The Marathon des Sables (MdS, Marathon of the Sands, or Sahara Marathon) is a six-day, 251 km (156 mi) 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. 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.
- During the 1994 race, Italian police officer Mauro Prosperi lost his way during a sand storm and wandered lost for more than 9 days, losing over 13 kg (30 lb) of body weight.
- In 2007, the BBC reported the total cost to participate as being about ₤2565 (US$5000).
- As of 2007
, two competitors had died during the race.
- For the 2008 Marathon des Sables, the registration fee was €2550 before taxes.
- As of 2013Morocco had won 10 titles, and his brother Mohammed Ahansal 5 titles.
, Lahcen Ahansal from
- In the 2009 race, there was heavy rain, in the two days before the start of the race, causing the first and last day's stages to be cancelled due to flooding. This had never before occurred during the history of the MdS. To compensate, the 'long stage' was the longest in the race's history at 56 miles.
- The 2011 race saw a new winner take the podium, Rachid Morabity, Mohamed Ahansal's pupil and fellow countryman, in a time of 20 hours, 58 minutes and 19 seconds. It was the longest yet at 250.7 km.
Notable participants 
- 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: Curved 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: http://www.tedarcher.com/)
- 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.
External links