Ultra Gobi China 2019


7-15th August 2019

Applications open: 27th March- 24th April 2019


China? Are you kidding me? For real!? Medicine can take me to the Gobi in China!? Tell me more, RIGHT NOW!

This is the fourth time that Exile Medics will be providing the full medical support on the legendary Ultra Trail Gobi in China- and its going to be the biggest, most spectacular event you can imagine. You will be working as an expedition and wilderness medic for 8 days on a 400km non stop race through the eastern Gobi desert, and facing challenges every minute of every day. Make no mistake- this is a physically demanding, challenging and testing race- you must be prepared for a very trying time.

In the Gobi Desert and Tibetan Plateau. In China. With Exile Medics.

Need more?

Well- your flights are......covered (up to £500) 

You will have to pay the Exile Medics fee, which is £180 for this event, and you need a Chinese Visa (the cost varies depending on your passport), and we will help you arrange this. You'll have to take a tent, sleeping bag and some food with you.

The working language is a mixture of English and Chinese- there will be translators an local on the ground consultant support from local senior medics. You will have UK based consultant support, satellite communications and cellphone cover for the whole course. Local hospitals are on board and you will, sadly, be forced to travel by 4x4 vehicles across the eastern plains of the Gobi. Sorry if that's not your thing!

Lots more info about the event is at the website


*Looking for map place names? No no no. No English names exist for where you’re going……

Before you head to the application at the bottom of the page, see the details below

Ultra Gobi has moved! Previous editions of Ultra Gobi were held in the east of the Gobi Desert, just north of the Tibetan Plateau, but after five years of holding the race there, we can no longer continue to do so for administrative reasons. We moved the race about 100 kilometres farther south and a little higher - to the Tibetan Plateau itself! 

Administratively the new location is called Haixi Tibetan and Mongol Autonomous Prefecture – formerly completely closed to foreign visitors, it is a very little visited wilderness at 3000m above sea level. Here the two great nomadic cultures meet – the Mongol world meets the Tibetan one. 

Geographically the location is called Chaidam Depression – one of the most beautiful yet inhospitable places on Earth. It is extremely arid, can be bitterly cold, but it is not all high-altitude desert - saline lakes are plentiful here.

Because of higher elevation we had to move the date of the race forward, or it would get simply too cold – the race dates are now 7th – 15th August. We are still finalising the race course and will release the details as soon as it is fixed. 

Schedule (400km): 
7th August - arrival (can also arrive on the 6th) in Dunhuang (DNH) – race briefing and compulsory gear check
8th – compulsory gear check continues – bus to race start (6-hour drive)
9th – race starts near Huatugou, Haixi Tibetan and Mongol Autonomous Prefecture
15th – race officially ends (finish in Huatugou) - prize giving ceremony and dinner
16th – departure for Dunhuang by bus

The race format and organisation are exactly the same. Cut – off time is 147 hours. 

This was a sudden change due to factors outside our control, but the new location is more special, wilder and more challenging for runners. It is still a desert, yet on the roof of the world! Haixi is so little visited by outsiders and so remote that English names do not seem to exist for many places that runners will go through, only Chinese and Mongolian or Tibetan – such as the grasslands, the thermal springs and the saline lakes.


Cost: The Ultra Gobi 2019 costs £250 (including the necessary yet hated VAT at 20%) for the administrative fee. You will need to buy your flight, but will receive approximately £500 towards it from the race organisers after the event. You will need to submit a claim for this via the website so that we can keep the paper trail together. There will be no accommodation costs and you will be bringing your own tents and sleeping bags. Though food is provided, its not to everyones taste, and we suggest that you bring your own food.

Dates: You should aim to be in Beijing on the 6th September 2019, and will be flown to Dunhuang that day or the next. You will need to arrange your hotel in Beijing for that night (This is to be confirmed). The race will begin on the morning of the 7th August 2019 in Qinghai. You will be able to fly home from the 16th August 2019, though we strongly suggest that you plan a late departure or leave the next day to allow for the vagaries of Asian travel.

Food: Food is provided, though it is rural Chinese cuisine which is not to everyones taste. As a result, we suggest that you bring some food and snacks for the duration of the event. There are cooking facilities at each location along the course.

Accommodation: On arrival in Beijing, the team may need to stay in a hotel. This will be confirmed nearer the time, but may require you to arrange yourself. All accommodation following this is covered UNLESS you need a night in Beijing at the end of the event- that is on you again.

You will spend the week in your own tent, though 2 can share. You MUST HAVE a good sleeping bag as it is very, very cold at night.

Communication: Mobile phone coverage is good, though we expect satellite phones to be in use where mobile coverage is poor.

Flights: You will need to buy your flight, but will receive approximately £500 towards it from the race organisers after the event. You should aim to be in Beijing on the 5th August 2019, and will be flown to Qinghai that day or the next. You will be able to fly home from the 16th August 2019, though we strongly suggest that you plan a late departure or leave the next day to allow for the vagaries of Asian travel.


Visa: Those with British passports currently require a visa, though if you are from other countries then please check. We recommend that you check the entry requirements before you book your flights. Please be aware that we do not know the potential impact of Brexit on travel as yet. Please check with your local Chinese consulate prior to booking any travel that the requirements haven't changed for your particular passport. We will offer all the necessary letters and support for your visa applications, which typically take 1 week.

You are not obliged to drive or operate any vehicle during this or any other Exile Medics events. 

Application Deadline: 24th April 2019

Medical Students/ F1s X Nurses ✔ Paramedics ✔ Physiotherapists ✔ Doctors ✔

Ready? Think you can handle it? Sure? Really Sure? Then Apply here...


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