(19 May 2012, Petra, Jordan) – Paolo Barghini has made a triumphant win today in the ancient city of Petra, completing the 250-kilometer Roving Race with a time of 27:11:03.
“My strategy was to win the first stage with a good lead, and then again in the second stage, and then to control the race from there” said the 52-year-old endurance runner who hails from Italy’s Tuscany region. “It went just as I thought,” he added. “After winning the 2009 Sahara Race under the Pyramids of Giza, it’s nice to win this race in Petra!”
Germany’s Rafael Fuchsgruber kept pace with Barghini for much of the six-day course and earned second place with an overall time of 27:48:53. “This is the best race, the best week I’ve ever had,” said the 50-year-old. In third place was Britain’s Peter Lee, a Hong Kong-based personal trainer, who finished in a time of 28:18:04.
Women’s winner Katia C. Figini put in an exceptional performance with a finish time of 29:37:03. The 36-year-old Italian runner, whose resume includes first place in the women’s division of the Sahara Race 2010, said, “This course is fantastic. This desert is fantastic–maybe the best desert that I have ever seen.” Hong Kong based Lucy Marriott of the United Kingdom finished second in the women’s division with a time of 31:12:07 and Poland’s Natalia Sierant in third position at 34:44:24.
It was one of the most stunning settings of any Roving Race, with a diverse range of terrain from hills to canyons, cliffs, sand dunes, gorges and ancient city grounds. The race opened in Wadi Rum and moved through four deserts before finishing in Petra.
The combination of challenging terrain and several days of hot temperatures made it a particularly grueling race for the teams. Only one of the four original teams taking part was able to conclude as a collective—the others opted to finish as individuals.
The MARCH, with members Blain Davis, Sophie Collett and Cameron Lawes, emerged as the team champions, proving their exceptional teamwork. “It was the hardest long day I’ve ever done,” said Collett. “It was a very difficult race to do as a team, and we’re all very excited that we finished. This was the most beautiful finish ever.”
Despite the difficulty of the course, there was one the lowest withdrawals rates of any RacingThePlanet event—only 12 of the approximately 150 starters were unable to finish. This may be a result of the experienced nature of this year’s field; a massive 70% of competitors had competed in previous RacingThePlanet / 4 Deserts races.
“Everyone did extremely well,” commented Event Director, Samantha Fanshawe, as competitors gathered for the historic final stage. “This was possibly the lowest withdrawal rate of any of our races despite the difficulty of the course. And [it was an incredible] victory lap, running down The Siq to finish in front of The Treasury in the world renowned UNESCO heritage site of Petra.”
Next year, the Roving Race moves from the heart of the Middle East, to one of the most pristine islands of the Northern Hemisphere. The 2013 Roving Race starts on August 4th amid the geysers, volcanoes, waterfalls, glaciers and green hills of Iceland.