Desert ultramarathon seeks hard-boiled competitors for 2010 challenge

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The Independent Online

Organizers of the Libyan Challenge Master Trek, a Sahara-based non-stop 75 hour ultramarathon, have issued a worldwide call for entrants to come forward and fill up the remaining places for the grueling 110-person February 2010 event.

Application forms and race rules have been made publicly available via the website LibyanChallenge.com, along with video from previous races and a host of helpful information. Hopefuls have until December 31, 2009 to prove themselves fit to the race organizers.

The Challenge is a 205km (122 mile) race starting out from the remote Moroccan city of Ghat and winding through the Akakus mountains. Competitors are issued just a GPS device, a map, and a few liters of water doled out at each checkpoint dotted along the course.

Apart from that, participants must be self-sufficient with regard to food, clothing and equipment in the harsh conditions of the labyrinthine Acacus mountain range. The Acacus mountain range with its alternating rocks and dunes becomes a disorientating, slow-burn assault course through Saharan surroundings.

As temperatures fluctuate from 30° C (86°F) during the day right down to freezing point at night, many competitors walk long into the early hours of the morning in order to complete the race as soon as possible, not just for the satisfaction of conquering the course but in order to escape the harsh conditions. The fastest participants are able to complete the race by the 30-hour mark, but many admit it's difficult to predict who will have the physical and mental fortitude to make it to the end, let alone doing so in good time.

Friends, relatives, fans and followers will be pleased to know that competitors' progress can be tracked via the official website as they seek to conquer, or be conquered by, just one small part of the formidable Sahara.

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