From April 30-May 7, 2016 Yon González and his co-pilot Bogdan Ater (an author and artist) raced across the Moroccan desert in the car that Yon built himself.. They followed the 3000 km course from the coastal city of Nador to the desert town of Mhamid and back to the beaches of Ras El-Ma.. Here is a compilation of their journey and a recounting of their experience as fans from around the globe watched via internet... Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to begin reading from Day 1.
About the Marathon
In this marathon the winner is the one who reaches the finishing line with the least penalty points. It is not about being the fastest but the most constant, the most ingenious. It's about who adapts best to the route conditions and times. The course covers sand dunes in the desert, winding rivers and winding mountainous roads. And, the itinerary includes compulsory routes and compulsory waypoints, which are both obligatory. Drivers are limited to driving at certain speeds in particular areas and may only drive for 12 hours in a day.
Here is a new video of Yon González and his co-pilot Bogdan Ater, on the final day of the Marathon Challenge. In this video Yon tells us that this has been their first rally and that they have endured a lot. The two talk about the joy of the competition and getting to know Morocco in a way they never could have known. And when Yon is asked whether he would consider changing his career from acting to racing he says " I like acting so much... I'd like to do both: drive when I'm not working." Well, we are relieved to hear you like acting... We hope to see you in many more roles for years to come. Enhorabuena Yon!
Well, Yon's car, Opportunity Team #33 made it to the finish line at Ras El-Ma Beach on time today. For those of us watching online, it was an amazing adventure. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to actually do it! By the expression on everyone's face it is clear that this is an occasion they will never forget. Even if some may have done this marathon before, it is probably never the same experience twice. Yon didn't tell the public at large he was doing this marathon.. We just happened upon it.. and it was our good fortune.. I hope he doesn't mind that we have shared his exploits over the past 7 days with you all. And I hope he realizes the thrill we have all experienced watching his trials and tribulations.. the satisfaction we felt when he overcame the obstacles that came his way with steadfast determination, and the warmth we felt when he showed his humanity in difficult situations. Yon, on behalf of your many many fans I want to thank you for this adventure.. You are as exciting a person in your real life as you are in your television and movie persona. Bravo!
Yon and his partner (who we found out is the artist and author Bogdan Ater), came in 8th place with 44,275 penalty points and 2 days and 13 hours of driving time.
For more information about Marathon Challenge click here.
Today was the last full day of the Marathon Challenge. And tomorrow the marathon contestants head to the finish line by Ras El-Ma beach near Nador Morocco. What a day it was! While most of us were battling traffic on our way to and from work, Yon was battling a raging river, torrential rainstorms and hail! in the desert!! After a harrowing day in the sand dunes yesterday, Yon and his partner Bogdan Ater (Opportunity Team #33) found themselves in the midst of a river stuck and with a flat tire. Perhaps they had already used their spare, but for whatever reason they were without a spare. In a race against the clock to meet their obligatory check point, the marathon organizers sent a car to bring them a spare tire. Once there, they had to use a winch to drag the car out of the river!! And after more than an hour of lost time, Yon was back on the road again.. But Mother Nature had other plans for them. She showered them with torrential hail storms that turned the desert white. The drive was so treacherous on that stretch of the road that the police stopped them from moving ahead for a period of time. Alas, Yon was not able to make the obligatory checkpoint in time and is sure to amass many penalty points. Though he did make it safe and sound to the town of Bouarfa where he repaired his car. Between where Yon is and the finish line lies about 400 Kilometers of barren desert. And the desert as we now know is unpredictable. We all have questions about our character, our core, our limits. Some of us find the answers through what life throws at us, others create conditions to find the answers and still others of us are oblivious and don't care. Whatever questions Yon may have had about himself before this week, I am sure that he knows himself a bit better now. For better or for worse, he knows who he is. Tomorrow is just a few hours away and what is blatantly clear to me is that Yon aims to finish this race and I wish I could see his face as he crosses the finish line. I imagine it will be a sight to behold.
Today was the fifth day of the Marathon Challenge in Morocco. There are no pictures of Yon from today but below are some sights he must have seen as he traversed the Moroccan desert in the car that he fixed himself. There were times when Yon's car was inching forward at a snail's pace as his car climbed the sand dunes and crossed ravines filled with water. But let's start from the beginning. Yesterday we learned that one of the contestants with whom Yon and his co-pilot, Bogdan Ater, have been traveling, had mechanical difficulties. Late yesterday evening, Yon and his partner accompanied their friends-- Car #26 Decanto-- to the nearby desert town of Zagora. This is quite significant because Yon and his partner had to leave the race course in order to do that. This jeopardized any chance Yon's team-- Opportunity #33--had of winning the race. But he did it anyway. The two teams stayed overnight in Zagora while Car #26 was being repaired. We can't say for sure, but it is possible and quite likely, that Yon accompanied this team to actually help them with the repairs himself. Bright and early this morning at 8 a.m. he headed back towards the Marathon course. He had to skip several of the obligatory check points, and was penalized, but he managed to make it to one of the required locations. Those of us following him virtually via TraceMyWay experienced nail-biting tension as we watched Yon struggle, and sometimes creep slowly across the sand dunes you see in the pictures below. There were rainstorms on the Rekam Plateau (the region he was in today) and the dunes were muddy and difficult to cross. He was required to make a certain check point by an allotted time. And he literally made it by the skin of his teeth! with only seconds to spare. All of us who were following him cheered in unison when he crossed the check point (At least that is what I imagine). But Yon braved on, driving non-stop for 12 hours until 8:00 p.m. Spain time. He is now back on course, but is in last place and has 16,000 penalty points. I honestly don't think he cares because to me, it looks as though the experience is one he will cherish (as anyone would) for years to come. Right now, I like to think of Yon sitting by a campfire in the deep desert night, surrounded by sounds of the desert... perhaps enjoying a drink of sorts, smoking his hand rolled cigarettes and truly relishing this glorious moment in time. Tomorrow is another day.. and it begins at 8:00 a.m. Spain time. Yon, I don't know whether you will ever read this, but if by some chance you do, know that you have the support and admiration of fans from all over the globe. Mucha fuerza and buena suerte.
It's Day 4 of the Marathon Challenge and by all accounts it was a grueling one for the participants. But adversity shapes our character, and sometimes it even makes us into heroes. Contestants were expected to find unmarked waypoints along the race route and reach certain waypoints by a specified time. Yon's team, Opportunity #33 accomplished its goal. But late in the day, one of the other teams experienced mechanical problems along the way and Yon left the race to accompany them to the town of Zagora in Morocco to help them repair their car. He did this knowing that he may not be able to make up for lost time, or finish the contest in the allotted time. Yon's Opportunity Team #33 is in last place for now, but tomorrow is another day. And good things come to people who do good. The contest begins its 5th day at 8:00 AM Spain time on May 5th. Keep up the pace Yon. Your fans are all rooting for you!
It's Day 3 of the Marathon Challenge and Yon is still going strong. He and his co-pilot in Opportunity Team #33 have completed 5 sections of the race through the vast desert in eastern Morocco. The rugged, raw terrain has taken its toll on both the drivers and their cars. They have driven a total of 1.000km and their driving time is 1 day and 4 hours! and they have accumulated 4500 penalty points. But there are still four days left to go and anything can happen! To give Yon encouragement as he makes his way through the race course, go to Tracemyway and send him a message. I'm sure he will appreciate it.
It's Day 2 of the Marathon Challenge 2016 in Morocco. Yon is in 8th place with 19 hours and 54 minutes driving time and has 800 penalty points. The contestants have completed four sections of the race and are working on the fifth section. Here are some pictures from Days 1, 2 and 3 and a video..
Yon González loves extreme sports! The faster and more exhilarating the better. Car racing, kitesurfing, and now a cross country Marathon by car. The Marathon Challenge 2016 from April 30-May 7 to be exact. A 3000 Km car race against the clock in Morocco! The rugged terrain includes rocky slopes of 2000 meters and snowcapped peaks, sandy slopes at sea level, and the the vast desert. The drivers drive for 12 hours and then rest for 12 hours under the stars in exotic, mysterious Morocco. In most races the winner would be the first through the finish line… but not in this case. The winner is the team that finishes the route with the least points and least accumulated time.
A true test of ingenuity and stamina! Yon's car is #33- The Opportunity Team. You can track his progress here. Check out some pictures from the Marathon below.