Zandy Mangold ’96 bonded with fellow Conn student Grant Lipman’95 when the two were living in Smith residence hall. They’ve been friends ever since. Back then, Mangold had grand ambitions of traveling the world as a photojournalist, and Lipman dreamed of becoming a physician.
Zandy Mangold has fulfilled that wish, having won the 2017 Atacama Crossing, a seven-day ultramarathon that covers 250 km across Chile. As an endurance runner and photographer, Mangold has traveled to more than two dozen exotic locales, including Antarctica, Patagonia, Madagascar and the Sahara Desert for the Racing the Planet/4 Deserts series of endurance races. Lipman, now a physician, serves as medical director for the organization.
Mangold, who was captain of the cross-country team his senior year, as well as a CISLA scholar, says working for Racing the Planet combined all his passions that he had cultivated at Conn. During his first assignment photographing the 4 Deserts Atacama Crossing race in 2009, Mangold realized he was moving faster than several of the participants, even while lugging his heavy equipment around. So he decided to make the leap from observer to competitor.
“Full of high hopes, I entered my first ultramarathon in 2010 in Australia, and promptly finished in last place,” Mangold laments. “But instead of being discouraged, I used what I learned from the Australia debacle to become more competitive in future races. Seven years later, I won the 2017 Atacama Crossing, which is where it had all started for me as a photographer.”
Mangold’s remarkable triumph was featured in the “Faces in the Crowd” section of Sports Illustrated, and his global adventures continue, both as a photographer and race competitor.