It was a sombre mood in bivouac this morning, the 25 withdrawals at the finish on day-1 increased during the night as runners struggled with vomiting, sickness and bad stomachs. At breakfast, there were approximately 39 out of the race.
At almost the same distance as day 1, day 2 caused anxiety amongst all the runners as it contained 13km of Erg Chebbi (Merzouga), the highest dunes at Morocco that would see the fastest runners complete in under 2-hours (for just the dunes) but for most, it would be a long, hard slog under a relentless sun with pounding heat.
A day of mixed terrain, there was some interesting terrain early on as the runners moved from the start and passed through Tisserdemine village before arriving at CP1.
Rachid, as ever started behind the front-runners and then slowly took control of the front of the race as he entered the dunes. He is a master of the terrain and a joy to watch.
His brother. Mohamed, started much farther back allowing the front to pull away from him. But again, like his brother, he moved in to 2nd place and it was here he finished 6-minutes behind Rachid. Aziz as in day 1 finished 3rd.
For the women, Aziza once again used her experience to pull-away in the dunes with a convincing lead ahead of Aicha and Hassana who finished closely together just a couple of minutes apart.
One again the terrain and the heat caused devastation on the race with medical teams and helicopters in constant use. CP1 before the dunes looked like a medical tent from a war zone with IV drips hanging everywhere.
Tomorrow is a longer day!
It’s going to be a restless night in bivouac.
*I will update this post in due course as Patrick Bauer has asked all runners and media to assemble in the middle of bivouac at 1900 hrs. He will address all with news…?
*Sadly, a runner died today due to a heart attack. Patrick informed the family this afternoon and has updated all the other participants and media. Needless to say, the race is in mourning for a fellow runner. A minutes silence will be held at the start tomorrow and the race will continue as normal.
Day 2 standings:
- Rachid El Morabity 5:42:35
- Mhoamed El Morabity 5:46:58
- Aziz Yachou 5:53:16
- Aziza Raji 8:22:00
- Aicha Omrani 8:55:15
- Hasssana Hamdouch 8:57:30