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Chinese gold collars not too spoiled to trek

By Nie Xin and Qu Zhi   (Shanghai Daily)

14:48, February 04, 2013

Participants rest during the Sahara Race 2012 in Egypt last October. Some successful young Chinese people take a break from hard work to take on some of the most challenging environments on the planet in grueling competitions.(Shanghai Daily)

Four young "gold collars" - some without much training or planning - complete a grueling run or trek in the Sahara Desert and go for other extreme adventures. They talk to Nie Xin and Qu Zhi.

Wealthy "gold-collar" Chinese, especially young people, are typically topics of gossip because of their ostentation, indulgence and private lives.

But not all of them are wastrels, throwing away family money.

Some successful businessmen and businesswomen take a break from hard work to take on some of the most challenging environments on the planet in grueling competitions. Of course, it takes a lot of money to participate.

One of the competition is RacingThePlanet, founded in 2002 by American Mary Gadams, a former investment banker and strategist.

The competition features four annual desert races, the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China, the Sahara Race in Egypt and the Last Desert in Antarctica.

These races cover some of the world's most inhospitable terrain, around 250 kilometers in each case.

Competitors racing foot are provided only with a tent and water each day.

Four participants in the Sahara Race 2012 in Egypt last October described to Shanghai Daily the seven-day endurance event that began in the Valley of the Whales and ended at the Pyramids of Giza on the western outskirts of Cairo. And other exhilarating experiences.

Singaporean Ken Wee, around age 40, spends his time between Hong Kong and Shanghai and he's hooked on the Sahara. Wee is head of strategic projects in China and Northeast Asia for SME Banking Standard Chartered.

"It's an emotional roller coaster. It's a lot of fun and a lot of pain. The place is beautiful and I met some lovely people," he said of the race in the Egyptian desert.

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