Mon, Jul 12, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Local runner takes first place in desert marathon

DESERT STORMER After seven days in the driest place on earth, Lin Yi-chieh became the first Asian athlete to capture the top award in a supermarathon

CNA , TAIPEI

Taiwan's marathon athlete Lin Yi-chieh displays the Taiwanese flag after winning the Atacama Crossing 2004 in Chile on Saturday.

PHOTO: HAN-CHUANG MARKETING CO

Local marathon runner Lin Yi-chieh (林義傑) has won the 250km race across Chile's Atacama Desert, which is known as the world's driest place, sports sources said yesterday.

Lin finished first in the seven-day-six-night supermarathon race a day earlier, making him the first athlete from Asia to capture the top award in a world supermarathon contest.

A spokesman for Eros Sports Marketing said Lin has turned a new page in Taiwan's supermarathon race history.

Lin was quoted as having said he felt proud and excited when he reached the finish line and hoisted the Taiwanese national flag in the Chilean desert.

Only the world's top 100 marathon runners were invited to take part in the first ever six-stage race, called the Atacama Crossing 2004, because the natural environment of the terrain to be crossed is tough and unpredictable, the Eros spokesman said.

"The temperatures of the six sections of the route ranged from 50?C to -18?C, and the altitudes averaged 3,000km above sea level, with some places rising as high as 4,000km above sea level," the spokesman said.

Lin, who ended 12th in the Sahara Race and third in the Gobi March held in previous years, was the only local runner to be invited to compete in the Atacama Crossing.

Lin ended first in five of the six stages of the race, and he completed the whole race nearly one hour before Charlie Engle of the US, who was is second place.

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