Every weekend, runners turn out for road and trail races of varying lengths. From 5K runs to marathons, adventure runs and endurance races, there are races for runners of every ability level.
For some runners, ultramarathons offer the opportunity to push one's endurance to the limits. Any race longer than 26.2 K, the distance of a full marathon, is considered an ultramarathon.
However, all ultras are not equal. "Desert Runners" is a newly released film about one of the toughest ultramarathon series on the planet.
The RacingThePlanet 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series takes place each year in the four most treacherous deserts in the world: the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara in Egypt and Antarctica, the coldest and windiest continent on the planet.
To qualify for Antarctica, the final ultra in the series, runners must successfully complete the other three ultras. Any one of these four races would test the skills of the most accomplished athlete.
However, most of the men and women who compete in the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series are ordinary people, not professional athletes.
Each of the ultras consists of running, walking and crawling 150 miles over multiple days. The conditions are nearly unbearable and include incessant heat, subfreezing cold, harsh winds and bone-dry, arid climates.
As if the climates aren't challenging enough, the competitors must carry food, clothing and all supplies needed for survival in 20-pound packs on their backs.
Some competitors in the 4 Deserts Series love adventure or competition. Other ultra-runners are in search of a unique way to connect with nature.
The four competitors introduced in "Desert Runners" hail from different countries, but their goal is the same: to prove themselves capable of going the full distance in all four of the ultramarathons in the series.
Dave, a 56-year-old from Ireland considers himself young at heart, but struggles with his training leading up to the first event. Will his age hold him back?
Samantha, a 25-year-old from Australia, dreams of being the first woman to finish all four of the desert races in a single calendar year. If she succeeds, Samantha will also be the youngest competitor to finish the series.
Ricky, a 33-year-old former professional baseball player from the United States is experienced and a natural athlete, but will he have what it takes to go the distance?
Tremaine, a 41-year-old from the United Kingdom is a military man whose life changed when his wife died, leaving him with two young children. Tremaine hopes to pay honor to his wife's memory while rebuilding his own life.
The film includes all of the drama of the races it documents while sharing the stories of the four competitors on their year-long adventure to test the outer boundaries of their existence.
Are you hooked yet? Whether you're a weekend warrior, a short distance runner, a marathoner, an adventure runner or a curiosity seeker, "Desert Runners" offers a unique opportunity to run along with these competitors as they face danger and challenges along the way.
The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat will never be the same again after you see what can happen when ordinary people attempt the extraordinary.
This enthralling film, which has been featured at film festivals in the U.S. and around the world, can be yours to share with family and friends.
Starting Tuesday, Dec. 17, visit the "Desert Runners" website at the link above and enter the special Examiner code 'runners' for a discount on the purchase of the film on DVD or digital download.
You may never compete in the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series, but you can join in the adventure and excitement when you watch "Desert Runners."