Desert kings still dominate dunes and spirits !
Desert kings still dominate dunes and spirits after this 31st edition of the Marathon des Sables !
The 31 st edition of the Marathon des Sables, considered as one of the most difficult races in the world, welcomed this year more than 1200 participants with different backgrounds. The competitors went head-to-head in the Moroccan south desert, individually or in teams, for 6 stages and a total course of 257 km, beating the distance record.
A requiring route, where the difficulties offer all the variants of Sahara. Cross dune areas, djébels (mountains), stony plateau, dried-out lakes or oueds where the sand is the only thing you find, but also oasis, nomad camps or traditional villages in pisé. A particular mood for this mythical and magical race.
A story, which tells others …
The marathon des sables welcomes every year new runners with very particular stories, through which the race lives. Such as Nicolas Jacob, Yan Motschwiller and Mickael Bloyer, showing us that the deaf have just as many legs and mental as the others, and Duncan Slater, who lost his two legs in Afghanistan and raises admiration.
Woman, woman, woman
Women’s participation has continued to grow at the MDS. 207 women took part to the race among whom great favorites such as Elisabet Barnes, winner of the previous edition but also Laurence Klein, Nathalie Mauclair and Fernanda Maciel.
A touch of craziness
The departure is given on Sunday, April 10th at 9 am for 1109 competitors of this 31st MDS edition. From flat ground, to the highest dunes of Morocco, up to the rocky plateau, the first 34-km stage on this hot and windy day is full of emotions!
In this early stage, the Moroccan domination is strong among men while the podium takes an international shape among women. Rachid EL MORABITY (MAR) , having already won the race 3 times, and favorite again this year, takes the lead while for women, Natalia SEDYHK (RUS) leads at the first check-point, looking very strong. Nathalie MAUCLAIR (FRA) follows her just a few minutes behind.
After a hope of reconquest on the 2nd stage among men, again an enormous Moroccan domination is felt on 3rd stage whereas Nathalia SEDYHK keeps the lead. A shorter but hotter, 37,5-km stage, with the sandy soil and the ruins of Ba Hallou in climax.
At the end of the fourth stage, the long stage of MDS, magistrate for the elite and the ogre for the major part of the pack, scared by this 84,3 km, Rachid El MORABITY and Natalia SEDYKH confirm their domination on the MDS’ 31st edition.
Rachid EL MORABITY is celebrated as ever on the finishing line of this stage. The Moroccan wins his fourth consecutive stage, leaving no chance to the other competitors.
To note, the good operation for the general ranking of French runners Erik CLAVERY and Jean-Sébastien BRAUN, as well as Carlos SA and Sondre AMDAHL, all well positioned in the TOP 10. A Top 10 integrated by Natalia SEDYKH, who is 10th in general ranking.
The crowning achievements
Last competitors of the 31st edition of the MARATHON DES SABLES cross the finish line with a big round of applause. Emotions running high as we are on this very moment, on this finish line which encloses the general ranking of the MDS 2016. Runners, who fought against the sand, the wind, the precarious living conditions, the lack of food are finally released!
Then, it is time for awards. The special prizes, as that awarded to this duet father-son, or to the seriously burnt Australian runner, then the category podium, and finally the first 10 women and the first 10 men. The atmosphere is warm, the competitors welcome the succession of awards with big applause, to end on a high note with the fourth coronation of Rachid EL MORABITY, desert king.
Find out the results here.