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Eric LaHaie '02 Wins Another Ultra-Marathon Race

Taklamakan Desert, China – Former Harvard football player and All-Ivy League safety Eric LaHaie ’02 recently won a 60-mile ultra-marathon race through the Taklamakan Desert in China. The victory comes on the heels of a milestone win for LaHaie last summer when he won the Gobi March 2009, named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Endurance Competitions in the World.

“I was proud I was able to push through even though I constantly thought about stopping to rest or walk,” said LaHaie. “This is not to say the course wasn't challenging; it was actually one of the more difficult course I have encountered - tons of soft sand which slowly drained the energy in your legs with every step.”

The 29 year old LaHaie has been one of the top competitors on the RacingThePlanet competition circuit – a competition realm unlike any other in the world. One of just three Americans to finish in the top 10, LaHaie finished ahead of race favorite Yun Yanqiao by a almost three hours. LaHaie finished the course in just under 11 hours and 20 minutes while Yanqiao finished in just over 14 hours.

Located in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in China, the Taklamakan Desert is sometimes called the “sea of death.” Its name roughly translates as: “you can get in, but you can never get out.”

That may be because this is one of the largest shifting-sand deserts on earth, the landscape changes constantly, and you can get swallowed up in sand storms. But it’s also said to be a magnificent place, with towering sand dunes, and villages cradled in green oases.

For LaHaie, these events are completely different from participating in a marathon. “It is more psychological, especially getting up every morning, sore or not,” said LaHaie.  “I was looking for a different challenge – and I got it.”