Marathon des Sables
Marathon Des Sables camp, Morocco © James Heilman, MD
The week-long Sand Marathon (often known simply as the MdS) takes place in the gruelling conditions of the Moroccan desert, with sandstorms and brain-frying heat as the major obstacles to achieving such an intense feat. The race is over 150 miles (241km) of craggy, sandswept terrain and competitors from around the world partake in the charity-driven event that benefits the infrastructure of the region. It is a multi-stage adventure race through the formidable Sahara Desert, made more difficult by the fact that all competitors must carry whatever they need to survive, apart from water and a tent, which will be provided. Only the fittest and most prepared are advised to partake as this is an extreme race, certainly not your ordinary marathon. In fact, the Marathon des Sables has been ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth, and is said to be the equivalent of five and a half marathons. Completing the race is a huge achievement and the desert landscapes are said to richly reward the effort. It is possible to enter as an individual or as a team. It is not the easiest race to watch, for obvious reasons, but spectators and supporters do gather at certain landmarks.
Date: 8 - 18 April 2016