The 29th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables.
STAGE 2 ERG ZNAIGUI / OUED MOUNGARF 41KM
all images ©
No reproduction or sharing please.
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:
El Morabity 16:53:56
Al Aqra 17:03:19
Kendall 5th 18:07:49
Donovan 5th 28:16:19
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.
Great result for Brit ladies: 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Donovan, Leakey, Morrisey and Young
Stage 3 MDS2014
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.
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….
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.