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Friday, March 25, 2005

Marathon Des sables

'Whether runner or walker, everyone is confronted with the same problem: putting one foot in front of the other. And it’s here between sand and stars in the heart of the desert, putting in so much effort, that we reveal what we’re really capable of. At some time or another, each participant will have to face difficulties, solitude or self-doubt. Yet when we’re given the opportunity to draw on our resources, we realise they offer us extraordinary potential whose limits are far from those we imagined.' - Marathon Des Sables

2005 is the 20th anniversary of the Marathon Des Sables an epic 243kms running race of endurance, willpower and humility.

Over 600 participants come from around the world to test themselves against this awesome landscape. Participants run almost 5 1/2 marathons in six days, carry all of their gear, other than water, and sleep under the stars in the legendary Moroccan Sahara.

Facing harsh conditions, runners can expect temperatures that can get up to 50 degrees C, wind is a constant foe and the Saharan sand finding its way into a runners food, equipment and if not careful, running shoes leading to painful blisters.

The running stages look typically like this:

Day 1 – 25km
Day 2 – 34km
Day 3 – 38km
Day 4 – 82km!!!!
Day 5 – Maybe sleep, maybe keep running…
Day 6 – 42km
Day 7 – 22km and home!

In the end as the race organizers say...

'You have to be enthusiastic, courageous and really determined if you want to cross the Marathon des Sables finish line.'

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