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Meet the youngest female racing the planet’s four deserts

A woman in a white jacket smiling during the 4 deserts race.

1 girl, 4 deserts, 1000kms, 28 days, and the race of your life. Seems impossible right?

Meet the girl who is making the impossible, possible. Jacqui Bell, a 23-year-old Australian, is on a mission to be the youngest female to cross the planet’s four deserts in one calendar year (2018). Combining running and walking, pushing herself to the limit both mentally and physically, she will be tackling the Sahara Race in Namibia, the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China and The Last Desert in Antarctica, with Racing the Planet. Oh, and did I mention it is all self-supported. Yep, she has to carry everything she needs with her, including equipment and food for each 7-day race, given only water and a tent from the event. HERO, am I right?! I mean I’m tired just thinking about it.

A woman participating in the 4 deserts race jogging in the mountains with a backpack.

Jacqui has had to overcome her own personal battles along the journey, which in turn have become her biggest motivators. She is driven by the desire to raise awareness around mental health and specifically depression – an illness she has struggled with in the past. By combining her love for and career in fitness she is doing just that, using the 4 Desert Grand Slam to do so. Throughout this journey Jacqui aims to raise $20,000 in support of the White Cloud Foundation, and at the halfway mark is already well on track to completing this goal. Having completed 2 of the races thus far (the Sahara Race and the Gobi March), she still has a long way to go (500kms to be exact), but is not shying away from the challenge.  

A woman taking a selfie on a trail during the 4 deserts race.

As expected, it has taken Jacqui a lot to get here, with months of training and preparation for each race. But through the support of her family and friends, along with an A-team of specialists and coaches, she is ticking off those milestones. Jacqui’s efforts are not going unnoticed either, gaining her sponsorship and backing from several well-known brands including Lululemon, Kathmandu, Flight Centre Sports and Event, and Allianz Travel Insurance. 

A woman tying her shoes at a rainbow-colored city beach.

With her next race fast approaching (30th of September), Jacqui is focusing on taking the unique learning experiences from each race to provide her with valuable skills she can take into the next. When asked how she was feeling about the challenge ahead – she said, “I can’t wait for the next 500kms worth of life lessons.” Blogging the adventure herself as a chronicle of her trip, her story is an inspiration and motivation to us all.


A group of people participating in the 4 Deserts Race, wearing backpacks and medals.