Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Stage 5

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The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

STAGE 5 RICH MERZOUG / IGADOUN TARHBALT 42.2KM

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Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Stage 2

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The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

STAGE 2 ERG ZNAIGUI / OUED MOUNGARF 41KM

MDS2014 Stg2

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No reproduction or sharing please.

Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Arrival and registration

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The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

Arrival and registration for the race

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No reproduction or sharing please.

Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 4 (The Long Day)

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Tough, very hot and exhausting was the general consensus in bivouac. Starting with a tough ascent of a Jebel, also featured in the 2013 race, the long day was going to be brute. Dunes, salt flats; a wonderful passage of a high ridge and plenty of sand and dunes was going to be a test for all.

Al Aqra once again started from the gun and broke tradition. Instead of blowing up and loosing pace, he seemed to get faster and coverd the 82km stage in a crazy 7:14.Second place was taken by race leader, El Morabityok  almost 30min later, 7:37:18. Sa placed 3rd in 7:40:19 and importantly from a UK perspective, Kendall continued his best MDS performance so far with 6th place, 8:04.

Kimballshowed her class and experience starting slowly and nce she had started to pull away the gap tinued to grow and she not only secured a stage winning performance but also (barring disaster) ran a race winning stage. Speaking after the stage, Kimball said that adjusting to the heqt in stages 1 to 3 was essential and that once settled she could run her own race on the 82km leg. Klein unfortunately seemed to have the demons of 2013 looming over head and never looked comfortable. Running to CP3 in the heqt of the day Klein looked distresed by the heat. Soldiering on, Klein finished the stage 5th in 12:06:48, almost 2hrs behind Kimballs 10:48:38.

Morrisey from Ireland finished 2nd in 11:36:10 and must be cursing the bqd luck of stage 1 when she was unwell. Pierron placed 3rd and Roux 4th.

Top Brit Julie Donovan finished a little further down the classification but still holds 5th overall.

GC with one stage to go:

Men:

El Morabity 16:53:56

Al Aqra 17:03:19

Ahanal 17:14:17

Kendall 5th 18:07:49

Ladies:

Kimball 24:11:08

Klein 25:11:00

Roux 25:38:08

Donovan 5th 28:16:19

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Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 5

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What a day for the Brits… Morrisey won the ladies race ahead of Roux and Kimball and Kendall placed 2nd behind a flying El Mouaziz.
The final official day of the 29th Marathon des Sables came to a conclusion today over a classic marathon distance in the sands of the Sahara. From the outside looking in, it would appear that the leading ladies and men were happy with the overall standings and raced pretty much together. However, Morrisey had something to prove… had she not had a terrible first day due to illness, we may well be looking at a different set of results for the ladies GC, however, as we all know, that is racing… Morrisey pushed the pace throughout and a little like Meek in 2013 stamped her authority on the final stage taking out the win in 4:35:23. Roux from France placed 2nd, 4:52:47 and Kimball and Klein placed 3rd and 4th respectively in times of 4:53:41 and 4:54:19. Kimball looked extremely happy with her foray into a miltiday race and Klein was respectful in defeat.
El Morabity and Al Aqra ran side by side throughout the final day, both happy with 1st and 2nd places. Ahansal trailed a little behind also confident his third place was secure. However, at the front of the race, Elmouaziz used his 2:06 marathon pace to set the sand alight and take a convincing stage victory in 3:11:22. I cannot help but think that he will be back, learning curve over and ready to push the front of the race in the 30th edition. Kendall pe race told me he was going to go for it and go for it he did. Not only did he need to maintain a 1 min lead over Solaris he also had the possibiliy to chase Sa for 4th. As the day unfolded, Sa matched Kendall, however, in the latter stages, Kendall pushed and placed 2nd on the stage with a stunning run, 3:22:26 and Sa finished less than 1 min later in 3:23:12.
El Morabity, Al Aqra and Ahansal placed 5th, 6th and 7th confident that the GC would nt change.
The 29th MDS has been a tough and hot race… the hardest; maybe. Each and every runner, first to last achieved something very special in Morocco this year. To see the joy, the tears, the passion and the pain released on the final finish line is a joy to behold. Medal in hand, memories to last forever. The 29th MDS is done. A short charity stage takes place on Saturday and the the parties begin… a hotel, a shower, clean beds and plenty of food.
The MDS is quite a race and no sooner will this race be over and preparations will begin for 2015; the 30th edition.

Men

  1. El Morabity 20:27:37
  2. Al Aqra 20:37:09
  3. Ahansal 20:50:58
  4. Sa 21:24:58
  5. Kendall 21:30:15

Ladies

  1. Kimball 29:04:49
  2. Klein 30:05:19
  3. Roux 31:30:56
  4. Pierron 32:29:47
  5. Donovan 33:37:17

Great result for Brit ladies: 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Donovan, Leakey, Morrisey and Young

Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 3

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Stage 3 of the 29th edition of the MDS wil be remembered for heat and dunes. It had both in abundance! With over 20km of dunes in a 37km stage, it was always going to be tough and it was.
Ahansal and Al Aqra pushed the pace in the early stages with El Moriaty playing it cool. However, El Moriaty pushed after cp1 and once again showed his impressive form. Equally, fast man and MDS novice is showing that dunes are not slowing his 2:06 marathon pace. The two, once again placed 1 and 2, 2:58:47 and 2:59:37. Ahansal had a better day and despite pushing hard early on placed 3rd in 3:00:46. Brit, Kendall purposely had an easier day and placed 9th in 3:20:32 keeping some powder dry for tomorrows long 82km day.
Kimball from the USA finally took the reigns in the ladies ra:ce and finished 4min clear of pre race favourite, Klein; 4:24:53 to 4:28:26
Roux is proving to be the new French darling wth another third place. It is all to plaf for tomorrow and I think Kimball will come into her own on a long and tough stage.
British interest took a jump with Donovan placing 7th and Morrisey and Young pipping her to the line.

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Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 2

Al Aqra (previous MDS winner) went from the gun the morning and set a relentless pace that only El Moriaty could match. A third of the way into the stage they ran side by side but the pace took its toll, Al Aqra faded allowing a repeat victory in 3:13:43 for El Moriaty. Fast man, Elmouaziz but his 2:06 pace to good use and finished just over 1min back with Al Aqra taking 3rd in 3:21:11.
Ahansall could not take the pace today and finished 4th just 30 secs ahead of Brit, Danny Kendall in 3:23:05.
Klein once again provided a very familiar pattern for the ladies race with a solid stage win just 11min clear of Kimball in 4:30:08. Roux from France placed 3rd in 5:03 and Brit, Donovan placed 4th, 5:15:33.
The heat once again was relentless today with apparently 50deg recorded. The tough course and extreme temperqtures are impacting on all the racers with over 20 drop outs yesterday and more today. Stage 3 continues the format with high temperatures forecast and almost 30km of dunes….

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Marathon des Sables 2014 Stage 1

Day 1 was a tough and exciting day in the dunes of the Sahara. Arguably one of the toughest first days on record. The sand was relentless as was the heat… mid 40s.
Rachid El Moriaty and Mohamad Ahansal used local knowledge to advantage and placed 1 and 2 on the day, 3:04:06 and 3:05:08 respectively.
2:06 marathon runner Elhouaziz used his speed to make up for navigation errors to place 3rd, 3:12:26.
Top Brit Danny Kendall, 10th in 2013 placed 5th in 3:19:40.
Laurence Klein used her experience and speed for a convincing stage victory over Nikki Kimball from the USA. However, Laurence does not look as relaxed as previous years, 4:05:37 and 4:16:33 respectively.
Julie Bryan from the USA was third 35min back and top Brit was Julie Donovan in 5th.

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Across the Years – Aravaipa Running

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Joe Fejes (48) managed to hold of ultra running legend, Yiannis Kouros (57) at the Across the Years 6-day event held by Aravaipa Running. Liz Bauer (54) covering a distance of 415.72-miles was 5th overall and the ladies outright winner with Vikena Yutz (43) almost 50-miles in arrears.

The 6-day event proved an incredible nail biter as Fejes and Kouros pushed each other to the limits. Behind, William Sichel (60) had held 3rd place for a considerable length of time but in the latter stages, Ed Ettinghausen (51) rallied and beat Sichel with just over 4-miles distance; 476.61 to 472.41-miles.

It just goes to show, that age is not a limiting factor when it comes to running long!

Imagine, running 6-days and covering 555+ miles and having the greatest ultra runner in the world at your heals; pushing you and pushing you.

It’s an incredible testament to what some people are able to endure and put themselves through. While many of us will have been drinking and eating 2013 away and welcoming 2014, these brave souls, 55 in total (finished) were putting one front in front of the other. Fighting physical, mental and sleep fatigue; they all produced the unbelievable!

Top-10 results:

across years top 10

In addition, records were broken:

  • Joe Fejes broke the American 6-day record. (His first attempt at 6-days)
  • Ed Ettinghausen broke the 50-54yr old 6-day record. (also first attempt at 6-days)
  • All records here: http://192.227.164.175:8080

Records:

 

records

Aravaipa Running staged many events in Across the Years : 24-hours, 48-hours, 72-hours and the 6-day.

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you.

Marathon des Sables STAGE 6

The final day of the Marathon des Sables is ‘usually’ an easy stage. Your finish is guaranteed! Almost….

Not so for the 2013 edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

For the fast runners, one days rest had preceded the final competitive stage of the 28th edition of the race. However, for the slower runners who had taken over 24 hours to complete the 75.7km of the long day, rest was minimal.

The final leg was over the classic marathon distance. It was by no means and an easy day. When you add to this, plenty of sand, dunes and searing heat, it was going to be tough.

Tired limbs, sore and blistered feet moved to the start and after the obligatory briefing they were off, straight into dunes. Golden rollercoasters providing a light and dark palette. It was by far the most impressive start stage start of the entire race

In reality, the front end of the field was not going to see much change. It was guaranteed that barring a disaster; Mohamad Ahansal and Meghan Hicks would be crowned winners off the 28th Sultan Marathon des Sables.

However, Aziz El Akad and Jo Meek had different plans. Both of them ran incredibly hard over the 42km and secured two impressive stage wins. El Akad crossed the line in 03:18:36 and was awarded his medal by Patrick Bauer. In true MDS tradition, Patrick waits on the line and welcomes every runner on the last day. Jo Meek in particular ‘chicked’ many of the men with a time of 04:14:34. On the finish line the emotion and realization of what she had achieved took hold. As the tears rolled down her face she just said, “I can’t take it in. I came here to race but I never thought I would achieve second overall. Today’s distance, the classic marathon, is MY distance so I wanted to run hard”.

2012 winner, Salameh Al Aqra from Jordan finished a great 2013 race with second place in 03:26:34 and Mohamad Ahansal was close behind in 03:29:40. Danny Kendall had an inspired day and finished the race as he started with 6th on the stage with 03:46:19

Meghan Hicks finished second on the stage in 04:26:53 and after a relatively reserved crossing of the line she suddenly jumped, bounced and whoop whooped! Finally she was topping the podium at one of the most iconic races in the world.

Finishing the podium was another Brit, Zoe Salt. It really has been a year when the Brits have made a resounding presence felt and for sure, the ladies race looks very strong for the future.

The final day is all about medals and completing a journey. The finish line is a place of emotion. Every single person has a different emotion. Cheers and screams follow blank faces and hollow eyes. Tears roll down a cheek and arms are raised above heads and you hear a “yes! YES! I did it”.

The emotion, the camaraderie and the bonding of all was personified late in the evening when Didier Benguigui and his guide, Gilles arrived at the finish followed by a convoy of cars with flashing lights. An impromptu alleyway of staff with head torches and the support of many runners cheered, clapped and applauded as Didier crossed the line to complete his 10th Marathon des Sables.

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Races are memories. Didier and Gilles summed up everything that one could witness in any race; devotion, sacrifice, suffering and ultimately victory.

As they walked past the line to the applause, cheers and celebrations of all, in bivouac a rock band started to warm up to provide some entertainment for tired and emotional bodies.

It was an incredible 2013 race and one that I feel honored to have witnessed

Overall Results:

 Men

  1. Ahansal (MAR), 18h59’35
  2. Al Aqra (JOR), 19h41’15
  3. Capo Soler (ESP), 20h19’31

First Brit: Danny Kendall (GBR), 21h46’03

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Ladies

  1. Meghan Hicks (USA), 24h42’01
  2. Joanna Meek (GBR), 25h41’01
  3. Zoe Salt (GBR), 27h03’58

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