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Meet Cactus the dog who just ran one of the world’s toughest races, the Marathon des Sables

A dog has become the first canine to cross the finishing line at one of the world’s toughest ultra marathons.

The hound, nicknamed Cactus, wandered onto the course on day two of the Marathon des Sables in Morocco.

He began following competitors in the 251-kilometre, six-day endurance race in the sweltering Sahara Desert.

‘Cactus’ finished the second stage, then the third and fourth. Organisers tweeted on Friday to say he had crossed the finishing line.

Runners welcomed their four-legged competitor and cheered him on as he trudged with them on his self-inflicted jaunt. He also rested with them and ate and drank in their company.

Owner Karen Hadfield took to social media to say that he is a nomad dog and regularly runs 40-km a day in the area.

Pictures emerged on Saturday of organisers and competitors bidding ‘Cactus’ farewell as Karen came to collect him.

(04/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

The Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth. 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...

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16-year-old Canadian to tackle 251K Marathon des Sables

Though not old enough to compete at many Canadian marathons, 16-year-old Jack Davison of Fort Langley, BC is about to start one of the world's most gruelling ultras

Though many Canadian marathons would not permit a 16-year-old to register, Jack Davison, of Fort Langley, BC is about to start not just a marathon, but six in a row, in the Sahara desert. He is one of 10 Canadians registered in the 251K Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan Sahara, which starts tomorrow. Jack is there with his father,

Long distance running is not even Jack’s main sport. He is a provincially-ranked tennis player who was eighth among U16 players in BC last year. He hopes to secure a scholarship at a US university and eventually to turn pro.

(04/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

The Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth. 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...

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High school student Jack Davison is running the Marathon Des Sables 251-km six-day run, through the African desert in southern Morocco.

Jack Davison is confident taking on this Marathon Des Sables Challenge. Just 15 years old he was the youngest runner to complete two ultras in 2018. 

The first was the Fuerteventura Des Sables half marathon on the Canary Islands in September. Davison really didn’t know whether he could complete the 120k ordeal on the Spanish archipelago, which is just off the African coast but he did. 

“I went in with an open mind,” he said.

“It was an amazing accomplishment.”

It is believed to be a world record for the youngest ultra marathoner. If not, it is certainly a world-class accomplishment.

The terrain was rocky and hilly, “they love to make you run up hills,” and the temperatures were over 100F degrees. 

The wind blew constantly. The organizers furnished the runners with tents, pitched on a sandy beach next to the ocean. However the wind never stopped blowing, and he remembers the sounds of the tents flapping the entire night.

When he got to the Ica Desert in Peru last month, he was more prepared for what lay ahead.

“I knew what to expect, but I always get pretty nervous before a run.”

There were no tourist buses where they were going, and military vehicles transported the runners for about 12 hours before they got to the starting line.

Running in a sandy desert presented its own challenges. Consider that professional athletes run on sand to make their training more challenging. The was one sandy hill, almost a kilometer long, that he won’t soon forget.

“It took me an hour to run up that sand dune,” he recalls.

He enjoyed the social side of running, meeting people from around the world out to conquer the same goal.

Davison wasn’t in the money, but he finished in the top one-quarter – about 350 in Spain and 400-plus in Peru. He was satisfied with that.

“I went there each time just trying to complete it.”

Surprisingly, Davison doesn’t train with a lot of distance running. He is a provincial calibre tennis player, and his main fitness regimen is spending about 25 hours each week running around a court.

But he is no stranger to distance runs.

His father Aaron is also an ultra marathoner. Aaron has completed the full Marathon Des Sables three times, and will attempt it this year at the age of 51. 

Like his father, Jack finds an incredible sense of achievement in these feats of endurance.

At his age, Jack is not even allowed to run in marathons in Canada, where the minimum age is 18. But he didn’t think it hurt him in any way. After the Canary Islands marathon he rested for about a week.

But last month when he got back from Peru, he found his mom had enrolled him in a tennis tournament, so he only had a few days of rest before he was back in action. He finished second in the tourney.

His tennis coach isn’t crazy about his marathoning, but Davison also plans to complete that epic 251k marathon across the Sahara in Morocco April 5. 

“That will be the highlight of my life so far,” he says. 

(01/10/2019) ⚡AMP
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

The Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth. 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...

more...
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Joe Adamson is preparing to run a gruelling 250Km race in the punishing heat of the Sahara Desert.

A soldier who played for Bangor Rugby Club is spending his Christmas and New Year in Afghanistan training to run a gruelling 250Km race in the punishing heat of the Sahara Desert.

Captain Joe Adamson was deployed to Afghanistan some weeks ago.

Joe has set himself a target of competing in one of the most arduous and exhausting challenges on the planet – ‘The Marathon de Sables’.

This race, which translates into ‘Marathon of the Sands’ sees around 1000 runners compete in the ultra-marathon over a distance of 250km (156 miles) equivalent to six regular marathons, across the burning sands of Morocco’s Sahara Desert, with temperatures reaching 50 C degrees.

The runners aim to complete the race inside six-days and during that time remain self-sufficient throughout, carrying all their essential equipment, including cooking equipment, food and sleeping bag in the kit bag on their backs.

Joe is a platoon commander with the Gurkhas and it is his job to plan and execute Advisor Force Protection missions. The UK troops are out in Kabul providing protection and security to the NATO advisors and mentors.

(12/21/2018) ⚡AMP
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Bill Mitchell began running in his early 60s, has run 157 marathons and says hot chocolate and wine gums is his secret to success

73-year-old Bill Mitchell has run 157 marathons – including 23 ultra-marathons – says a daily cup of hot chocolate and wine gums are the secret of his success. (Wine gums are sweets and contain no alcohol). 

Bill Mitchell began running in his early 60s and says that he is now the fittest he has ever been. And it’s no surprise to hear that when you discover the former merchant navy officer from Derbyshire UK, has run the infamous Marathon des Sables – a six-day, 250km endurance test where temperatures often exceed 50C (122F) an astonishing three times.

"A lot of people resign themselves," says Bill "to old age. I always say to people you’re never too old to do anything. The bottom line is anyone can do it as long as they’ve got the desire."

Bill said he found his second ultra-marathon easier than his first – and credits his unusual diet plan. He added, "I drink hot chocolate every day. It is delicious. I also carried a small bag of wine gums with me."  

Mitchell also follows a strict diet – that includes eating oily fish and avoiding meat, cream and butter – to ensure that is fit and healthy.  Mitchell began running in April 2008 and his hobby has now led him and his wife Linda, 68, across the globe.

(11/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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I walked with the camels, sat on top of sand dunes, sang songs, mediated and helped Runners through some tough moments at MDS

Lisa Smith-Batchen wanted to see "The view and experience from the back and middle pack" for the long 55 mile stage of the Marathon des Sables in Morocco recently completed. She posted her experience on Facebook today. “This ones for you mom. Thank you for always being such a powerful bright light in my life. I love you and miss you... I went to MDS to have a very different experience. It was everything I asked for and more. I carried a heavy pack (max weight) used poles and walked most every step. I wanted to see "The view and experience from the back and middle pack" Humbling to say the least. I walked with the camels, sat on top of sand dunes and mountains, sang songs, prayed,meditated and helped a few runners through some tough moments. I cried a great deal missing my mother but she helped carry me through. I watched the full moon rise and set as I did the sun rise and sunset. I lied down under the miraculous stars and gave thanks over and over for the life I have been given. The best part of all, the people and the lifetime friends. My tent mates and MDS friends are forever in my heart. I am left full of gratitude that I got to have this journey and have come to realize that first place or last place..it's all the same. It's the journey of self discovery.'' (04/20/2018) ⚡AMP
by Lisa Smith-Batchen
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Moroccan Rachid claimed his sixth victory in the Marathon Des Sables

El Morabity won the marathon with a time of 19:35:49, ahead of his brother Mohamed El Morabity with 20:01:28 and France's Robert Merile by 20:41:00. In the women's category, American athlete Magdalena Boulet won with a time of 25:11:19 followed by Danish Bouchra Eriksen 26:36:00 and British Gemma Game 27:00:23. Marathon Des Sables is an annual ultra-marathon that brings together more than 1,000 runners, who run six regular marathons over six days, with only one rest day. The combined distance over the six races is a massive 254km with the longest stage 91km. Each participant must carry his/her own backpack containing food, sleeping gear and other materials. (04/14/2018) ⚡AMP
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A 72 Grandfather, from Woodstock is set to take on the Maraton Des Sables

A grandfather from Woodstock is set to take on a 156 mile trek through the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Mahmut Hilmi, 72, will compete in the Marathon des Sables this week, becoming the third oldest man to take on the endurance challenge. Over the course of the race, participants will cover 250km in seven days, carrying all their food and equipment. Temperatures in the desert can soar to 50C. The adventurous fundraiser will use the challenge to raise cash for two charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Hope for Children. He said: “I am looking forward to doing this event, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. “I hope that managing the extreme physical and emotional demands presented will be a fulfilling experience. “Despite my advancing years I am in good shape for the event.” The challenge will see competitors take on a wide variety of terrains as they cover the set distance. (04/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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73-Year-Old Bill Mitchell heard that the 156 mile MdS was harder than they thought it would be?

Since taking up running ten years ago, 73-year-old Bill Mitchell a former naval officer, has completed 139 marathons including 30 ultramarathons, like the Marathon des Sables. The Marathon des Sables, which translates into English as Marathon of the Sands, is about 156 miles (250 km), the equivalent of six regular marathons. There are six running days and one rest day, during which temperatures can reach 120F during the day, while dropping to below freezing at night time. Competitors must carry all their provisions for the whole race on their back, and Bill estimates that he will start off with around 18lbs on his back. "It's a great experience in that you really are learning how to push yourself and to be determined," says Bill. "I have always been a determined person. When I say I will do something I will do it and you have to be to finish that race. The first one I did I heard two men saying it was harder than they thought it would be and I thought 'what do you expect? It's the MdS. 'My aim for this one is to complete it. I'm not aiming for a time but I want to be the oldest person to complete three MdS in just over a year.' (04/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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Mother-of-four to undertake the ultramarathon across Sahara Desert

A mother-of-four will undertake one of the toughest physical challenges of her life when she tackles a 251-kilometre ultramarathon this April. Sabrina Humphreys, 40, has signed up for the notoriously Marathon Des Sables which takes place in southern Morocco. She will run for six days across the baking hot Sahara Desert with the event taking place from April 6 to 16. The race is completely self-sufficient and is become known as the "toughest foot race on Earth." Sabrina will be running in aid of Allsorts, a Gloucestershire-based (UK) charity that gives support to families who have children with disabilities. This charity is very close to Sabrina’s heart as her niece Destiny, eight, and nephew Kyle, 15, have varying forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. (03/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ovarian cancer survivor Going to run the Toughest Foot Race on the Planet

Heather Hawkins will run in the 2018 Marathon Des Sables – known as the world’s toughest foot race – to raise money and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Australia. The gruelling physical and mental 10-day test across 250 kilometres of the Sahara begins on April 8. Even getting to the start will be quite the journey for a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 11 years ago. “I had surgery within 10 days,” she says. “The gynaecological surgeon … removed an 18-centimetre tumour and I had a full hysterectomy.” Afterwards, Ms Hawkins chose a non-invasive surveillance program over chemotherapy. She also embarked on a fitness regime, she signed up the four-kilometre Mother’s Day Classic. And more events, each longer than the last, and now she is going to run 250k. (02/23/2018) ⚡AMP
Epic Running Adventures
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Ultra-marathon man ready to run the Toughest Foot Race On Earth

In just 2 months, Evan Laframboise will be taking part in the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, an infamous challenge which was dubbed the ‘toughest foot race on earth’ by the Discovery Channel. The ultra-marathon covers 155 miles (250 km) over 6 days and requires runners to be self-sufficient, meaning competitors must carry all their own food, equipment and clothing. The participants are only supplied with rationed water and a bivouac – a temporary tent or cover used by soldiers and mountaineers – to sleep under every night. Laframboise said he wants to raise $7,000 for the local charity Variety, which supports children and their families living in Jersey who are sick or disabled. (02/20/2018) ⚡AMP
Epic Adventures
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