From the glories of Genghis Khan’s empire to the present day. The charm of Mongolia remains unshaken and unchanged over the centuries. Land of expanses, steppes and deserts, of wayfarers and shepherds. The world told in the Milione, the book of the long travel and experience of Marco Polo, son of a family of merchants from Venice. Mongolia is a vast expanse conditioned by a climate that is anything but mild, where landscapes, habitats and traditions are perfectly preserved and handed down from generation to generation.
With Joan Carbonel, organizer of the mongolia trail run, let’s discover this part of the world.
Hi Joan, welcome back, let’s start immediately with a dry question: what led you to tie yourself to Mongolia?
Mongolia had always been an undiscovered territory for me. Luckily, I got to know it in 2017 on a motorcycle trip. Upon returning home I felt the need to create a trail running product in these beautiful landscapes. Undoubtedly a very romantic project, made from the heart.
What are the major differences between the European world and the Mongolian civilization?
The relationship with nature and the relationship with time. The race takes place in places where time seems to stand still. It is a merit of wanting to preserve the traditions of the Mongolian nomads. Their lifestyle, their customs, their freedom in such a vast space. The relationship with the animals and the acceptance that nature is strong and capricious, always adapting. They are hospitable by necessity and it shows at all times.
What are the aspects that most fascinate you about this land and the most controversial ones?
I am fascinated by the landscape, the animals in freedom, the power of nature, the Mongolian culture and how proud they are of it, contemplating the nomadic lifestyle in which few Europeans could adapt with our frenetic day to day life. To gain time to time. Time to exist and to feel life.
It is controversial the difference between the capital and the rural areas, the need they have to want to westernize (or Americanize), the sudden changes of weather in which you can go from sun and heat to cold summer.
In addition to being a running experience, the Mongolia Trail Run is above all a travel experience: how do these two factors complement each other in your proposal?
Without a doubt, Mongolia Trail Run is more than a race. It is a trip that integrates the trail running stage race with that other part that shows you the nomadic culture, either with visits to local yurts to talk to them, see how and what they do, how is their daily life, visits to museums, temples, the explanations of the guides, the relationship with the local staff of the race … all this makes you experience a great trip, a trip more complete than the simple race. Now, the routes of the stages have been designed to show various landscapes of Mongolia, from the desert to the steppe and passing through its hills and forests; the last stage, passing by several important monuments of the Karkhorin area, ends in one of the most important preserved temples of Mongolia, so that you end up not only discovering a territory doing sport, but you become impregnated with its people and traditions.
How is it possible to participate in the Mongolia Trail Run and what are the requirements to participate?
Participating in the Mongolia Trail Run has the differential fact that it allows you to run with a small backpack of about 20 liters each day. Just enough to carry the mandatory material (raincoat, gloves and hat) plus 1 kitro of water and some food, since the stages have an average of 30 km and every 10 km there is a refreshment station. At the end of the stages, the life bag is recovered along with a complete buffet prepared to recover strength. And once in the accommodation, (campsites called Tourist camps) you will have a yurt to rest where your travel suitcase will be, a hot shower and a recovering dinner.
This race format allows you to easily recover from the wear and tear of each day, so participating in the Mongolia Trail Run does not require more than being a little fit and being a regular runner or walker. Another of the facilities offered is being able to participate in the Nomad modality, in which you can skip 2 stages, if for some reason you need to rest one day.
And how could it be otherwise, Mongolia Trail Run is open to accompanying persons with a parallel cultural program during race hours. Are you coming?
Discover Mongolia Trail Run and all fascinating RTW races HERE
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Foto credit: Mongoliatrailrun
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