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Articles tagged #Marathon Des Sables
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Former Ironman world champion Chris McCormack is going to take on the Marathon Des sables in 2020

When Australia's Chris McCormack, the two-time Ironman world champion (2007 and 2010), finished his active pro triathlon in 2014, he initially devoted himself to organizing various projects, putting his own athletic career on hold. In 2015 he took over the leadership of the "Bahrain Elite Endurance Triathlon Team," backed by Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamed Al Khalifa.

In 2017 McCormack founded "Super League Triathlon," now held as a series with different locations around the world. For the coming year, the 46-year-old has decided to put sport back in the foreground. "Macca" announced his registration for the famous Marathon des Sables, a race that he says has always been on his bucket list.

The Marathon des Sables is an extremely demanding ultra-marathon that started in 1986 and takes over seven days through the Moroccan Sahara. The 252 km event is run in six stages over seven days. Five stages are between 20 and 40 kilometers, while one stage covers about 80 km. Next year the race takes place between April 3 and 13.

The participants carry their own gear and food for the whole race - the organizers provide water and an open tent. You must also be equipped with minimal survival equipment including a sleeping bag and a snakebite set.

The course typically consists of rocky plains, dry riverbeds and sand dunes, and only occasionally runs through villages. During the day temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius, while at night dip as low as 5 degrees.

(08/30/2019) ⚡AMP
by Simon Muller
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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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Yes, raw speed helps. But it isn’t everything. Why Older Runners Have an Edge in Ultra Races

There were two first-time winners at last weekend’s Leadville Trail 100 Run, as Ryan Smith of Boulder, Colorado, and Magdalena Boulet from Berkeley, California, persevered on the out-and-back course in the Colorado Rockies. Smith won the men’s race in a time of 16:33:24, while Boulet finished in 20:18:06 and, in a salute to her Western environs, broke the tape wearing a black Stetson hat.

Beyond their individual triumphs, Smith and Boulet also chalked one up for the 40+ demographic; Smith turned 40 this year, while Boulet is a spry 46. For those keeping score, this is actually the second consecutive year where both the male and female winners at Leadville were in their fifth decade. In 2018, it was Rob Krar (41) and Outside contributing editor Katie Arnold (46) who stood atop the podium in a race which is among the oldest 100-milers in the country and bears the prestige of being included in the so-called “Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.”

How to account for this quadragenarian dominance? Road racing snobs might point out that the field size in ultras is generally quite small and that these events are hence less competitive than big city marathons with thousands of participants. This year, the Leadville 100 had fewer than 400 finishers. Then there’s the fact that the elite ultrarunning scene, despite its increased mainstream visibility over the past decade, is still largely unprofessional, in the sense that weekend warriors can carry the day at certain marquee events. Smith works full-time as a software engineer, and Boulet is VP of research and development at GU Energy Labs. While this amateur spirit might be a point of pride for ultrarunners who don’t want their sport to devolve into the doping-riddled morass that is professional track and field, one could argue that it also subtly discourages the best pro distance athletes (i.e. Kenyan and Ethiopian runners) from turning to the trails. This, in turn, makes the podium perpetually attainable for the super-fit middle-aged hobbyist.

But maybe there’s more to it than that. Given the amount of stuff that can go wrong when you’re running 100 miles in the mountains, perhaps more “mature” athletes might have an advantage when raw speed is less essential than psychological resilience.

“Ultrarunning is about problem solving and being fast is just one piece in a larger puzzle,” says Boulet, who was back at work on Monday morning. “There are so many other pieces that need to fall into place in order to have a successful race.”

Boulet would know. In 2015, she triumphed at Western States, arguably the most vaunted ultra on U.S. soil. Last year, she won the Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile, six-day stage race in the Sahara Desert that frequently gets cited as one of the world’s most difficult races.

Boulet also has the rare distinction of having successfully transitioned into the world of ultrarunning after a previous career as a pro marathoner and road racer. In 2008, she made the U.S. Olympic team in the marathon. The following year she was the first American woman (sixth overall) at the NYC Marathon. With the exception of Kara Goucher, who contested her first trail marathon earlier this summer, Boulet is surely the most accomplished road racer to take a serious shot at competitive trail running.

“I was able to bring the experience from my marathon and road career into trail racing, but with a lot more experience and a lot more patience,” she says. “I’m a lot kinder to myself and my body.”

For his part, Sands, who describes himself as a “serious amateur,” agrees with Boulet that being the best pure runner is only one factor when a race involves one hundred miles of elevation change, gnarly terrain, and volatile weather. Unlike in shorter road races, where it is much more feasible to execute a race plan to perfection, in ultras the objective isn’t so much to avoid mishaps, as to make the best of it when they inevitably happen. 

“Typically success in these longer events is not about getting everything dialed next to perfectly, because that’s just so rare,” Sands notes. “It’s really about, when some issue arises and you’re faced with a challenge, how well can you react in the moment to overcome it.”

This latter point reminded me of a recent email exchange I had with Robert Johnson, the editor and co-founder of Letsrun.com and a road-racing snob if ever there was one. Johnson made the point that one thing he finds intriguing about ultras is that there is still an aspect of the “unknown.” He noted that training for traditional distance running had more or less been “solved”; everyone already knows, more or less, how to prepare for races. Ultra-running, on the other hand, is still very much an undiscovered country.

Boulet agrees with this assessment.

“After twelve years of doing marathons, I got to the point where I had that formula dialed-in really well with my coach. We could look at a block of training and know what that translates into [performance-wise]. It was very predictable,” she says.

But the ultra scene offers enough potential variation that, Boulet notes, each race can necessitate its own specific training cycle. In the lead-up to Marathon des Sables, for instance, she spent weeks running on sand.

“For someone who is older, ultras are really exciting because you’re not doing the same thing over and over. They keep changing,” Boulet says.

“I think that’s also a key to longevity in the sport. To keep it interesting—and fun.”

(08/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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168 mile Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is one of the world’s longest desert ultras

Set in a rugged national conservation area, the Al Marmoom Ultramarathon claims to be one of the longest desert ultra in the world. The 270km (168 mile) route was run over five days in December in temperatures as high as 35C (95F),.

In its inaugural year, 19 runners (15 men and four women) completed the race, with 36-year-old Moroccan Rachid El Morabity -- a six-time Marathon des Sables winner -- crossing the finish line first in 31 hours and 17 minutes. Eleven runners didn't make it, as well as many others in the shorter 100 km and 50 km versions of the race.

Race manager Ole Brom oversaw of the health and wellbeing of the runners.   Running these distances across energy-sapping sand amounts to an extreme sport, the Norwegian told CNN, and "not something that is taken on lightly."

"On the first day after about 40 km, about 12 km from the end, (one athlete) collapsed unconscious," says Brom. "He ignored the signs of dehydration and he suffered the consequences."

Stretches of the race, including one 100-kilometer leg, were only accessible by air for first responders, explained event director Ruth Dickinson. Athletes wore tracking devices and distress beacons and carried anti-venom pumps in case of snake bites.

Running across the dunes was not without its rewards. "(It's) really peaceful," says 45-year-old female race winner Magdalena Boulet, "(you) can't really see anything for miles and miles."

"It's mesmerizing," Brom adds. "On certain routes there were Oryx, there were sand gazelle, mountain gazelles. We saw eagles (and) a lot of different migrating birds." (As a designated conservation area, runners were penalized for dropping trash and required to bury human waste, should nature call.)

There were still smatterings of luxury, with racers provided hot water, tents and massages between stages. Brom says some athletes told him they'd return for the toilets alone.

The Al Marmoom Ultramarathon will join 400-plus local sporting events ranked by the Dubai Sports Council. Acting director of events Ghazi Al Madani says planning for 2019's race is already underway.

Brom believes transit hub Dubai could become a nexus for desert ultra runners, playing host to regular events in its "backyard." "Ten percent of the landmass of Dubai is sand," he adds, "so it makes perfect sense."

(06/13/2019) ⚡AMP
by Tom Page
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Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Al Marmoom Ultra Marathon

Launched under the initiative of UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of DubaiHis Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve will host the world's longest desert ultra-run Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon. Meraas Al Marmoom Ultramarathon is a 300km, 100km and 50km race across desert terrain and will be held 11th to 15th December...

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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...

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Best Racing Moment of 2018 and My Best Runs 2019 World Best 100 Races were announced today

My Best Runs "Best Racing Moment in 2018" and the My Best Runs "2019 World Best 100 Races" were announced today in Mountain View, California at the My Best Runs (MBR) headquarters.

First on the agenda was the announcement of the 2018 Best Racing Moment. MBR founder Bob Anderson stated, "Eluid Kipchoge was all smiles as he crossed the finish line at the Berlin Marathon September 29." 

"He had just smashed the world marathon record clocking 2:01:39.  Eliud ran the last 17k without pacers, pushing himself, taking off one minute and 18 seconds off of Dennis Kimetto's record."

"The world has rarely seen one event so dominated by one man, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge," says Bob who also was the founder of Runner's World magazine (1966) and publisher for 18 years.

Eliud has won many awards this year including World Athletes of the Year at the IAAF Awards.

Next up on the agenda was the annoucement of the 4th Annual My Best Runs 2019 World Best 100 Races. 

"There are so many good races in the world.  This list could easily be much bigger.  However, as we have done now for four years, we have narrowed it down to the top 100," stated Bob. 

The featured race at 44 of the best 100 are marathons.  There are 20 half marathons and 14 10ks.  There is the Western States 100 miler and the Comrades Ultra marathon in South Africa.

The shortest race is the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile in New York City.  The longest is the 156 mile Marathon Des Sables coming up March 5 in Morocco. 

Most offer prize money totally million of US dollars.  The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon coming up January 26 is offering $1,316,000.  This marathon which was first held in 2000 top four men at the 2018 race all ran under between 2:04:00 and 2:04:06.  Four women ran between 2:19:17 and 2:19:53.

"It is good to see over $21 million (from races MBR are featuring) in prize money being offered runners," says Bob.  "Running is what these runners do and the money is well deserved and important for our sport."

Of course the Berlin Marathon is one of our top 100 but so is the Valencia Half Marathon (Spain) where Abraham Kiptum broke the world half marathon record in the 2018 race by clocking 58:18. 

The Birell 10k Race in Prague, CZE also made the list again for the 4th year. 18-year-old Phonex Kipruto from Kenya clocked 26:46 while Caroline Kipkirui clocked 30:19.  "This is one fast evening race and obviously belongs on our top 100 list," stated Bob.

The list has races from 23 different countries. 

"You can not go wrong in running any of these races," says Bob Anderson. "Your biggest challenge in many of these races will be to be able to be on the starting line. But if you can get in, you will have a blast."

(12/19/2018) ⚡AMP
by My Best Runs
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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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Run The World Challenge 2 Profile: Gloria Nasr has run the toughest race on earth already five times

Gloria Nasr was always active as a kid growing up in Lebanon.  She did Kung Fu, worked out at the gym and did bodybuilding.  "Upon arriving in Paris in 1995, I started riding my bike about 50k (31 miles) per day," Gloria remembers.  "Then one day in 2002, a friend who wanted to lose weight asked me to accompany her for a jog. It was love at first sight and since then I have not stopped," she says.  "Running is an integral part of my life. It's my moment of relaxation where I find myself within myself."   As soon as she started running, she had a dream of running from her adopted country France to her homeland in Lebanon.  A Transcontinental race of 4150km. "I realized this dream in 2013," Gloria says. She ran 50km a day across nine countries for three months and 10 days. "Those were the three most beautiful months of my life."  She has also participated five times in the Marathon des Sables of Morocco.  This is a six-day 156 mile ultra marathon which has been called the toughest foot race on earth.  Gloria says, "I am currently preparing a new challenge, a transcontinental race from Paris to Beijing a distance of 10000km (6,214 miles).”  Asked what is her secret to success, she says, “I always say that the most important thing is envy. with envy, courage, perseverance we can succeed many things.  I also do not put pressure on training and despite my love for running, I keep a certain distance. I do not have an addiction to running."   So why did she join our Run The World Challenge?  "It's great to bring runners together from around the world."   Gloria is a doctor, PMR, physical medicine and rehabilitation.  She is French Lebanese, living in Paris.  The 48-year-old has run 40:27 for 10K,  1:24 for 20k, 1:34 half marathon and 3:14 for the marathon. (09/09/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Chris Patterson is running a marathon each week for a year to raise money for Hope For Children

Ultramarathon runner Chris Patterson is nearly half way through is 52 marathons in 52 weeks challenge - and has already finished a gruelling Great Wall of China event in six hours. The 35-year-old is raising money for the international charity Hope for Children. During the Great Wall Marathon – which has been described as one of the world’s most challenging long-distance races – Chris climbed more than 5,000 steps and had to contend with steep ascents and descents amid stunning scenery. The challenges also include battling with injury and he admits he is currently ‘carrying quite a few injury issues’ but attempting to ‘work through it as best I can.’ After the Great Wall Marathon he added: I am officially broken... I’ve done a fair bit of damage. The jetsetting challenge has seen Patterson – a senior estimator with Stepnell – compete in various countries since starting the challenge in January in Anglesey. He has since run in Gran Canaria, Malta, Rome, Edinburgh and Barcelona. This is not his first eyebrow-raising fundraiser for Hope for Children: two years ago, he ran the Marathon des Sables, a 264km race across the Sahara Desert. He said, "I found myself needing another big challenge to motivate myself, so 2018 became the 52 in 52 challenge."  This weekend he competed in his 20th marathon of the year in Stockholm. (06/04/2018) ⚡AMP
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The Amazon has a mystical appeal to Craig, it is an extremely harsh and unforgiving environment.

Former Royal Marine and self-professed occasional runner Craig likes to run a little further than most. He is taking on the Peruvian Jungle by running not just one, but seven marathons over five days. Craig Williams, 41, who co-founded internationally renowned extreme weight loss camp, TEAM Bootcamp in Eardington, UK will fly to Peru, on May 31, to join a small number of Ultra runners and adventurers in the Jungle Ultra, a gruelling 147-mile run over the Andes and deep into the Amazon between June 2 and 7. “Although the Amazon has almost always had a mystical appeal to me, it is an extremely harsh and unforgiving environment. Pretty much everything wants to bite, scratch, sting or suck your blood and the weathers can be just as hostile” said Craig. “My biggest worry is looking after my feet and managing my water intake! I completed the Marathon Des Sables in 2016, a similar race across the Sahara desert and almost fell foul to dehydration and heat exhaustion then. I don’t want history to repeat itself.” “Jaguars seem to be the biggest worry for most competitors, personally I am more concerned about the distance which culminates in a double marathon stage on the final day of 58 miles in a single day. We get limited protection from armed wildlife rangers, but the flora and fauna only add another dimension to what I know will be an amazing adventure.”  Race organisers Beyond Ultimate ensure each competitor carries a number of compulsory items including a minimum of 2.5 litres of water, 2,000 calories of food for each day, sun lotion, a sleeping bag and hammock, a head torch, a knife and venom extraction kit. (05/14/2018) ⚡AMP
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Spain won both the men’s and women’s team titles at the Trail World Championships, U.S. teams finished 4th and 3rd

Spain’s Luis Alberto Hernando won his third consecutive title, with the former biathlete clocking 8:38:35 to win ahead of his team-mate Cristofer Clemente with a time of 8:46:19 as the host nation secured the team title at the 2018 Trail World Championships on the Penyagolosa Trails in Spain.   Evans, who placed third in the Marathon Des Sables last year, was followed over the Penyagolosa Trails HG finish line by fellow Briton Jonathan Albon, and Ryan Smith’s 16th-place finish in 9:25:50 secured GB the team silver. Tom Owens, who was fourth in 2015 when he led the team to bronze, placed 25th (9:39:26) in Penyagolosa, while Rob Sinclair was 38th (9:54:26) and Casey Morgan 53rd (10:14:40).  Mario Mendoza was the first American to finish clocking 9:00:31 in sixth. Teammate Zach Miller finished 8th in 9:15:46. The U.S. team finished fourth.  Ragna Debats of Netherlands won the women’s title in 9:55:00, while Spain’s Laia Canes was second in 10:11:11. Bronze was claimed by France’s Claire Mougel with a time of 10:15:23.  Clare Gallagher was the first American to finish clocking 10:36:37 in 8th.  Teammates Kaytlyn Gerbin Places 10th in 10:39:40 and Sabrina Little was 12th clocking 10:45:27 securing third place for the U.S. in the team competition.   Spain secured the team title ahead of France.  (05/12/2018) ⚡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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Shaun Bacon, 54, training for fifth Marathon des Sable in Sahara Desert

Slogging through the sand with a 6.5kg pack on his back is “a night off” for marathon man Shaun Bacon. The Frankston teacher, 54, is in the final stages of training for his fifth Marathon des Sables. Regarded as the Olympics of the ultra-marathon, the 251km event is the equivalent distance of six regular marathons. And it’s held in southern Morocco in the Sahara Desert with temperatures ranging from -2C at night up to 47C during the day. “I do a lot of training on the sand at Frankston beach. It might look hard, but I’m only uncomfortable for less than an hour,” he said. He is hoping to finish in the top 100 at the April 6-16 event. “Finishing is a no-brainer for me — I don’t even consider any other outcome — but I would like a top 100 place,” he said. (03/14/2018) ⚡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
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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
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