some threats and everything. 
Woke up this morning feeling pretty good and there was some traditional Mongolian music being played by 2 guys which was so lovely – nice and soothing before getting into things.
Today was a marathon of hills and sand dunes. Oh my gosh, the first 30 minutes was literally a vertical rock climb, it was soo fun! I snuck to the front of the group heading up that so I didn’t get stuck in the bulk of the pack. Then it was a pretty technical descend which I jetted down. I felt so great today and for the first time throughout this race I was really loving it! The body felt good today and I moved my sleeping bag around again to protect my back even more – finally nailed that. And my Science of Fitness socks doubles as collar bone protectors today!
After the descend there was a long section of dirt road which I trotted along, a little Japanese lady who was just ahead of me freaked out when were was about 20 big cows spread along the track so she didn’t know how to get through haha, they eventually moved and we could weave our way gently through. Haha well this little Japanese girl also has a worse sense of direction than me.. not sure how haha.. but she got lost about 3 times – I didn’t know her name but knew she went off track about 1km so was yelling out OI JAPAN OI JAPAN haha…. It worked! She found her way back to me. Along the dirt track I ran past a few men riding on camels which was pretty bizarre to see! I was kicking along really well and ran a good portion with this guy Ash who has done 23 races! King of the deserts ha. The sand dunes were pretty brutal which began at about 17km’s.. they were deceiving because they were covered in greenery so it hid the fact they were sand dunes.. just for a second. Running down them was a hoot! Then from 27-30km’s I slacked a little, ha my brain switched off and I was dawdling.

Just before checkpoint 3 there was a river crossing and there was no way to avoid the water.. so I went straight in, knee deep. At the checkpoint I grabbed out a cliff bar … in the bottom of my bag gah! As I ran on I saw Karen the fellow Aussie about 500m behind and was so relieved to see some good company coming my way – I yelled out HURRY UP KAREN haha, she skipped through the checkpoint and caught up with me which was awesome and we smashed out the last 11km’s together 😁 she is so great, ha you get a lot of topics covered in 2/3 hours a day together running. When I arrived in I cleaned up a little and then snuck in an hour or so nap – it was pretty delishhh!
Definitely my favourite day! I came in 8th female and about 40th overall I think. It took just over 6 hours.

My fit bit says:
60,000 steps
48.5km’s
4800 cals

It is 730pm here and pouring pouring rain!!

People are still coming in – it is sooo dirty and muddy, everything is wet haha eeeek! I think there has been about 10 people in total pull out so far… maybe more!

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

70kms – aiming for under 15 hours and I will be happy – you never know what the long march day will bring ha! Later start time of 10am compared to 8am which I am happy with.

Very cool, my friend Jochem just messaged me and he has finished reading the Gobi Dog book by Dion Leonard and posted on Instagram about this and Dion himself commented wishing me luck –
Thank Jochem this is awesome!
Brilee, Aimee, Dayle and Ash – you didn’t believe I would do it but I just had parmesan cheese on my spaghetti bol!

Yep I have photo evidence, you will see when I get home too haha AND I am not sick from eating the 5 day old cheese 😋

Miranda O’hare your second skin blister stuff is LIFE SAVING!
My feet are currently blister free – touch wood! Also the heel lifts have been 10/10 for my PF! Thanks Chris! You will be pleased to know Scotty is crushing it.
Thanks everyone for the messages – tough for me to respond to you all as lots of people are wanting to get on a computer here but I read each and every email !!
Loved reading them all
JB xx
DAY 4/5

Wow firstly thanks for soo many emails of support!
I get to write this email and can’t remember all the names and don’t want to leave anyone out but every single email made me laugh or feel speshh in its own way, so thank you!
Today I am writing this from a big sports hall as we were evacuated from our camp out in the boggy swamps! Will go into it more later haha.
Soo 
Day 5 today – Rest day post the big run day 
Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 = total over 3 days is 130km’s  
Day 4 yesterday the big day = 70km’s …  I really thought my pack would be lighter by now but still about 10kg!
So 4 days 200k! Woohoo almost there!
Leading into day 4 I was scared of a repeat of Namibia where it took me almost 19 hours on the long day, but I am happy to say that I finished the long march in 11 hours this time!
The day began with a late start which was a blessing in disguise as everyone was drying clothes around the campfires.
Kicked off at 10am and my plan was to be done by midnight. Started off well, although the legs felt super heavy and fatigued and it was a really, really long gradual incline. Then for the first 35km’s it was massive hill climbs and steep descends.
My worst nightmare – my Achilles began to play up so at checkpoint 4 which was 40km’s in… I strapped in and cooked some Mac n Cheese to eat while I walked, no cold crunchy mac and cheese this time haha. It was afternoon by now so it was lunch time.
Continued on for the final 30km’s alone and smashed it out.
My Achilles felt better and I ran 75% of it, I even just skipped checkpoint 6 and ran through it onto the finish.
5km’s from the end and it was a big, big muddy swamp… if you know me you know my absolute worst nightmare is mosquitoes like BAD BAD!!
I freaked out and literally had a panic attack after being bitten – it was a nightmare… anyway some people helped me calm down and I trudged through the mud to the finish and made it just before sunset at 9pm. I only cried once during the 7km’s and that was because of the mosquitos haha so it was a good day! I also got some high fives off some adorable Mongolian kids along the way.
After arriving at camp it began pouring down about 30 minutes later. At least 150 competitors were caught out in the crazy storms which would have been horrible!! … and people were still coming in at 9am this morning eeeeek.
The storm began at 930pm and it has been pouring for the past 15 hours now. I am constantly cuddling with 2 smelly people or a wall and 1 person haha #livingthedream
I pretty much stayed in bed all day because my shoes and clothes were all soaked as I left them outside all night … woops
At 10am we were told everyone was being evacuated to a sports centre because it was starting to flood. The sports centre is in a town near restaurants and supermarkets… We were all dreaming of chocolate and normal food… sadly the rules mean 250 people are staying put here.
So after the 70km long march I had done 95,000 steps haha some people said I should of gone out and done 5000 more just to see if it would go to 100,000 HA!
So the body feels good except for my left Achilles and a few toenails of my semi grown toe nails are coming off… didn’t know it was possible to lose more nails haha.
Enjoying the rest day in the rec centre. 
I have a few adopted mums and dads which means they share all their delish snacks with me haha … the saying around here is that whatever is anyones means it is also mine haha…I’m not arguing 😋 … thanks to Stephen, Tomer and Karen. Haha
After stage 3 I was placed 7 for females and 39 overall but am not sure after yesterday.
Thanks for all the messages guys!
2 days to go – marathon again tomorrow and final day 10km’s.
JB x

FINAL DAY

10K TO GO! 
I can’t believe the week is almost over and I have almost made it through 2 of 4 races!
I am learning more and more each day… these races really are a massive mental game.
Last blog from me and it will be relatively short and sweet as I am feeling pretty wiped out.
Today was just over 30km’s, I crushed the first 20km’s and was feeling good until heat stoke/something got the better of me and I spent the next 10km’s shuffling to the finish in-between vomiting. Usually during a day I have at least 8L of water, lollies, a bar of some sort and a number of snacks along the way but today after my oats for breakfast I couldn’t manage anything more.
I had some tailwind which I grabbed from lost property, it is kind of like a hydro light mix, I think that is what didn’t sit well with me but I’m not sure. I had less than 1L of water during the run today. The last 5km’s there was nothing left to vomit up so I was just bent over dry reaching every couple hundred metres. Today has a super cool ending – the course designer surprised us with a rafting boat river crossing to the finish, unfortunately I was half passed out to enjoy it. I then spent 2.5 hours at the medical tent where I was battling with pretty bad heat stroke. They joked around that if I didn’t try and drink more water and some Pepsi they gave me that they would put an IV drip in me…. This means automatic withdrawal so I was like no no haha but I wasn’t that bad!
Anyway, enough debby downer! It’s all over now – it is 6pm and I am slowly recovering, haven’t managed to eat yet but doing my best to rest up before finishing off tomorrow.
Back to the real world tomorrow.
Thanks for following guys, appreciate the support this week.
Mongolia has been so amazing – today was the most stunning views and no more rain woohoo!
I will be spamming with photos when I get home. 😉
 JB xx

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