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The Marathon Du Sable

by Hassan El Amrani on 02/13/17

Each year, competitors from more than 30 countries around the world come to Morocco for the grueling Marathon des Sables, an ultra-marathon race that take 6 days and covers over 250 km through the Saharan desert landscapes of dunes, rocky climbs, and salt plains. Temperatures can reach over 50 degrees Celsius. Athletes must be highly self-sufficient, carrying their food, supplies, and gear throughout the race. Water is rationed, and those exceeding their allotment are charged a time penalty. The race takes place in 5 different stages, and Berber tents are pitched every night for the athletes to rest and recuperate.  The MdS attracts around 1100 amateur and elite competitors, many whom are forced by fatigue and injury to abandon their efforts prior to completing the race. In support of the MdS are over 55 medical providers, 130 volunteers on the course itself, 120 all-terrain vehicles, 2 helicopters, and a Cessna plane. The 2016 MdS was won by Moroccan, Rachid El Morabity, in just over 21 hours total race time. This year’s race, the 32nd annual race, and festivities are from April 7th – 14th.  

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