Team Sri Lanka comprising Shihan John and retired Army Major Ruwan Ranatunga safely completed the sixth and final stage of four deserts Atacama leg last Saturday (8 October). They managed to ended up in an overall 66th and 67th position by running 250 kilometres through unforgiving desert terrain for a period of six days.
The race included 128 participants from 42 countries across the globe, all determined to have an experience of a lifetime. The grueling Atacama Desert terrain consisted elevations rising to 1600 metres with temperatures around 40 Celsius at day time.
The Atacama Crossing challenged competitors with hot days, cold nights and if that is not challenging enough the course included 5km/3 miles of walking through water in a slot canyon; climbing 150 metre/500 foot sand dunes; crossing salt flats where the terrain is described as “frozen broccoli which is melting” or “a coral reef which snaps under your feet”; and through Moon Valley where it felt like you are on the Moon. NASA actually uses the Atacama Desert to try out a lot of their Mars rovers because it resembles the Mars terrain quite a bit.
Shihan and Ruwan, right throughout the race, ran together resembling a pride of lions focused on their goal of completing one of the worlds’ most physically enduring terrains. With the help of Garmin wearable GPS smart watches, they were able to reach the final stage finish line safely as a team.
The Garmin Fenix 3 hr smart watch is capable of enduring 20 hours of battery life with the GPS on and is considered one of the best in its class. The watch core is built with tough composite fiber and has a water rating of 10 ATM, making it ideal for any rugged outdoor activity. Fenix 3 comprises Garmin multisport features which range from, running, gym workout, rowing, trekking, cycling, swimming and triathlon. Garmin even throws in hunting, fishing and golf apps, making it a reliable and a versatile smart watch for any active lifestyle. Garmin gives the user the convenience of synching through many other Garmin devices such as VIRB action camera, Edge bike computer etc. It’s also capable of receiving SMS alerts on the watch by pairing with mobile devices through Bluetooth.