Romanian Iulian Rotariu ranks 4th in the Gobi March


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Romanian Iulian Rotariu, a 40-year-old firefighter for ISU Nicolae Iorga Botosani, northern Romania, ranked fourth in the Gobi March desert race.

Iulian Rotariu is a first-time 4 Deserts competitor. An experienced runner, he has participated in SaharaMarathon and many mountain marathons. He has also traveled throughout Romania to compete in races including Maraton Piatra Craiului, Eco Maraton, Maratonul Zapezii and Bucegi 7500 Ultra Maraton.

Now, Rotariu ran for a charitable cause to support autistic children in his hometown, wearing the Romanian tricolor 250 km through the desert and climbing up to 2,900 metres altitude. He is to return home on June 29.

Only 87 runners in 101 ended the competition that was held June 19-25. The toughest stage was the one of the 5th day when the runners had to cross the desert on almost 88-km area at temperatures of over 40-Celsius degrees.

Iulian Rotariu was supported in his endeavor by the ISU Botosani, which paid the participation fee and part of the equipment, by the local authorities which paid the air-travel tickets, by his friends, colleagues and sponsors.

Iulian Rotariu started running after his 10yo son diagnosed with a congenital malformation had suffered a heart surgery when he was 3. Iulian ran around the hospital and prayed while his son was in the operating room.

After that, he joined the first organized competition, a mountain marathon in Piatra Craiului, just wearing sneakers bought from the market, wool socks and vest knitted by his grandmother.

Gobi March is part of the series, the toughest endurance competition comprising four ultra marathons. Each of them last seven days on a 250-km route in one of the toughest deserts in the world: Atacama Crossing in Chile, Gobi March in China, Sahara Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica).

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