Episode 85 – Marathon des Sables Special

EP85

Episode 85 is a 30th anniversary MDS special with Niandi Carmont co-hosting and discussing her race in depth. We speak with ladies champ, Elisabet Barnes and Darren Grigas and Ian Knight tell us all about their races. Robbie Britton also joins us and provides an insight into his 3rd place at the IAU 24-hour champs. The News, Up and Coming races and hopefully some RnR.
NEWS
 
IAU 24-hour
Reus Florian 263.899
Szynal Pawel 261.181
Robbie Britton 261.140
INTERVIEW – ROBBIE BRITTON
Katalin Nagy 244.495
Traci Falbo 239.740
Maria Jansson 238.964
Buffalo Stampede SkyRace
Stevie Kremer 4:26
Hanny Alston 4:31
Mira Rai 4:52
Blake Hose 3:59
David Byrne 4:20
Michel Lanne 4:22
Buffalo Stampede Ultra
Tom Owens 8:17
Andrew Tuckey 8:28
Marty Lurkes 8:53
Landie Greyling 9:40
Beth Cardelli 9:59
Julie Quinn 10:05
Lake Sonoma 50
Alex Varner 6:09 CR
Ryan Bak 6:23
Jared Hazen 6:31
Steph Howe 7:08 CR
Cassie Scallon 7:22
Ashly Erba 7:36
BLOG
 
INTERVIEWS – ELISABET BARNES, IAN KNIGHT and DARREN GRIGAS
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Austria

Tiroler Abenteuerlauf 60 KM | 60 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Belgium

Brussels Capital Region

Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Wallonia

La Bouillonnante – 56 km | 56 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

British Virgin Islands

Tortola Torture | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Canada

Ontario

Pick Your Poison 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Chile

Ultra Fiord 100K | 100 kilometers | April 17, 2015 | website

Ultra Fiord 70K | 70 kilometers | April 17, 2015 | website

China

Dalian 100 | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Dalian 50 | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Shangri-La 100k | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Shangri-La 50k | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Croatia

100 Miles of Istria | 100 miles | April 17, 2015 | website

100 Miles of Istria – 105 km | 105 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

100 Miles of Istria – 65 km | 65 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Denmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 01, 2015 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 01, 2015 | website

Ethiopia

Ethiopian Lakes Trail | 85 kilometers | April 27, 2015 | website

France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (79+25) | 104 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (UTBA) | 79 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Ardèche

Trail l’Ardéchois – 57 km | 57 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Ariège

Trail des Citadelles – 70 km | 73 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Aveyron

Trail du Capuchadou | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Trail “Le Roc de la Lune” – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Trans Aubrac | 105 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Bas-Rhin

Le Challenge des Seigneurs | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Le Défi des Seigneurs | 74 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Le Grand Défi des Vosges | 58 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

L’Intégrale | 132 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Dordogne

100 km de Belvès en Périgord Noir | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Morbihan

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 115 km | 115 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 63 km | 63 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Seine-et-Marne

Grand Trail du Sonneur | 66 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail de la Brie des Morin | 87 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Seine-Maritime

Le RaDicAtrAil – 110 km | 110 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Le RaDicAtrAil – 56 km | 56 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Var

French Ultra Festival – 50 km Marche | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Vosges

Trail des Roches | 73 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Germany

Baden-Württemberg

Lauf “Rund um Wolfach” | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon April | 108 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Lower Saxony

HeXenStieg Ultralauf | 219 kilometers | April 24, 2015 | website

Hexentanz | 104 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Saxony

Saxonian Mt. Everestmarathon | 84390 meters | April 18, 2015 | website

Saxony-Anhalt

Harzquerung – 51 km | 51 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Greece

300 of Sparta | 378 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 255 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Hungary

Mátrabérc Trail | 55 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

India

Sandakphu 70 Mile Himalayan Race | 70 miles | April 26, 2015 | website

Israel

Mountain to Valley Relay | 215 kilometers | April 29, 2015 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 70 km Ultra | 70 kilometers | April 17, 2015 | website

Italy

Emilia-Romagna

50 KM di Romagna | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Lombardy

UMS Ultramaratona Milano Sanremo | 280 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Sicily

Lafuma Volcano Trail | 80 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Tuscany

The Abbots Way | 125 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Japan

Challenge Fuji 5 Lakes – 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Challenge Fuji 5 Lakes – 112 km | 112 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Challenge Fuji 5 Lakes – 72 km | 72 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Fuji Five Lakes 100 km Challenge | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Fuji Five Lakes 118 km Challenge | 118 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Fuji Five Lakes 71 km Challenge | 71 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Madagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 01, 2015 | website

Nepal

Everest Ultra | 65 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Mustang Trail Race | 170 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Trail des Trois Vallées | 353 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Netherlands

Limburg

Limburgs Zwaarste 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Limburgs Zwaarste 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Limburgs Zwaarste 80 km | 80 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Poland

Beskidzka 160 Na – Long Distance | 84 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Portugal

75 km | 75 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Gerês Trail Aventure® | 130 kilometers | April 30, 2015 | website

Gerês Trail Aventure® Starter | 70 kilometers | April 30, 2015 | website

Peneda-Gerês Trail Aventure® | 280 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Serbia

Fruska Gora Ultra Plus | 111 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

South Africa

Loskop Ultra Marathon | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Slow-Mag Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

The Hobbit 100 | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Spain

Andalusia

TrailRunning BRIMZ “Guzmán el Bueno” X Sierra Morena – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Balearic Islands

Trail Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 62 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Ultra Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 102 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Canary Islands

Anaga Ultratrail 88 km | 88 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Catalonia

Long Trail Barcelona | 69 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Oxfam Intermón Spain – Girona | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Ultra Trail Barcelona | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Sweden

Täby Extreme Challenge 100 miles | 100 miles | April 19, 2015 | website

Täby Extreme Challenge 50 miles | 50 miles | April 19, 2015 | website

Tunisia

100km of Sahara | 110 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Ahotu_7e740fcacd0b51330fbaTurkey

Iznik 130K Ultramarathon | 130 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Orhangazi Ultra Marathon 80K | 80 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

East Dunbartonshire

Highland ‘Fling’ | 53 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Northumberland

Kielder Ultra Trail 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Kielder Ultra Trail 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Kielder Ultra Trail 80 km | 80 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

North Yorkshire

The Fellsman | 60 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Worcestershire

The Evesham Ultra | 46 miles | April 26, 2015 | website

United States Minor Outlying Islands

Brazos Bend 50 | 50 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Grand Viduta Stage Race | 43 miles | April 24, 2015 | website

Race Across Alabama – Border to Border (7 Marathons) | 210 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Arkansas

Ouachita Trail 50 Km | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Ouachita Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

California

Diablo Trails Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Folsom Lake Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Leona Divide 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Leona Divide 50 Miles | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Lost Boys 50 Mile Trail Run | 50 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Mokelumne River 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Mokelumne River 50M | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Rodeo Beach Rumble 50K | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Ruth Anderson 100k | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Ruth Anderson 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Ruth Anderson 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2015 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50 Miles Run | 50 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Colorado

Cheyenne Mtn. Trail 50K Race | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 100K | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. Double Marathon | 52 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Rattler Trail Races 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Connecticut

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 100k | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50k | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2015 | website

Traprock 50 | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Florida

DTR Endurance Race 50k | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

JWCorbett 50K | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

JWCorbett 50M | 50 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Georgia

DoubleTop 100 100k | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

DoubleTop 100 100M | 100 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Double Top 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Double Top 100 Mile | 100 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Double Top 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Race Across Georgia – Border to Border (7 Marathons) | 194 miles | April 27, 2015 | website

Race Across Georgia – Silver Comet (4 Marathons) | 107 miles | April 27, 2015 | website

SweetH20 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Idaho

Menan Butte Trail Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Weiser 50k Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Weiser 50k Ultra Relay | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Illinois

Earth Day 50K Trail Race | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Indiana

Indiana Trail 100 | 100 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Indiana Trail 50 | 50 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Kansas

FlatRock 101K Ultra Trail Race | 101 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Free State Trail Runs 100 km Trail Ultra | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Free State Trail Runs 40-Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Kentucky

Vol State 500K 2 Person Relay | 500 kilometers | April 23, 2015 | website

Vol State 500K 3 Person Relay | 500 kilometers | April 23, 2015 | website

Vol State 500K 4 Person Relay | 500 kilometers | April 23, 2015 | website

Yamacraw 50k | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Maryland

C&O Canal 100 | 100 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Massachusetts

Don’t Run Boston 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

TARC 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2015 | website

TARC Spring Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Michigan

Running Fit Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Traverse City Trail Running Festival 50k Run | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Minnesota

Trail Mix Race MN – 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Missouri

Double Chubb 50k | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Nevada

Henderson Trail Classic 55K Trail Race | 55 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

New York

100 Mile PEACE Ultra Marathon | 100 miles | April 17, 2015 | website

Sybil Ludington 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Cures for Colors 100 Mile Run/Walk | 100 miles | April 25, 2015 | website

Leatherwood Ultras 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Leatherwood Ultras 50M | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Run the Rock Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Hyner Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

The Ironmasters Challenge – 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Texas

Hog’s Hunt 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

The Aoudad 50K | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Utah

Salt Flats 100 | 100 miles | April 24, 2015 | website

Salt Flats 50 | 50 miles | April 24, 2015 | website

Virginia

Bel Monte 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Bel Monte 50 mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Promise Land 50K | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington DC 50K | 50 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

The North Face Endurance Challenge Washington DC 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 18, 2015 | website

Washington

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 50 mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2015 | website

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 55 km | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Mt. Si 50K Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Mt. Si 50 Mile Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 miles | April 26, 2015 | website

Palouse 100K Relay – 2-3 runners | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Palouse 100K Relay – 4-10 runners | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Palouse 100K Solo | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2015 | website

Snake River Island Hop 100K | 100 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Snake River Island Hop 50K | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

Spokane River Run 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

XTERRA Spring Eagle 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2015 | website

Yakima Skyline Rim 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2015 | website

Wisconsin

Chippewa 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 25, 2015 | website

CLOSE
03:01:23
LINKS

Marathon des Sables 2015 #MDS2015 – Race Images

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The 30th edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables is over! What a race… we all knew that race director, Patrick Bauer would create something special and he did not disappoint.

Tough stages and the longest days had runners tackling 92km’s, the longest stage ever in the 30 year history of the race.

Rachid El Morabity (20:21:39) won the men’s race once again in true style and Elisabet Barnes (26:42:13) showed pure class in winning every stage of the ladies race. A race summary will follow.

Below is a selected portfolio that encompasses the 30th edition of the race. A full image gallery will be uploaded to iancorless.phtoshelter.com in due course.

All images ©iancorless.com

Marathon des Sables 2015 (30th Edition) – RACE PREVIEW

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MDS, Marathon des Sables, The Toughest Race in the World… whatever you want to call it, the 30th edition is just around the corner. Think about it, 30-years. It’s quite incredible how this race has grown and has become ‘the’ multiday race to do irrespective of experience. It was the first and arguably is still the best offering an ultimate adventure for novice and experienced runner.

Many a runner has started a passion for running at MDS and as such; the race will always be an important landmark for many. But it’s more than a race. It’s an experience, it’s escape and it’s a challenge.

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The combination of self-sufficiency, life in bivouac and running 250-km’s through the heat of the Sahara is something that those that have experienced it will never forget. It is the story of life, a story of men and women who have come to the heart of the desert to rid themselves of the superficial to keep only the essentials and get in touch with their true selves.

For the past three decades, some 18,000 runners have signed up for this experience, so, with the imminent running of the 2015 edition, it’s fair to say that race will see a great number of participants returning to ‘celebrate’ a very important birthday.

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Lasting six days participants must be self-sufficient carrying everything they need in a pack. Water is provided but rationed and a tent (bivouac) is provided each evening that must be shared with seven other participants.

The 2015 edition of the race will be 250-km’s offering a series of challenges that will test the mind and body in equal measure. Dunes, djebels, ergs and dried-up lakes offer a stunning backdrop that must be traversed. Battling against sand, heat and above all the mind completing the 30th edition of the Marathon des Sables will be a dream come true for those who toe the line.

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THE ROUTE for 2015

Stage 1 – Sunday 5th April

Here we have a very uneven playing field and a sufficient number of kilometers to make their presence felt. Competitors will have to run, avoid the obstacles and climb the surrounding uphill sections. The first dunes are between CP1 and CP2. It is fair to say that day-1 of the 30th MARATHON DES SABLES will be a long one.

Stage 2 – Monday 6th April

Those who imagine the desert to be flat are in for a surprise. Three steep little climbs form this second leg, with gradients reaching 30%… A new kind of roller-coaster ride which will open up landscapes that will be a sight to behold.

Stage 3 – Tuesday 7th April

Sand will be omnipresent today with some stony sections and some dried-up lakes. There will be a little something for everyone with some uphill sections here and there.

Stage 4 – Wednesday 8 / Thursday 9 April

A tough initial climb will hurt the legs, especially as it’s going to be a long day. Indeed this particular day will be the longest leg in the history of the MDS. And if that wasn’t enough, a climb of nearly a kilometer up a djebel awaits. At the summit runners will have 360° panoramic views. As for the descent, well it’s steep! After that, runners then traverse dunes, dried-up lakes and more dunes!

Stage 5 – Friday 10 April

Today’s route has a mixture of terrain that are hallmarks of the MDS, it’s a classic day!

Stage 6 -Saturday 11 April – SOLIDARITY UNICEF legs

For the majority of the participants, this leg is
a time for reflecting on the experience of this fine human adventure and is a united show of awareness before returning to civilization.

RUNNERS TO WATCH

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Antoine Guillon was second three times, third once and fourth three times in the Diagonale des Fous in addition, he is always well placed in the UTMB. Offered a place by the UTWT, Antoine will try his luck in the 30th MDS for the first time. Antoine just placed 3rd at Transgrancanaria, so his form is good. Can he recover in time?

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Christophe Le Saux never seazes to amaze me with his relentless racing calendar, he was 10th in 2014, 9th in 2013, 6th in 2012.

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Carlos Sà is a regular at MDS and has a wealth of talent and experience to excel. He was 4th last year’s, 7th in 2013. 4th in 2012 and 8th in 2011.

Dave Mackey has been one of the top American ultra runners for many years and he has excelled at the 100-km distance. His participation at MDS marks a new departure for him and it will be interesting to see how he handles racing over multiple days.

Javier Teixido Marti-Ventosa is the 2014 winner of the Andorra Ultra-Trail Ultra-Mitic (112km).

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Danny Kendall gets a nod from a UK perspective. He placed 5th last year and we can only hope that he moves up the rankings with a podium place. He knows the race, he knows the conditions and he understands survival in the Sahara; he just needs to bring it all together once again.

All six will be attempting to topple the Moroccan and Jordanian supremacy by keeping a close eye on the following:

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Mohamad Ahansal like his brother, Lahcen needs no introduction. He has 15 participations in the MDS, which includes 5 victories. He has been 2nd no less than 9 times and 3rd in 2014.

Abdelkader El Mouaziz placed 7th in 2014 on his first participation, he will be looking to improve in 2015.

Samir Akhdar has had several participations at MDS placing 6th in 2011 and 7th in 2009. 
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Salameh Al Aqra is always smiling and a great presence in the race, he was 1st in 2012, 2nd in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 and placed 3rd in 2009 and 2011.

In the female contingent:

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Laurence Klein targets her 4th victory after making the podium in 2014 and 2013.

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Meghan Hicks champion in 2013, missed 2014 through injury and will be setting her sights on a 2nd win.

Liza Howard is the holder of a number of 100-mile race records and American champion over 100km and 50 miles in 2011, should have what it takes to treat the United States to a third crown in a row after Nikki Kimball and Meghan Hicks.

Jolanda Linschooten gets a heads up from my friend Jeroen Krosse and he says, ‘one to watch’ for sure. So I agree, she is one to watch. Jolanda has been 2nd and 4th before!

Claire Morrisey is the British hope who returns after placing 7th in 2014.

INSPIRING STORIES:

Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal, ten-time winner of the
MDS between 1997 and 2007 is
making a comeback this year after six years
absence. “I wanted to hook back up with this race through
a goal that isn’t purely competitive, but also human”, admits
the athlete who has agreed to act as a guide to the partially
sighted German runner, Harald Lange. “After pulling off the
challenge of securing 10 victories, I now want to rack up 20
participations. And why not be around for the 40th and 50th
editions too?” It should be said that Lahcen has not forgotten
his encounter with this legendary race, which has transformed his life. “I looked on with curiosity and amazement as the 23 athletes took the start of the first edition in 1986. From then on, I constantly dreamt that I, a nomadic child, would participate in this race. It has spurred on my life and created in me such a strong desire for sporting and human emancipation that I moved mountains to make my dream a reality some seven years later. It’s thanks to this race that I’ve become the man I am today.” Also of note, is the fact that another blind runner will participate in this edition as Didier Benguigui is returning with his guide, Gilles Clain, to celebrate his 11th edition.

The “4 Dinosaurs MDS” team comprises two French runners, Christian Ginter and François Cresci, one Moroccan, Karim Mosta and one Italian, Paolo Zubani, none of whom wanted to miss the 30th anniversary of the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES. Between them, these four passionate runners already boast a total of 105 participations, which amounts to 27 out of 29 editions for the restaurant owner-chef Christian Ginter and 26 for the other three. “The idea of creating a team of veterans came about in the tent last year”, beams Karim Mosta, the cheerful leader of this group of friends, who wouldn’t miss this key stage

The famous British explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, is embarking on a new adventure at 71 years of age. After earning the title of first man to reach the North and South Poles via land, the first person to traverse the Antarctic entirely on foot and the oldest Briton to climb Everest at 65 years of age, he now wants to become the oldest Briton to etch his name on the list of SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES 2015’ medalists.

At 83 years of age, Joseph Le Louarn will be the most senior participant in this 30th edition. “I said that I’d stop in 2012, at 80, but with the energy drummed up by this anniversary, I couldn’t resist,” smiles the runner who has always loved ‘ambitious projects’. Indeed some three years ago he was quoted as saying “Card games and meals for retired people aren’t for me. I need to move; I need goals. I want to stay fit for as long as possible.”

A native of Luxembourg, Simone Kayser Diederich, 3-time champion of the MARATHON DES SABLES (2002, 2004 and 2005), will take the start of this 30th edition to celebrate her 60th birthday and her 14th participation. It’s a similar scenario for Moroccan Nadia Dadoun, 56, who will celebrate her 16th participation in this SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES 2015, which is a record number of entries among the event’s female contingent.

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CRAZY STATS:

  • 150 volunteers to supervise the race,
  • 450 general support staff,
  • 120,000 liters of bottled mineral water,
  • 300 Berber and Saharan tents,
  • 120 all-terrain vehicles and trucks,
  • 2 Squirrel helicopters and 1 Cessna plane,
  • 8 Transavia ‘MDS special’ commercial planes,
  • 30 buses,
  • 4 dromedaries,
  • 1 incinerator lorry for burning waste,
  • 5 quad bikes to monitor race environment and safety,
  • 72 medical staff,
  • 2.3kms of Elastoplast,
  • 12,200 compresses,
  • 6,000 painkillers,
  • 150 liters of disinfectant,
  • 1 editing bus,
  • 5 cameras,
  • 1 satellite image station,
  • 10 satellite telephones,
  • 30 computers, fax and internet,
  • 18,000 competitors since 1986
  • 30% returning competitors, 70% international, 30% French, 
17% women, 45% veterans, 
30% in teams, 
10% walkers, 
90% alternate walking and running,
  • 14 km/hr.: average maximum speed, 3 km/hr.: average minimum speed,
  • 15 years of age for the youngest competitor and the oldest, 83!

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QUOTES

  • “The MARATHON DES SABLES is the United Nations. The runners come from all over the world, share the same emotions and help one another. All the boundaries are erased. We should take inspiration from it.” – Kirk McCall (United States)
  • “This event isn’t just a sporting activity. It’s a mental and philosophical process. In the desert, nature puts us back in our place at the heart of this environment. The MARATHON DES SABLES opens up new perspectives to us. People often think we’re crazy, but maybe they’re the crazy ones!” – Fernando Jose Castro Cabral (Brazil)
  • “The MARATHON DES SABLES represents Mecca. I come here for an annual pilgrimage. It purifies me.” – Amine Kabbaj (Morocco)
  • “Running in the desert purges me and enables me to empty my mind. I want to discover the desert by experiencing it from the inside. Each day, I recite a poem along the course. To think about poetry whilst running is a fantastic mental luxury. To run and be elsewhere through your thoughts… The sobriety of the desert is a source of inspiration.” – Duc Le Quang (Vietnam)
  • “In the MARATHON DES SABLES, you learn to rediscover and appreciate the simple pleasures. On top of that there is this solidarity between the runners. You run and you come across someone from Colombia, Portugal or China. You don’t know them but you share a moment with them. These encounters are worth all the money in the world.” – Nicolas Esterhazy (Belgium)

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Twenty-Nine years of victories.

Here is a who’s who of those 29-years.

1986 – Michel GALLIEZ (FRANCE) – Christiane PLUMERE (FRANCE)

1987 – Bernard GAUDIN (FRANCE) – Marie-Ange MALCUIT (FRANCE)

1988 – Bernard GAUDIN (FRANCE) – Marie-Ange MALCUIT (FRANCE)

1989 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Marie-Claude BATTISTELLI (FRANCE)

1990 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Claire GARNIER (FRANCE)

1991 – Hassan SEBTAOUI (FRANCE) – Monique FRUSSOTE (FRANCE)

1992 – Mohamed BENSALAH (MOROCCO) – Monique FRUSSOTE (FRANCE)

1993 – Mohamed BENSALAH (MOROCCO) – Irina PETROVNA (RUSSIA)

1994 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Valentina LIAKHOVA (RUSSIA)

1995 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Béatrice REYMANN (FRANCE)

1996 – André DERKSEN (RUSSIA) – Anke MOLKENTHIN (GERMANY)

1997 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Rosanna PELLIZZARI (ITALY)

1998 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Rosanna PELLIZZARI (ITALY)

1999 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Lisa SMITH (USA)

2000 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Pascale MARTIN (FRANCE)

2001 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Franca FIACCONI (ITALY)

2002 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUXEMBOURG)

2003 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Magali JUVENAL (FRANCE)

2004 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUXEMBOURG)

2005 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Simone KAYSER (LUX)

2006 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Géraldine COURDESSE (FRANCE)

2007 – Lahcen AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2008 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Touda DIDI (MOROCCO)

2009 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Touda DIDI (MOROCCO)

2010 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Monica AGUILERA (SPAIN)

2011 – Rachid EL MORABITY (MOROCCO) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2012 – Salameh AL AQRA (JORDAN) – Laurence KLEIN (FRANCE)

2013 – Mohamad AHANSAL (MOROCCO) – Meghan HICKS (USA)

2014 – Rachid ELMORABITY (MOROCCO) – Nikki KIMBALL (USA)

 

RACE SCHEDULE 2015

 

  • 3 April 2015 – Leave country of residence/Morocco – Arrival in Ouarzazate, bus transfer to 1st bivouac
  • 4 April 2015 – Administrative, technical and medical checks – Day to acclimatize 
  • From 5 to 10 April 2015 – Race in progress (The self-sufficiency begins from breakfast on the 1st leg)
  • 11 April 2015 – Solidarity UNICEF leg – (end of dietary self-sufficiency) – Transfer to Ouarzazate
  • 12 April 2015  – Day of relaxation
  • 13 April 2015 – Return to country of residence

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Marathon des Sables – A history in brief

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1984: At 28 years of age, Patrick Bauer decided to make for the Sahara to try to traverse a 350km expanse of uninhabited desert, on foot, alone, where he wouldn’t come into contact with a single village, oasis or watering place. Totally self-sufficient, with a rucksack weighing 35kg and containing water and food, he set off on a journey that was to last 12 days. It was the starting point of what was to become the MARATHON DES SABLES.

1986: The creation of the first MDS in the Moroccan Sahara. The 23 pioneers who took the start never imagined that their footprints would mark the start of a legendary event, which has today become a must among the major adventure sport meets. The creation of a non-mechanical competition in the Moroccan sands offers adventure runners a wealth of new prospects.

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1987: Creation of the MDS logo: the face of a runner covered by a keffiyeh, the eyes protected by a pair of sunglasses and the pipette from the runner’s water container clenched between the teeth.

1989: 170 competitors take the start of the race.

1991: The gulf drama puts the MDS at a disadvantage and the financial partners withdraw. Fortunately some runners answer the call. For these competitors, the true victory lies in meeting athletes from different backgrounds and their communion in the desert around the same goal. Sport proves once again that it can bring people together and create bonds.

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1992: One and the same regulation for everyone. This year sees the establishing of unexpected draconian tests, to ensure that each participant properly transports all his or her gear from one end of the course to the other. A 30-point charter is drawn up.

First participation by the Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal

1994: Arrival of the Doc Trotters at the event.

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1995: 10th anniversary. Since the start, over 1,500 men and women have left their footprint and their passion in the desert. Installation of water-pump for the inhabitants of the village of Ighef n’rifi (South of Er-Rachidia) – an idea by competitor Gilles Flamant and backed by Rolland Barthes and Patrick Bauer. Its success is to be repeated again and again

1996: First participation by Mohamed, a younger sibling of Ahansal. The two Moroccan brothers set off together and rank 4th and 5th respectively.

1997: This year heralds the start of the Ahansal saga. Morocco is honored with Lahcen’s first victory. He beats his two pursuers by nearly 30 minutes, despite them being international long-distance running champions.

1999: A mobile hospital on the MDS comes into being. There are around thirty practitioners on the ground, with doctors and nurses joining the caravan. A dedicated helicopter and ten all-terrain vehicles track the competitors each day. On- board these vehicles there are doctors of course, as well as high-tech equipment. The village boasts a genuine field hospital.

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2000: Internet puts in an appearance in the large MDS village. The organization decides to broadcast the texts and photos of the race live, day after day. The competitors can communicate with their nearest and dearest and receive messages of encouragement.

2001: For the first time the long leg, traditionally called “The 70”, exceeds the 80km barrier to reach 82km. The threshold of 240km is also surpassed since the 16th MARATHON DES SABLES spans 243km. Another first relates to the fact that there are no Moroccans on the podium this year.

2002: This edition is punctuated by a sandstorm, involving headwinds, which lasts the entire week. The doctors invent a machine for ‘low pressure cleansing’ to rinse out the runners’ eyes. Despite the difficult conditions, there are few retirements to report as the wind considerably reduces the temperature.

2005: The Luxembourg runner Simone Kayser is the first woman to win 3 MARATHON DES SABLES. For this 20th edition, the total number of runners exceeds 700 for the first time, with no fewer than 777 runners taking the start.

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2006: A drying wind and very high humidity levels cause damage to the runners’ bodies. Despite additional allocations of water, a whole series of retirements ensues. There are a total of 146 retirements ultimately, which equates to double that of the previous record… Race management decides to shorten the long leg by over 10km given how tired the runners seem.

2008: The Solidarité MDS association is created. The aim: to develop projects to assist children and disadvantaged populations in the domains of health, education and sustainable development in Morocco. 

2009: MDS is disrupted by flooding and the 1st and 6th stages are not able to take place. To avoid the flood zones, the organization is obliged to improvise new legs on a day-to-day basis. In this way, the edition goes down in legend for its 3rd leg, which is the longest ever contested: 92km of sand, loose stones and rocks… The leg even sees the retirement of Lahcen Ahansal… At the prize giving the 2 winners admit to having competed in their hardest MDS. However, it was also the shortest: 202km.

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2010: For its 25th edition, the number of participations reaches a record high of 1,013 participants. It is to be the longest MARATHON DES SABLES. It spans 250 kilometers with a course considered by former entrants to be the most difficult ever organized.

2012: A dramatic turn of events on the longest leg as the then leader in the overall standing, Rachid El Morabity (MAR) injures himself one kilometer from the finish. Medical examinations reveal a serious muscular lesion in the quadriceps. After over five years on the 2nd or 3rd step of the podium, Jordanian Salameh Al Aqra secures the title.

2013: 1,027 competitors on the start line make this a new participation record. New feature: a final “Charity” stage sponsored by UNICEF and traversing the Merzouga dunes round off the race. Sportswise, Mohamad Ahansal and Megan Hicks are the champions of the 231.5km event. On a human level, all of the finishers pull off their crazy bet.

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2014: 2011 winner, Moroccan Rachid El Morabity (MAR) wins the overall ranking and takes Mohamad Ahansal’s crown. In the women’s category, another American stamps her mark, Nikki Kimball. The French revelation is one Michaël Gras, 22 years of age, 8th overall and top Frenchman. A major athletics star, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj lines up to take the start of Saturday’s Unicef Charity leg.

Content and information provided by ©marathondessables

FOLLOW THE 2015, 30th EDITION on this WEBSITE in words and images.

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Marathon des Sables Hints ‘n’ Tips on RUNULTRA from JoMeek, Danny Kendall and Nikki Kimball

MDS Hints_n_Tips

 

Running the Marathon des Sables or any other multi-day race? Read some of the Hints ‘n’ Tips from Nikki Kimball, winner of the 2014 MDS, Jo Meek, 2nd at the 2013 MDS and winner, course record holder for The Coastal Challenge and Danny Kendall, highest male British finisher, MDS 2014.

The Marathon des Sables dates back to 1984 when a 28-year old Patrick Bauer ventured into the Sahara to traverse solo a 350km journey. It was the ultimate self-sufficient expedition. Lasting 12-days, Patrick carried all he required in a 35kg pack. Inspired by the experience, the first edition was created in 1986; just 23-pioneers embarked on that journey… a journey into the unknown.

Who would have thought those formative years would have laid the foundations for what is, without question, the father of multi-day racing. In 2015 the race is 30-years old. It’s quite remarkable, The MDS as it is known has had memorable moments; in ‘91’ the Gulf drama had an impact on the race, in ‘94’ the arrival of Doc Trotters medical team, in ‘96’ Mohamed Ahansal participated for the first time, in ‘97’ Lahcen Ahansal won his first MDS, in ‘2000’ internet arrived in the Sahara, in ‘01’ the long day exceeded 70km, in ‘02’ a week of sandstorms and wind made the journey extra difficult, in ‘09’ the MDS had flooding and in ‘13’ solar energy arrived.

Much has been written about how to survive at the Marathon des Sables. With the 30th edition looming on the horizon I caught up with previous winner, Nikki Kimball, 2nd placed lady in 2013, Jo Meek and the UK’s highest ever male finisher, Danny Kendall to pass on some words of wisdom.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON RUNULTRA HERE

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Nikki Kimball – ‘Hints ‘n’ Tips’ Marathon des Sables #MDS2015

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Nikki Kimball is one of the most highly respected ultra runners in the world, Her running CV is beyond comprehension. It all started in 2000 with a win at Escarpment Trail Run 30k at the age of 29.

In 2004, Nikki had a break through moment with victory at the iconic Western States. Nikki also won again in 2006 and in 2007 she did the ultra double winning Western States and UTMB in the same year.

An ever present in the world of ultra running, Nikki has often been referenced as a true pioneer of the sport. In 2014 Nikki ran the Marathon des Sables for the first time and won! The Marathon des Sables is 30-years old this year so I wondered, what knowledge could Nikki pass on before the 2015 edition.

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It’s been a while Nikki, when did we last speak?

No, we spent a week together in Morocco.

Exactly… April, not that log ago I guess. A great place to start: was that your first multi day race?

I have done Jungle Marathon in Brazil, very similar to MDS but a lot less comfortable due to humidity. I did that in 2009. You need to carry all your gear just like MDS and I have done Transrockies too which is like summer camp.

I knew you had done Transrockies but not the Jungle Marathon.

 Oh yeah, Transrockies is a vacation.

 What enticed you to Morocco and MDS, great way to start a year?

Yes, I guess. I thought it would be great training for Western States. That was my initial goal. The UTWT helped me get me to Morocco so I must thank them. I had wanted to do MDS for some time but the financial side was an issue. I got the opportunity and wow; it was just awesome. It was so much more than what I expected. I was overwhelmed by the race. It is so professional, so impressive it is quite mind blowing. It was an incredible week of running.

So many have a perception of what MDS is. From a UK perspective it is an expensive race… USA also. The entry fee is high; I guess travel from the UK is okay but less so from the USA. It costs thousands of pounds and dollars. I am often asked: why does it cost so much? But having experienced it, it is the biggest circus I have ever seen.

Oh yeah. It’s amazing. The logistics are amazing. They have full medical teams and so on… There is a good reason why race entry is so much. It is beyond impressive. It is an unbelievable undertaking.

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From your perspective, the ‘Batchens’ (Lisa-Smith and Jay) are heavily involved as USA agents. Lisa-Smith has won the race. Did you speak with them pre race?

Oh for sure. I stayed with them and asked every question possible.

So you came well prepared?

Yes I think so. I also spoke and spent time with 2013 ladies winner, Meghan Hicks, so, between Lisa and Meghan I was well looked after. They understood the race and they could pass that on. You know, the feel of the race. Races have a feel and MDS definitely has a unique feel.

 Great that you should get advice from the other Americans who have won the race?

Oh yeah, we all live relatively close together so it was great.

 Talk me through the 2014 race. Give me some highlights!

Wow, the first couple of days were fun. I didn’t push it hard and I enjoyed the atmosphere. I was kind of having some depression problems prior to MDS. I have major depression anyway and I was kind of not doing too well going into the race. I remember on the first day… I was climbing a dune and I could see nothing but sunshine and happy people. My mood lifted. It was just amazing. The depression broke and it was really instrumental to setting the stage for the race. Day two and three was easy and then I guess it was the long day that I made my move. I had planned beforehand that I would try to win the race that day.

 Yes I remember pre race when we chatted that you said you would make a push that day. You expected Laurence Klein to be faster on the short days but the long day would play into your skill set and 100-mile experience.

I have never had a race go so well. It went perfect. Exactly to plan; easy couple of days and then ramp it up. I’m really happy with how it all went.

Did you get nervous early on? You know, thinking that you were giving time away to Laurence or did you have complete confidence?

I had confidence that I was racing the best way for me and that my strategy would give me my best performance. I had no idea how Laurence would race. I couldn’t control her pace, so I just ran my own race. I didn’t know I would beat Laurence but equally I wasn’t convinced I would loose to her either. After day two one of the French reporters asked me, “At this point do you think that you could possibly beat Laurence?” Big mistake… I was polite but I thought, ‘I will show ya!’

Well it’s a French race and Meghan won in 2013 so I guess they were hoping they would have a French lady back on the podium.

I guess so.

You upset the apple cart. Once the long day was done, did you just consolidate?

Absolutely! I have just completed sixteen years of ultra running. That is a long time. Once I took that lead on the long day, I knew I had no need to push. I could just defend and race smart. I don’t even know how many ultras I have done… but I know I don’t need to destroy myself.

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Great tactic. No extra points or extra prestige for winning by more hours. A great lesson for us all here!

I knew I had races coming up so I wanted to be sensible.

It’s a new year and MDS is not far away… the 30th edition. Runners are now suddenly panicking. The race is just months away. So may questions. What rucksack, what shoes, what sleeping bag, what food, tell us about bivouac and so on. What tips do you have for everyone that worked for you?

I had a very light sleeping bag and that was all I needed. I was warm in that but I do believe 2014 was a warm year. It didn’t really get cold at night, so, you may need to be careful on that. If you are racing and want to be competitive then weight is everything. You must go as light as possible. I didn’t have a sleeping pad, no luxuries, and no creature comforts. But if you want to ‘complete’ it makes sense to have a few comforts but don’t go crazy, remember you have to carry it!

How about food, what strategy did you use. You need a minimum calorie allowance.

Yes, I carried the minimum.

How did you break those calories down? It’s always a big debate; fat v carbs, dried food, bars, liquid, gels and so on. What did you do?

I took advice from Lisa and Meghan and a woman called Susan Hunt who had done loads of research on MDS. I went with what I thought would work for me. That is what you have to do. For me, I did one freeze-dried meal at night, which provided good calories. I rolled out all my food before I went to Morocco and mad it as small as possible and then put it in new bags. I just added water and then put them back in the sun to warm it so I didn’t need a stove. I also took a great deal of calories in peanut oil. It’s oil that lasts (it doesn’t go rancid) and it has loads of calories.

How did you carry that peanut oil?

I decanted it to small plastic bottles. I had over 1000 calories of peanut oil and I added it to my food. It was easy calories. If I go to MDS again I would take more. It worked really well.

So you had 1000+ calories to last the week?

Yes, I wasn’t eating 1000 calories of oil a day but I would definitely take much more for another trip or race like this. It’s great; just add to food and it really works.

 

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What did you do for breakfast?

I had dehydrated potatoes but it didn’t really work for me. I don’t eat a high carb diet anyway so it was a struggle. They tasted great for a couple of days and then I couldn’t stand it. I was throwing my breakfast away, crazy.

Yes, so many struggle with what they thought was safe food and then they can’t eat it. I remember Meghan saying she had a favourite bar that she loved. It was a bar she could eat anytime, so she took them to MDS. After day one (I think) she couldn’t face them! It is funny how your palette changes so quickly when under stress.

Exactly. I’m not sure how you find out what works though? I think variety is good. You need to play safe to a certain extent.

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What would be a breakfast choice now?

I would still take potato but only for a couple of days and then I would take some other freeze-dried option.

On the trail each day, how did you get calories?

I ate dried mango. I loved them and I never got sick of it. They were really great. I also had little packets of ‘Vespa’ for amino acid. That helped too. I knew I would burn my own fat for calories. You can’t race on 2000 calories alone so you will burn fat. I didn’t need to eat all that much really.

Great point! You have already mentioned you don’t eat much carb so am I correct to assume that you have a low carb and low sugar diet. You look to be fat adapted.

Not always but yes, for the last few years I have raced this way. I let myself go a little in the off-season but when I am racing I need to be 100% on my nutrition game. It’s all about balance, running is important but not all consuming.

I guess you prepared for MDS when the New Year started, what was training like. Did you do anything specific so that you knew you would be performant in Morocco?

When I signed up for MDS, I got invited to India to do a run. That wasn’t planned so I had to fit that in. This race was in February. It was a 100km in the heat in a salt desert on the Pakistan border; that was perfect! It was a great jump-start. I had no heat training at all really from that point onwards but I did run in the snow and that worked great. Running in the snow is very similar to the sand and dunes.

Yes, sand and snow very similar feel when running.

Yes, I have been running in the snow this winter and it has reminded me of MDS. Obviously running in the cold isn’t ideal but snow-running technique was brilliant. I have however always run well in the heat. My Western States performances confirm this.

What about back-to-back runs, speed sessions and running with a pack?

I didn’t run with a pack at all… I had one of those WAA packs and they are incredible. It fit me like a glove. I recommend people train with a pack but I do ski mountaineering and I always use a pack so I don’t need to adapt. I am 100% used to it.

I mentioned speed work and back-to-back runs. I guess you have been running so long that running a multi day is second nature?

Yes. I did no back-to-backs or speed. I have been doing this running thing for years.

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You have an incredible running history. You’ve won Western States and UTMB and so many other incredible races, so where does MDS fit. Is it one of the best?

Oh yes. It’s up there. It was a surprise for me. I didn’t expect it to be as fun and as challenging as it was. As I mentioned, I was a little depressed pre race and so therefore I was a little down. But the race kicked me out of that and I had a ball. I’d love to go back some day. It was a wonderful learning curve too. I met so many amazing people. It holds a special place in my heart.

I agree, MDS is quite special; I feel fortunate to witness the race from the outside looking in. Documenting each participant’s journey through images and words. Final question; how difficult do you rate MDS?

It’s no easy race if you are pushing at the front. But it’s as easy or as hard as you want it to be. The cut offs are generous and that provides so many with an opportunity, which is great. But if you are looking to be at the front, you have to be fit, dedicated and focused. It’s not the hardest race I have done but it is also not the easiest.

*****

Nikki will race The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica (HERE) in February and will hopefully peak for the 2015 Western States.

Nikki has a new film about to be released called FINDING TRACTION that documents her journey on the Long Trail (see Here)

If you require any photography, words or articles re Marathon des Sables please email using the contact form below.

 

 

Darkness to Light

Darkness to LightThe Marathon des Sables needs no introduction. It has been hailed as one of the toughest races in the world. Like it or love it, it has produced some wonderful and epic stories.

One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I marvel at the front runners moving fast through the dunes, up a jebel and ignoring the heat. However, the middle of the field and those who struggle each day to make the cut off no doubt provide me with incredible inspiration.

Gilles and Didier have provided such thoughts on numerous occasions.

Tears stream down his face as he sobs uncontrollably. Gilles, all smiles, pulls away and kisses him on each cheek with a passion seldom seen. It’s a moment to savor! They are the last two runners on the course and the moment epitomizes all that the Marathon des Sables represents. It shows a bond between two people and confirms all that is good and pure in human nature and ultra running.
Read the full article on RUNULTRA HERE
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Jo Meek on RUNULTRA

 

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Jo Meek has illuminated the ultra world in the past 18-months placing 2nd at the 28th edition of Marathon des Sables, winning The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, setting a new course record and an outright win at Iznik Ultra and then placed 5th at the iconic Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. But it didn’t end…

I caught up with Jo and wrote an article for RUNULTRA on this rising star of our sport.

Please check it out HERE

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Episode 59 – 29th Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons

Ep59 Talk Ultra

 

This weeks show is a Marathon des Sables and Barkley Marathons special. We have daily chats from the Sahara with top Brit and 5th overall, Danny Kendall. By contrast, we also have daily chats with actor, Bertie Portal who undertook the challenge of a lifetime at his first MDS. Barkley Marathons are infamous and we speak with rookie ‘fun run’ finisher Jamil Coury and we also speak with two time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell. The News, a Meltzer Moment, Up & Coming Races and of cousre Speedgoat Karl.

NEWS
Lake Sonoma 50
 
  1. Zach Miller 6:11:10 CR
  2. Rob Krar 6:12:14
  3. Sage Canaday 6:12:58
  1. Emily Harrison 7:26:15 CR
  2. Step Howe 7:33:24
  3. Kaci Kickteig 7:37:42
 
Marathon des Sables
 
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
Zion 100k
  1. Karl Meltzer 9:09:40
  2. Mick Jurynec 10:05:39
  3. Cody Draper 10:44:26
  1. Jen Segger 12:32:02
  2. Linday Tesar 13:04:55
  3. Tonya Littlehales 13:10:14
ZION 100m
  1. Jeff Browning 16:49:53
  2. Jason Koop 19:13:56
  3. Justin Faul 20:30:51
  1. Candice Burt 23:04:08
  2. Cherri Marcinko 24:26:18
  3. Lisa Jones 25:00:31
SDW50
  1. Paul Navesey 6:11:28
  2. Richard Ashton 6:23:26
  3. Mark Perkins 6:24:41
  1. Louise Waterman Evans 7:06:08
  2. Edwina Sutton 7:09:21
  3. Sarah Perkins 7:19:43
Scott Jurek and Rickey Gates – UK and Bob Graham Round
“Quite possibly one of the most difficult courses I have done in my life! Over 28,000 feet of ascent in 65 miles, yet amazingly gorgeous!”
BLOG – 
INTERVIEW
The Barkley Marathons are infamous. It’s the trail that eats its young… on this show, we have an interview with Barkley rookie, Jamil Coury who completed the 60-mile fun run and an interview with 2-time finisher and 2014 champ, Jared Campbell
AUDIO with JAMIL COURY
 
AUDIO with JARED CAMPBELL
 
MELTZER MOMENT with Speedgoat
 
 
UP & COMING RACES
 

Australia

Queensland

Wildhorse Criterium 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Wildhorse Criterium 70 km | 70 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Victoria

Go the Extra Mile Melbourne | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_38dee2e9bf1319cbdffbAustria

Tiroler Abenteuerlauf 60 KM | 60 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_6795a5e624f1622b0bf3Canada

Ontario

Pick Your Poison 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d512d458411f528ae9efChina

Dalian 100 | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Dalian 50 | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 100 km Ultra Marathon | 100 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Shangri-La LIJIANG Action Asia 3 day 60 km Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Trail de la Grande Muraille de Chine | 73 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ahotu_5d16c798b1713934efdcDenmark

Hovedstaden

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm -100 Miles | 100 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Salomon Hammer Trail Bornholm – 50 miles | 50 miles | May 02, 2014 | website

Midtjylland

Gudenaa Trail Challenge | 75 kilometers | April 18, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d6484dc8236b25f1f120Ethiopia

Ethiopian Lakes Trail | 85 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_26e5f4d3970adb6b57f5France

Alpes-Maritimes

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (79+25) | 104 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Balcons d’Azur (UTBA) | 79 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ariège

Trail des Citadelles – 70 km | 73 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Aveyron

Trail “Le Roc de la Lune” – 60 km | 60 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Dordogne

100 km de Belvès en Périgord Noir | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

50 km Belvès-Sarlat | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Morbihan

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 115 km | 115 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Bretagne Ultra Trail – 63 km | 63 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Seine-et-Marne

Ultra Trail de la Brie des Morin | 87 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Seine-Maritime

Le RaDicAtrAil – 110 km | 110 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Le RaDicAtrAil – 56 km | 56 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Vosges

Trail des Roches | 73 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Yvelines

Trail des Lavoirs de la Vallée de Chevreuse | 65 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_fffd0b607b8778bee13cGermany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Mai | 108 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Lower Saxony

HeXenStieg Ultralauf | 216 miles | April 25, 2014 | website

Hexentanz | 104 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Rhineland-Palatinate

Bärenfels 50 km Trail | 50 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Saxony-Anhalt

Harzquerung – 51 km | 51 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d08300ae7b802d5cf496Greece

Doliho Ultra-Marathon | 260 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ahotu_c207ef19951ba2657f03Guadeloupe

GUADARUN : ultra-marathon des îles de Guadeloupe | 136 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_98ea321800d3d03e1c5dIndia

Thar Desert Run – 100 miles | 100 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Thar Desert Run – 50 miles | 50 miles | April 20, 2014 | website

Ahotu_81515ba183d4c083f24eIsrael

The Sea to Jerusalem 144 km Ultra | 144 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 54 Ultra | 54 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

The Sea to Jerusalem 70 km Ultra | 70 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ahotu_add3cc93efa9170be4d3Italy

Emilia-Romagna

50 KM di Romagna | 50 kilometers | April 24, 2014 | website

Sicily

Lafuma Volcano Trail | 80 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Tuscany

The Abbots Way | 125 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 100 km | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Tuscany Crossing Val d’Orcia 50 km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_2e9a148b1feaa1fd26c3Japan

Shizuoka to Yamanashi | 85 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Mt Fuji | 161 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ahotu_4d4164c8b73a3edc16daLaos

Les Foulées de la Soie au Laos | 109 kilometers | May 01, 2014 | website

Ahotu_10844ffe013896d005acMadagascar

Semi Trail des Ô Plateaux | 65 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail des Ô Plateaux | 130 kilometers | May 02, 2014 | website

Ahotu_89998df67965ebec7b86Malta

Eco Gozo Ultra 55k | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_13f92b4304a1bec59e30Morocco

Morocco Trail | 120 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_de7077cf89cd2b33215aNepal

Annapurna Mandala Trail | 250 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

Ahotu_9c2d62d9954372cab565Poland

Beskidzka 160 Na – Long Distance | 84 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_5e1eba796118d29b01f6Portugal

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K100 | 101 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K160 | 166 kilometers | April 25, 2014 | website

OMD – Ultra Trail Serra da Estrela – K60 | 59 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_d73d2797b1da2ab5b3e9Serbia

Fruska Gora Ultra Plus | 111 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_13e380040edb60835759South Africa

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon | 56 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_3c1809f603f0f63063a1Spain

Balearic Islands

Trail Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 62 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ultra Mallorca Serra de Tramuntana | 102 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Catalonia

24 hores del Cap de Creus | 87 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Long Trail Barcelona | 69 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ultra Trail Barcelona | 100 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_bba79c9e4f9321814582Tunisia

100km of Sahara | 100 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_7e740fcacd0b51330fbaTurkey

Iznik 130K Ultramarathon | 130 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Iznik 75K Ultramarathon | 75 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ahotu_597d7614a0b1922677c0United Kingdom

Dorset

The ONER | 78 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

The ONER Half Day Section | 39 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

East Dunbartonshire

Highland ‘Fling’ | 53 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Hampshire

Compton 40 mile Challenge | 40 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

North Yorkshire

The Fellsman | 60 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Worcestershire

The Evesham Ultra | 45 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Ahotu_e9568ffb83e589f455eaUnited States Minor Outlying Islands

Brazos Bend 50 | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Ahotu_abc779e2d55a765e25b4USA

Arkansas

Ouachita Trail 50 Km | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Ouachita Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

California

Diablo Trails Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Folsom Lake Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Leona Divide 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Leona Divide 50 Miles | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Mokelumne River 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Mokelumne River 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 100k | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Ruth Anderson 50M | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Sierra Azul Challenge 50 Miles Run | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Tehama Wildflowers 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Colorado

Cheyenne Mtn. Trail 50K Race | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 100K | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

C.U.R.E Ultra’s 50 Mile | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Desert R.A.T.S. Double Marathon | 52 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Connecticut

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 100k | 100 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50k | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug 50M | 50 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Traprock 50 | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Florida

DTR Endurance Race 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Fort Clinch 100M | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Fort Clinch 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

JWCorbett 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

JWCorbett 50M | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Indiana

Indiana Trail 100 | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Indiana Trail 50 | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Iowa

Heartland Relay | 205 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Kansas

FlatRock 101K Ultra Trail Race | 101 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Free State Trail Runs 100 km Trail Ultra | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Free State Trail Runs 40-Mile Trail Ultra | 40 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Maryland

C&O Canal 100 | 100 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Massachusetts

TARC Spring Classic 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Michigan

Running Fit Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Missouri

Double Chubb 50k | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50k Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Frisco Railroad Run 50 Mile Ultramarathon | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

New York

Sybil Ludington 50K Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

North Carolina

Run the Rock Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Pennsylvania

The Ironmasters Challenge – 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Utah

Red Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Salt Flats 100 | 100 miles | April 25, 2014 | website

Virginia

Bel Monte 50K Endurance Run | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Bel Monte 50 mile Endurance Run | 50 miles | April 19, 2014 | website

Promise Land 50K | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Washington

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 50 mile | 50 miles | April 26, 2014 | website

Capitol Peak Ultra Marathon – 55 km | 55 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Mt. Si 50K Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Mt. Si 50 Mile Relay & Ultra Runs | 50 miles | April 27, 2014 | website

Spokane River Run 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

XTERRA Soaring Eagle 50K | 50 kilometers | April 27, 2014 | website

Yakima Skyline Rim 50k | 50 kilometers | April 20, 2014 | website

Wisconsin

Chippewa 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | April 26, 2014 | website

Mad City 100K | 100 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website

Mad City 50K | 50 kilometers | April 19, 2014 | website
CLOSE

LINKS:

Website – talkultra.com

Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Stage 5

©iancorless.com.IMG_1458MDS2014

The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

STAGE 5 RICH MERZOUG / IGADOUN TARHBALT 42.2KM

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved
No reproduction or sharing please.

Marathon des Sables 2014 #MDS2014 Images – Stage 4 (The Long Day)

©iancorless.com.IMG_4124MDS2014

The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.

STAGE 4 BA HALLOU / RICH MERZOUG 81.5KM

MDS2014 Stg4

all images ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved
No reproduction or sharing please.