Morocco’s Marathon des Sables

Marathon des Sables MoroccoConsidered one of the toughest ultra marathons on the planet, runners of the Marathon des Sables travel approximately 150 miles through the rugged and arid Sahara Desert. Participants run the equivalent of six regular marathons over the course of six days with each stage ranging anywhere from 21 to 91 kilometers in length.

Runners battle sand storms and incapacitating heat. They endure torturous chafing and blisters down to the bone. Not only does this race seriously challenge the body’s physical abilities and will, but the $4,000 entry fee challenges most people’s financial will as well. Surprisingly the race has a 2-year registration waitlist and once registration opens, all available spots are often filled within an hour.

Sunny Blende once said that “Ultras are just eating and drinking contests, with a little exercise and scenery thrown in,” and this is especially true of the Marathon of the Sands. Participants battle temperatures of up to 120°F so maintaining adequate hydration and electrolyte balance is not only crucial to finishing the race but to surviving it. Water is rationed out at each aid station and runners are responsible for carrying all their own food typically around 14,000 calories a person. (more…)