Marathon des Sables

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The Marathon des Sables (MdS, Marathon of the Sands, or Sahara Marathon)[1] is a six-day, 251 km (156 mi)[2] ultramarathon, which is the equivalent of six regular marathons. The longest single stage (2009) is 91 km (57 mi) long.

This multiday race is held every year in southern Morocco, in the Sahara desert. It is considered the toughest foot race on Earth.[1][3] The first event of the Marathon started in 1986.

Racers winding their way up a large ridge.
A competitor at Marathon Des Sables, Morocco
The camp in which competitors sleep at night.

Notable participants[edit]

  • Moroccan brothers Lahcen and Mohamad Ahansal, who won 10 and 6 editions respectively.[4]
  • Marco Olmo, Italian ultratrail specialist, ran all editions since 1996, with best placement 3rd (achieved three times). At the 2013 edition, Olmo was 64 years old, and he was 47 when he ran his first.[5]
  • Dima and Lama Hattab, Jordanian twins who were the first female Middle Eastern participants in the race.
  • James Cracknell, British rower and adventurer, competed in the 2010 race and became the highest placing Briton to ever compete in the race, finishing 12th.


  • Ted Archer: Carved by god, cursed by the devil – a true story of running the Sahara Desert. Redwood City CA, University of Dreams Foundation 2009. ISBN 978-0-9770735-3-5 (see:
  • Patrick Bauer ... [et al.]: Le marathon des sables. Paris, SPE (Société de production éditoriale) 2000. ISBN 2-91283-80-8 (English version by David Waldron).
  • John Bonallak: The desert run. Wellington, New Zealand, Learning Media Ltd. 1999. ISBN 978-0-478-22948-6.
  • Steve Cushing: 24th Marathon des Sables – a competitor's tale. Leicester UK, Matador 2010, ISBN 978-1-84876-286-2.
  • Guy Giaoui; Foued Berahou: Ultramarathon stage racing - from our experiences of the Marathon des sables, the Trans Aq', and other races - a practical guide. St-Genest-Malifaux, Raidlight 2008. ISBN 978-2-9530683-1-3.
  • Mark Hines: The Marathon des sables - seven days in the Sahara - enduring the toughest footrace on earth. London, Health Body Publishing 2007. ISBN 978-0-9553800-1-3 (hbk.). ISBN 978-0-9553800-5-1 (pbk. 2010).
  • Monika Nicolle: Histoire d'un Marathon des Sables – 245 kilomètres dans le désert... Paris, Éditions de l'Onde 2010. ISBN 978-2-916929-30-9.
  • Eddy Poirier: Vaincre soi-même : Marathon des sables! Toute une histoire. [S.l.], Glob 2009. ISBN 978-2-918257-03-5.
  • Pierre-Emmanuel Rastoin: Regard sur le Marathon des sables : 2004/06. Biarritz, SAI 2007. ISBN 978-2-7588-0037-8.
  • Herbert Meneweger: Marathon des Sables - die Grenze ist, wo die Vorstellungskraft endet - der härteste Marathonlauf der Welt, 243 Kilometer durch die Sahara. Anthering AUT, Meneweger 2003. ISBN 978-3-200-00037-7.


  1. ^ a b "Facing Africa NOMA : The Marathon Des Sables",, 2010, webpage: FA8.
  2. ^ In 2008, the MdS was 145 miles (233 km).[1]
  3. ^ "Extreme Marathons". Time. 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  4. ^ «Marathonien des sables, Lahcen Ahansal, enfant nomade et star du désert»
  5. ^ G. De Pascale, Il corridore - Storia di una vita riscattata dallo sport, Ponte alle Grazie 2012

External links[edit]