The Red Bulletin June 2019

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Ultra Gobi

Carnegie: “I have a voicemail from James saved on my phone. He was less than 500m from the finish, could hear the music blaring and see the

lights projecting into the sky, but was aimlessly running around a quarry. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.”

Poole: “The Ultra Gobi runners receive an unusual gift

before the start: one half of a small statuette of a tiger – a

‘tiger tally’. The other half is awarded after the successful

completion of the race. These tallies were used by military

officers in ancient China as a representation of authority.

A commander in a frontier region such as the Gobi might

leave half of his tally behind in a fortress, then provide the

matching half as ID when sending back orders. Leaving

half of your tally behind is a pledge you’ll return.”

Carnegie: “After 93 hours and 25 minutes in the desert,

James crosses the finish line in Dunhuang. The Ultra Gobi

ends at a ‘centuries-old’ fort, which is actually a museum

that was built recently to give tourists ‘the Silk Road

experience’, complete with staff in warrior suits. It’s

completely bizarre and I can’t imagine what it must have

felt like emerging to this after four days in a desert.”

THE RED BULLETIN 85

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