Jax Mariash Koudele is the female champion of the 4 Deserts Race Series race in Sahara (Namibia). This is her second of five races this year to be the first female in the world to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus in support of the LymeLight Foundation.
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (May. 9, 2016) – Professional Endurance runner Jax Mariash Koudele became the female champion and sixth overall of the Global 4 Deserts race series stop in Sahara (Namibia) over the weekend. The Sahara (Namibia) stop is the second of five for Koudele to become the first woman in the World to complete the series Grand Slam Plus. “I am so thrilled with the result in Namibia. The competition was extremely tough between the top women and thus took all of your will and grit to stay in the top position,” Jax noted.
Through the six self-supported stages, Koudele took a strategy to make sure over the race that she held back and maintained her energy for the 250k (155-mile) endurance race. Koudele settled into second position for the first two stages and on stage three she took over the lead and continued to increase the gap as stage six commenced. For final results, Koudele had a total time of 29:10.20 for the 250k race. Kathia Rached from Lebanon came in second with a time of 30:03.38 followed by Magdalena Dombak of Germany in 31:03.37.
198 competitors out of 219 successfully made it to the finish line in Torra Bay after a week long journey of mixed hot and windy weather and challenging terrain through the Skeleton Coast National Park in the Namib Desert through 6 stages. Competitors ran on a mixture of gravel, sand, beach, sand dunes and granite fields, all while carrying everything that they need to survive on their backs. The event staff would only provide water, medical aid in extreme cases and a tent to share with up to nine others. Each evening, competitors were given the opportunity to blog about their stage at the cyber tent allowing them to share their story with family and friends.
Koudele will continue on her Grand Slam Plus journey to the Gobi March in the Xinjiang providence starting June 19th. In the 14 years of the 4 Deserts race series, an annual event of ultra-marathons held across the globe in desolate and challenging terrain, there have only been three men to complete the Grand Slam Plus. The Grand Slam Plus is a series of five 250k (155 mile), multi-day foot races across the roughest terrain in the world. It includes the 4 Deserts Grand Slam plus the Roving Race – in the same calendar year. Koudele (representing U.S. and Canada and raising awareness and funds for the LymeLight Foundation) will attempt to not only become the first female ever to complete this grueling challenge, but also to podium at all five races. She is off to a successful start placing second female in the first stop in Sri Lanka and with her win in Sahara (Namibia) this past weekend.
Koudele is passionate about raising awareness and funds for the LymeLight Foundation. Koudele wants children suffering with Lyme disease to get the treatment they need to heal and get back outdoors to experience the beauty of nature. The LymeLight Foundation is very special to her, as many close to her have been affected with the disease. She has witnessed, first-hand, the devastating effects the disease can cause. Koudele hopes to be a beacon of HOPE for all.
“The LymeLight Foundation is thrilled and honored to partner with Jax on this amazing athletic feat. We are grateful that while she is circling the globe challenging herself with each new desert, she will also be raising Lyme awareness and bringing hope and healing to children suffering from the disease,” said Phyllis Bedford, development director for the LymeLight Foundation. “We will be cheering her on every step of the way.”
Koudele invites supporters to show their support throughout the year by donating funds through her fundraising page.
In 2016, the Grand Slam Plus races begin with the Roving Race in Sri Lanka on Feb. 14, followed by the 4 Deserts races on the hottest (Namibia), windiest (Gobi March), driest (Atacama Crossing) and coldest (Antarctica) deserts in the world. Each race consists of seven days out in the desert moving camp to camp each day. The race format starts with four stages (days) in a row with 22-28 miles per day. On day five, racers run approximately 50 miles (known as the Long March) followed by a rest day. On the 7th day, athletes complete the 250k (155 mile) journey with a 10k jaunt to the finish line.
In addition to the terrain being so challenging, the race is also made more arduous by the requirement that athletes be self-sufficient, carrying everything they need to survive on their backs. The only support from staff is hot and cold water, medical treatment, and a tent space to share with nine other competitors. The race format is so grueling and the terrain so undulating that it is not uncommon for racers to walk away from an event feeling super human. Koudele hopes that through her achievement completing each race, others will find inspiration in her passion for the outdoors and will get outdoors themselves. She is also hoping that her efforts will help make a difference in the lives of those children suffering from Lyme, helping them more quickly get back outside.
Koudele is currently sponsored by Drip Drop , ZEAL Optics, VOKE TAB, CEP Compression, Expedition Foods, Beet Performer, Salomon, and Stoked Roasters + Coffeehouse. Follow Koudele in this year-long journey on her website, and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
About the LymeLight Foundation:
Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease in the world, with at least 300,000 new cases each year in the United States alone. Lyme disease occurs in all states in the U.S. and is endemic in 63 countries across Asia, Latin America, North Africa and Europe.
Founded in 2011, the LymeLight Foundation’s mission is to help children and young adults struggling with Lyme disease to gain access and pay for proper medical treatment, and to prevent the long-term effects of Lyme disease through public awareness and education.
About the 4 Deserts Event Series:
The 4 Deserts Race Series is widely recognized as the most prestigious outdoor footrace series in the
world. The series consists of the Sahara Race (Namibia), Gobi March (China), Atacama Crossing (Chile) -and The Last Desert (Antarctica). In February 2008, a fifth event, called the Roving Race, was added to the 4 Deserts calendar. Competitors in the 5 races traverse 250 kilometers in seven days over rough country terrain with only a place in a tent and water provided. They are supported by highly qualified staff, all with experience in hiking, marathons and ultramarathons, and medical teams specializing in wilderness medicine.
The 4 Deserts Race Series was founded in Hong Kong in February 2002 by American Mary Gadams. A former investment banker and strategist by day, Gadams was a well-known figure in adventure and endurance sport with finishes in numerous marathons, ultramarathons and wilderness competitions around the world. A list of quick facts on the 4 Desert Race series dives into various facts of the series over the past 14 years.
Event Dates and Locations:
· Sri Lanka: Feb. 14-20, 2016
· Sahara (Namibia): May 1-8, 2016
· Gobi March: June 19-25, 2016
· Atacama Crossing: Oct. 2-8, 2016
· Antarctica: Nov. 18-24, 2016
About Jax Mariash Koudele:
Jax Mariash Koudele is a professional ultra-runner, entrepreneur and ski mountaineer racer. Recent accomplishments include a marathon win, eight ultra marathons (placed in the top three in six races), as well as podium finishes in various smaller distances. Most recently, Jax was the 2nd female in the world-renowned 4 Deserts Atacama Crossing in Chile, and took 4th female in the 100-mile Javalina Jundred three weeks later.
This challenge is not the first Koudele has faced to raise awareness for causes that matter most to her and her family. Previously, Koudele ran 365 days in a row to create awareness and raise funds for cancer research. Through the successful completion of this challenge in May 2012, Koudele raised $3,572 for cancer causes and inspired her supporters and followers to find their own health and purpose outside.
An entrepreneur of two businesses, Stoked Roasters + Coffeehouse and MARiASH MARKETiNG, Koudele taps into running and skiing to find her zen and has a very humble take on the sport. Her ultimate goal is to inspire the masses to step outside and move with passion as a means to reduce obesity, disease and other health issues.