The marshal says yes after trying to double confirm to meet in 5 minutes and he is actually just saying yes as it’s one of the limited words the Russian Kazak staff member knows trying to not be embarrassed or losing face in front of his other colleagues. Welcome to Kazakhstan, an unforgettable amazing safe country in Central Asia that has Action Asia Events stretching the envelope into a new frontier after other 3 day ultra-marathons and single day events across Asia over the past 20 years.
It was never going to be as smooth as the Gobi desert of Mongolia having done so many editions or the Nepal Action Asia with a steady group of good English speaking mountain goats as if there was any word to describe the Kazakhstan Action Asia event it would be purely ‘raw’ in the sense that compared to other overseas events this was on a total different level in terms of organizing events due to the unique style, locations that were far and remote away from any villages that had anything to offer and just trying to explain to staff in general the reason so many crazy hikers and runners would want to push themselves thru canyons and desert compared to shopping and staying in a nice hotel.
It was a true privilege being around so many hard core outdoor adventure enthusiasts that just braved the situations and got on with life with no telephone, no internet, heavy rain on 1 day and temperatures bouncing from one extreme to another. Not to mention the rocks under the thin mat carpet to make sure you woke up feeling great to run a marathon after a local Kazak breakfast washed down with milk tea.
There were many comments from the participants, but Delphine Riche-Franz summarized the experience in her French way which made us all realize how lucky we are to experience raw nature. “Unforgettable Kazakhstan Action Asia 3 day Ultra Marathon. More than just a race in a beautiful and vast country, those 3 days out in the nature with so many old and new friends while sleeping in yurts and living with no electricity, no hot water, no toilet and no coverage, just surrounded by stunning views ~ were once in a life time experience!” She continued saying “we had a fantastic blue sky, crispy air, a full moon, snow-capped mountains in the distance, we ran into canyons, on cliffs, along beautiful hills and swam in a freezing river laughing like teenagers while having beer, woke up to a beautiful sunrise and had a bit of cold rain at the end to add to the fun, what more could we have asked for? We completely disconnected from our modern life and lived fully in the present with everyone sharing this common adventure in the middle of nowhere. A big thank you to Vincent for your photographic and organizational talents, our DB team was the best. And hat off again to Michael Maddess for always surprising us with stunning courses!
I had so much fun running those hilly 65k, chatting along the way or just enjoying the beautiful and various landscapes, the delicious plant smells and the fresh air, and I am so grateful for my legs that let me finish 1st lady and 4th overall in 8 hours and 7 minutes. It wasn't as competitive as in HK and it didn't matter how fast we were and how little and uncomfortable we slept, we all crossed the finish line with a massive smile on our face, all asking the same question: where are we going next?!
Eric Champion decided to bring his wife after a few solo Action Asia Events in the past. “The Kazakhstan Asia Action event 100K ultra marathon was another amazing experience: good friends, new ones and special mention to my wife who is not only a super wife, a super mum, but also a super-woman! Podium finish as 2nd overall on top ... couldn’t ask for more! Can’t wait for another Action Asia challenge next year!”
Caroline Ruga another fast mountain goat in the hills who did well overall commented saying “the race course was well designed with a suitable distance that even a beginner can manage to do. The overseas race destination is very special and it’s also a great chance to meet different like-minded companions and experience exotic Culture :)”.
Matt Skeggs with his busy work schedule didn’t have a chance to fit as many training days in as he would have liked compared to some of the previous Action Asia overseas events he has participated in and said “Brutal 100k race across Kazak plains, valleys and gorges. Sadly only completed around 86k - but amazing trip and met some wonderful people! Definitely will be back and recommend to friends”.
"What an incredible adventure!!!" said Louise Greene.
Nina Schulte-Mattler commented saying ‘Fantastic weekend in Kazakhstan, thanks to the most amazing team, cold fresh air, wonderful countryside, the setup (5 star for very basic!) and most of all to Vincent Ypersiel who kicked my butt to join all! Loved it! Where are we going next?!"
Vincent Ypersiel was huge smiles at the finish saying “Awesome, this ultramarathon in Kazakhstan was awesome. Three day of trails running, total connection with nature in a vast empty landscape, friendly locals and the best of all, catching up with my inspiring and incredible friends. Despite a bit of suffering and injuries, we made it.”
Europe based Siegrid Ferla who always keeps coming back to our Action Asia Events mentioned “Fantastic experience in Kazakhstan!!! Thank you Michael (and the Action Asia Events team) for organizing this ultra trail!”
Jonathan Mak from Hong Kong stated “ It is difficult to forget it...Although it was a short journey, memory is eternal ~ Thank you Michael and Action Asia Events to arrange the event to the end and create a spectacular memory with all of us. I understand that I can’t stop and I have to keep painting for the Artworks called: “Life”.
From a diehard mountain biker, adventure athlete Neville Bailey has been doing many of the hardcore Action Asia events over the past 15+ years and said “A fantastic adventure in a beautiful country. We met so many new and old friends, all with common interests, and for many of us, just completing the event was a huge personal achievement. The journey through canyons, mountains, plains as far as the eye could see and snow capped mountains in the background, the crisp morning air and a hot cup of tea at 5:30am, all unforgettable highlights and lifetime memories. The highs and lows - both geographically and mentally - they made the challenge - those finish line photos say it all!
What a great trip!”
Christian Viviloco Secci the Co-founder and CEO at Pakpobox was blown away and said "If you are looking for a real outdoor experience, totally immersed in nature with very interesting people, out of your comfort zone, Action Asia Kazakhstan Ultra is definitely the event to attend. Every Action Asia multi stage race I learn something new about myself and about the world. I spent 3 days with no internet, no laptop, no work. Just being present and focus on the beauty of Mother Nature around me. Priceless".
The Action Asia Events team is busy looking to update the 2020 calendar and will rely on feedback for upcoming events, but don’t forget another stunning inspiring Nepal location is coming up in November in some beautiful hidden valleys way off the tourist track that will bring you another unforgettable 'ridgeline' nature experience.
The Action Asia Events team.
Written by Michael Maddess