The Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) is a 6-stages/7-day foot race of aproximately 240km across the Moroccan Sahara desert. It is regarded as ‘The Toughest Foot Race On Earth’.
Contestants must carry mandatory equipment, all food, clothing and sleeping gear in a backpack which weights between nine and twelve kilograms. Runners must prepare all their food throughout the race but the French organisers will supply a minimum of nine litres of water every day, and also a space on the desert ground of approximately one m width under a Berber tent for the night.
Runners experience mid-day temperatures of up to 50°C, battle sandstorms and freezing nights, running and walking on uneven, rocky, stony ground as well as climbing 100m high sand dunes.
My race in 2008
The Marathon des Sables was one of the greatest adventures of my life, and my journey of 245.3 kilometres across the Sahara desert finished after 37:41:00 – the winner did it in stellar 19:27:00!
I was lucky to be able to take part in one of the most amazing adventure races. A race, in which the final time and position is secondary to the actual journey. The journey to get you to the start in the first place – and then that real journey of running, jogging and walking for seven days across the Sahara desert in Morocco.
Part I – The Road to Morocco
When I decided, after watching TV coverage of the race in November 2006, to participate in one of the hardest foot races on this planet, I had no real idea what was lying ahead of me … apart from lots of sand. Dedicating the race to The Fred Hollows Foundation made this a worthwhile project. Never before did I run a race and got hundreds of friends and strangers involved and interested in helping a great cause! The following is the story about my biggest running adventure yet and tells about the ups and downs all the way to the finish line of the famous desert race in Morocco …
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Part II – The Marathon des Sables
So 4500 km later, $15,000 poorer and with a damaged knee, Uli and I headed off to Morocco. Marathon des Sables 2008 – here we come! At this point, I felt proud and grateful that I had been able to transfer a total of over $5000 to The Fred Hollows Foundation – more than 200 people will be able to see again thanks to Run 4 Vision and the generous supporters of my project…
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