The challenge

Team Essence

Three brave adventurers set out on 16 April 2017 to attempt the world’s first unassisted crossing of the Gobi Desert on foot.

Starting from the desert’s western edge in Mongolia they trekked to its far eastern corner – a distance of 1,132 miles (1,822 km).

Using human power to drag supplies in custom built trailers, the two men and one woman pushed the limits of human endurance and resilience as they traversed sand dunes, vast barren expanses and rocky outcrops.

They set out carrying up 180 kilos of supplies on a trek which last 57 days. Unfortunately, a decision to offload some of their food stores to lighten the load means the record will not be officially recognised, but the team is adamant the main aim was to raise £30,000 for the NSPCC and test their own limits.

Critical communications

Inmarsat is a proud sponsor of Team Essence, which in 2016 set two new world records by rowing the Atlantic in aid of the NSPCC.

For the Gobi Desert trek, we supplied two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones for safety communications and to stay in touch with family and friends during the expedition.

In addition, the built-in tracking function on the phones provided live updates every three hours on how Team Essence was progressing.

The team was also provided with an Explorer 510 BGAN terminal which which they frequently used to send video and social media updates to fans worldwide.

Team Essence Gobi Desert

Meet the Gobi Desert trek team

Mathew Bennett Mathew Bennett served with the British Military police and worked for the US Department of Defence as a close protection officer in Iraq. Having retrained as a stockbroker, he was able to fund a lifelong dream of establishing a series of care homes to support children from abusive backgrounds. In 2016, Mathew skippered and personally financed the Team Essence Atlantic row, which set two world records and raised over £120,000 for the NSPCC.
Elsie Hoefsmit Elise Hoefsmit is a personal trainer and coach from Sydney, Australia with extensive experience of rock climbing, sky diving and hiking all around the world. The Gobi crossing is her first extreme physical and mental challenge.
Luke Richmond Luke Richmond joined the Australian Army at 17 and developed a passion for global adventure. An experienced climber and BASE jumper, he now works as a performance coach. Luke was a member of the Team Essence Atlantic rowing team.