An update by Uli (Markus’s wife, who only runs in cases of emergency)
The busses for the base camp have left! A highly excited US-Canadian-Australian contingent of runners had met today at 9am to board their coaches for the 5 hours’ drive to the desert.
As soon as they had taken their seats, they were handed their roadbook, informing them of the – until then secret – route of the race. This MDS will lead from Merzouga through the desert to Tazzarine.
This means that the runners will have to cross the high sand dunes of Erg Chebbi in the very first stages when their backpacks are still heavily ladden with food.
During the hours of waiting for the departure, Markus had discovered that he was not 100% happy with his race goggles, so I decided to ditch back to the hotel to get his spare sunnies.
To my shock I saw the first buses leave while still sprinting back from the hotel, and I could only hand over the glasses at the very last moment before missing Markus’ departure!
It was very emotional to wave him and the other runners good-bye. Next time I will catch up with them is in the desert at the finish of stage 5, which is a full marathon.
I’m afraid they will look nothing like the freshly showered and shaven bunch I saw off only 2 hours ago!
Cheers from Quarzazate (where it takes 5 times longer to write due to an Arabic-French keyboard)