The Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth.
Seven days 250k
Known simply as the MdS, the race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates - the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, to carry with you on your back everything except water that you need to survive. You are given a place in a tent to sleep at night, but any other equipment and food must be carried.
Started in 1986 by Patrick Bauer, the race continues to grow in popularity every edition. Places are much sought after, but those who do make it to the start line are richly rewarded. Under the scorching Moroccan sun, life-long friendships are fostered through a shared experience of unforgettable days spent running across saltpans, up desert-mountains, through ruined towns and through the occasional sand storm.
The Marathon des Sables is open to individuals and teams of individuals, amateur and elite runners. With runners coming from all over the world, the MdS is a truly international event that has a positive impact on the local environment and in local communities. Through the MdS foundation Solidarite, runners have raised funds to help hundreds of families through education and improve their quality of life.
|Rachid El Morabity
|Mohamed El Morabity
|Sylvaine Cussot (
|Aziza El Amrany
Imagine yourself in the Sahara desert with nothing but rolling sand dunes for miles around. When you plough your feet through the sand, a fine dust kicks up. You can’t feel the sweat dripping down your face because it’s evaporating in the baking heat. Your lungs feel parched. Today’s temperature is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees centigrade).
Part of your brain is screaming at you to stop, right now, to drop out of the race, but the other part of your brain is stronger. The other part of your brain knows that when you complete the final stage of the Marathon des Sables, you will have run the equivalent of five and a half marathons in five or six days, a total distance of some 251 km – 156 miles*. (*Subject to the race route)
No one can deny that finishing the MdS is an incredible accomplishment. But more importantly, you will walk away with a new slant on life - that you can achieve anything you set your mind to do.
Join us for the event that defined the word ULTRAMARATHON
Prize money is 34,000 Euros
The MdS is a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’ or ‘ultra’ run in six days over a course of between 150 and 156 (254km) miles. Which by the way is the equivalent of Running from London to Dover deciding not to go to France after all and running back again in 120 degree heat. with a backpack on and voices in your head talking about cold beer!
As an example of what lies beyond the starting line, the longest single stage in 2012 was 51 miles (81.5km). Typical distances are 156 miles (251 km) broken down as follows:
DAY 1: 33.8KM
DAY 2: 38.5KM
DAY 3: 35.0KM
DAY 4: 81.5KM
DAY 5: 42.2KM
DAY 6: 15.5KM
The actual routes and formats change every year. The Race Director and his team spend a month meticulously planning routes that are held secret until the day before the event starts. There is a rest day after the longest stage, but it may well take you into that day before you get to the finish. Competitors stay overnight in a bivouac village, comprised of tents that sleep about 8 competitors per tent. Once you get your ‘bivvy’ your bivvy team become your family, your support team, your nursing team and invariably they become long-term friends. The most memorable sound of an evening is the rumble of weary laughter that echoes around the village.