LANZAROTE TRAINING CAMP 2024

©iancorless

MULTI-DAY TRAINING CAMP

JANUARY 2024 11th to 18th (Thursday to Thursday) 

Located at the iconic Club La Santa resort, our training camp will provide you with all the knowledge, experience and practical training you need to make your next trail, ultra and multi-day adventure a success.

hires_Transvulcanica Selection22. Oktober 2022_1173

Hosted by IAN CORLESS, the training camp is the perfect place to hone your skills for multi-day, fast packing and running in general.

With

2024 LINE UP

ANNA COMET PASCUAPIERRE MESLET,

LAUREN GREGORY and INGE NIJKAMP.

GUESTS  – KEVIN WEBBER and STEVE DIEDERICH.

Anna Comet Pascua won the 2022 Marathon des Sables in a dominant performance. An experienced sky, mountain and ultra-runner, Anna is also a multi-day specialist with victories at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and the Everest Trail Race in Nepal. A runner for the Scarpa Team, it’s a pleasure to have Anna join us in Lanzarote.

IJC_MDS2022-09528

Lauren Gregory ran the 2021 (toughest) Marathon des Sables and was first British woman and 8th in the women category. A personal trainer, Lauren will guide a run group, host yoga sessions will provide a talk.

IJC_MDS2021_Stage4-01631

Pierre Meslet joined the Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp in 2022 after placing 9th at the 2020 Marathon des Sables. His attendance was a success, not only from the perspective of leading a run group but also his profession as a physio – He was able to provide ‘on-site’ treatment for our training camp. Pierre is back in 2023!

IJC_MDS2021_Stage4-02084

Inge Nijkamp has been top-10 at Marathon des Sables and The Coastal Challenge. A qualified nutritionist, she will guide a group, provide a nutrition talk specific to multi-day running and be on-hand for one-to-one nutritional consultations.

©iancorless.com_TCC2018-05914

Kevin Webber after a successful 2023 camp has requested that he come back in 2024 for more… In his words, “I just loved this, great location, great people, great running, what’s not to like?” He will once again guide a group, provide an inspiration and moving talk about running with a terminal cancer diagnosis. He has many stories to tell.

©iancorless

Steve Diederich is the UK agent for Marathon des Sables, The Coastal Challenge and Everest Trail Race, he will be on-hand to provide advice about all three races and answer any questions. Currently studying Sports Psychology and come Lanza 24 he will be qualified and on-hand to discuss the mental side of sport and running.

“I wanted to say a big thank you for this week – I’ve left so energised and inspired after the week… I thought the camaraderie from other runners was incredible. If felt as if everyone had left their ego at home which really made for such open and honest sessions. I hope you have the opportunity to reflect on how impactful and enjoyable the camp was.  The fact that the organisation was seamless doesn’t just happen and I know the layers of detail and spreadsheets that go into an event like this. I’ll be back I’m sure and when I do get to the start line of MDS I will be much more likely to succeed based on all the advice.” – EB

BOOKING FORM HERE

The purpose of any training camp is to provide you with specific information and training designed specifically to help you with your future objectives. Although you may run (train) more in this condensed week, it’s not designed to break you! Therefore, all training sessions are flexible and you can dip-in and dip-out as required. Most importantly, just as in any race, we will have a very mixed ability base. You will therefore train at your appropriate pace with like minded people.

Each day will be broken down into one or two specific training sessions, one workshop and leisure time.

Lanzarote offers a variety of terrain that can be found in many desert races and therefore it’s the ideal training ground to prepare and acclimatise for an up and coming challenge. Club La Santa as a resort offers a great base and all facilities are included. This is great for relaxation, an opportunity to cross train or more importantly it’s perfect for friends and family to join you as a plethora of opportunities are available.

READ MORE HERE

©iancorless

PRICE PER PERSON (exc flight)

£1095 pp* shared occupancy / Solo Occupancy apartment £1695*

A £300 deposit secures a place for shared occupancy, £600 for solo-occupancy. Deposits are non-refundable in any circumstance and cannot be carried forward to a following year.

This includes a self-catering apartment on a share basis. Inclusion in the above schedule and access to all facilities within the Club La Santa complex.

A non-training partner is welcome to join a training partner for a cost of £975 pp* and they are able to use all the facilities at Club La Santa.

BOOK HERE

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Oman Desert Marathon 2023 Stage 3

Mohamed El Morabity ©iancorless

Stage 3 of the Oman Desert Marathon followed a long stage 2 of 55-km. For perspective, Mohamed won the stage in 5-hours 11-minutes, while the last runner came in close to the midnight cut-off. When you consider the 06:30am start, that is a long day on the feet.

Corina Sommer recovering before stage 3©iancorless

Morning of stage 3 was rest in camp and the scheduled 3 start times would commence at midday, followed by 2pm and the final wave of top-12 runner’s departing at 4pm. Ahead 42km with all runner’s spending time in some darkness before arriving at the finish.

With a flat section to start the day, a small and beautiful dune section, and then a relatively flat run in to the line, on paper, stage 3 was by ODM standards an easy one.

©iancorless

If Rachid had agreed with his brother that victory was Mohamed’s to take, Rachid did not run the last stage without a fight. Actually, the contrary, he seemed to be pushing hard and looking for the advantage.

Mohamed followed at all times looked relax.

©iancorless

The duo exchanged the lead at multiple times and it was during darkness that Mohamed took the lead and finished strongly ahead of his brother 3:23 to 3:40 elapsed respectively, the 2023 Oman Desert Marathon is now almost certainly his!

Behind Saleh Alsaidi once again ran a very strong stage, he never came close to the Moroccan’s but his podium place is secure.

Corina and Aziza head-to-head ©iancorless

If Aziza El Amrany  thought stage 3 would be an easy one, she would need to think again… Corina Sommer had the bit between her teeth and the duo pushed a hard pace. Just before CP1 Aziza got a gap, was the writing on the wall?

©iancorless

No! Corina fought back, caught and passed her and then opened up her own lead. As darkness came, the lead extended and it was a nail-biter to the line, Corina crossing in 4:21:09.

The clock ticked, Aziza was losing her huge lead, eventually she came and crossed in 4:36:06. Now Corina is just 10-minutes behind with one stage to go… Is it possible to get back that time in ‘just’ 22km?

Aziza Raji was off-the-pace today and finished 3rd.

Welcome to Oman ©iancorless
  • Mohamed El Morabity 3:23:30
  • Rachid El Morabity 3:40:03
  • Saleh Alsaidi 3:41:21
And into the darkness they went… ©iancorless
  • Corina Sommer (SUI) 4:21:09
  • Aziza El Amrany 4:36:06
  • Aziza Raji 4:53:15

#omandesertmarathon

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2023 – Day 4

©iancorless

Caldera Trasera is a wonderful loop from our base location, Club La Santa. It provides a short and hilly technical route that more ‘more’ exposure than many are used to. The Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp is all about pushing boundaries and learning.

©iancorless

Hands-on action provided some mega smiles, especially when the summit was reached. The level of comradeship was superb, everyone supporting each other to achieve their goal.

©iancorless
©iancorless
©iancorless

When the morning session concluded, a 3-hour break provided a time to recovery before the long afternoon run, with ‘MDS’ pack scenario.

With 20km in the legs, an overnight bivouac of self-sufficiency. The only provisions for the runner’s was rationed water and the carrying of a tent.

©iancorless

Darkness and it was time to eat and test out dehydrated meals that you can use on a multi-day adventure.

©iancorless

In comparison to 2022, the 2023 was relatively calm. Of course, wind existed, it is Lanzarote after all… However, it was a calm night.

Interested in joining us? 2024 is open for booking HERE

#multidaytrainingcamp

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2023 – Day 3

©iancorless

Day 3 of the Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp and a long run that included soft sand practice. It was a perfect day… Clear skies, hot temperatures and an opportunity to understand how to run up , down and across soft sand.

©iancorless

It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to be in this environment and putting to test the skills required come Marathon des Sables or similar race.

©iancorless

The on-hand and advice from the guides invaluable. It doesn’t matter about ability, everyone on the camp is a sponge trying to soak up the advice.

©iancorless

After a break, the afternoon session on ‘Fast and Light’ provided an insight on Fastpacking by Ian Corless and Abelone Lyng. While an emphasis was placed on Marathon des Sables, other races and environments were considered, such as rainforest, mountain and snow/ ice.

MDS Kit

Once again a short recovery run concluded the day.

Tomorrow, participants will spend a night under the stars, in bivouac, fine-tuning their self-sufficient skills in a real environemnt, with rationed water and just a tent provided.

Interested in joining us? 2024 is open for booking HERE

#multidaytrainingcamp

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Heat Acclimation – Dr Jodie Moss

Heat is often debilitating for a runner. Heat cramp, heat exhaustion, dehydration, heat stroke, headaches and the desire just to stop are all very real problems.

As the summer season approaches, running in a hot climate is sometimes unavoidable, however, racing in a hot climate is relatively controllable as you will understand in advance the race, the environment and the expected temperatures one can expect.

Understanding the conditions of ones running and racing environment is crucial to make the best of all the hard training you have done. So, one needs to adapt and plan.

Heat acclimatisation takes place in a natural environment where one can specifically prepare in advance of a chosen race or project, ideally for 7-14 days before the event. For most of us though, the luxury of travelling for 14-days and having an acclimatisation holiday is not a realistic proposition.

This is where Heat Acclimation comes in. In simple terms, this is about providing heat stress in a controlled environment, typically a heat chamber, over a set period of time and sessions.

Dr Jodie Moss has specialised in heat acclimation and in the process, put her learning to real time use at the 2019 Marathon des Sables where she placed 8th woman.

Jodie at MDS

With Marathon des Sables approaching, it is timely to re-visit and gain a full understanding of what is required to acclimate to heat with an interview with Dr Jodie from July 2020.

Podcast HERE.

What is it about heat that makes running so difficult?

You are imposed upon by a different challenge. What happens is you create this metabolic heat by contracting your muscles. When one runs, you use muscle mass and this generates heat. When you then exercise in a hot environment, particularly if it is greater than skin temperature, then this makes it very difficult to get rid of heat. Humans are not the most efficient mechanically, so this energy from contracting muscles, potentially around 20 to 30% of the mechanical energy being made is converted to chemical energy, that means 70%, maybe even more, needs to be eradicated in the environment. If the environment is hot, for example, the Sahara, a challenge is imposed to eradicate the heat and what often happens is is that the heat is stored and one feels hotter and this then has a cascade effect of issues and problems, physiologically and perceptually.

Physiologically:

An increase in skin temperature is likely the one which is noticed first as it is directly impacted upon by the environment. There will be an increased demand for blood flow that needs to go to muscle to provide it with oxygen/ energy to run, but also there is a competition for blood flow to the skin. In order to thermo regulate, blood is competing with muscles and skin and that creates an impact on one’s cardiovascular system. Typically, heart rate will increase due to the increased workload sending blood to muscles and skin.

Body core temperature will increase.

Sweet rate will also increase and therefore the percentage of water loss will increase and the consequence of this is dehydration – a deficit in body water with onward complications.

Perceptually:

We thermally perceive it to be a lot hotter.

You are more uncomfortable.

The feeling of needing to slow down and therefore performance is impacted.

Is heat acclimation as valid for the runner at the front, as well as the runner at the back?

In principal, yes. However, if we take Marathon des Sables as an example and the winner, Rachid El Morabity, he is a Moroccan, he lives in the environment in which the race takes place, therefore he is naturally acclimatising on all his training runs. Therefore, he has no need to acclimate artificially.

Highly trained individuals though, through training, can gain thermal adaptations, irrespective of environment. For example, if you are training everyday, particularly at a high percentage of VO2max, one will create heat this will require a higher sweat rate and therefore adaptation takes place. But, interventions should be in place both acute and chronic, to minimise the effect of environment on performance. Environment, will always have an impact on performance, no matter which athlete.

Acclimate for the heat.

When is a good time to start adapting to heat and how?

It is a consideration for close to competition, typically in a period of 7 to 21-days. Adaptation from exposure diminishes rapidly, so, there is no need to do this too far away from the chosen event. 

Now of course, if one is fortunate with time, the best scenario is to travel to the race location and adapt naturally in the environment of the race. However, very few have such a luxury and this is where acclimating as opposed to acclimatising steps in.

However, budget can be an issue, so it is possible to adapt via some simple home methods. Keep one’s training as planned, say by a coach, and then add layers of clothing while training. Have a hot bath after training. One can also consider Bikram Yoga and say saunas. But, and this is a big but, while some of these interventions will have some benefit, it is not something that can be recommended completely as it is harder to prescribe and measure.

We want heat adaptation and these adaptations only occur when there is sufficient thermal strain.

As an example, one could run for an hour with layers and build heat. Then immediately have a hot bath. Water has a greater density than air and the heat inside the body would be retained and most likely increase, this would stress the system. But, the issues arise with how long does one do this… Ultimately though, this is considerably better than nothing!

By far the best way, is environmental heat chamber.

Environmental Heat Chamber

The jury is still out on what is the optimal sessions for performance gain, however, five sessions would be considered fundamental over a period of 7 to 14-days. This period has shown results of a much more fulfilled adaptation. The pseudo motor function (sweat rate) takes a little longer to occur, but all the other measurements, cardiovascular and lowering core body temp occurs quite rapidly. So, based on sweat rate, a longer period of time provides the best results.

 In regard to the sessions, they could be performed every 2-days, every other day, every day and some even do 2 sessions per day. But obviously time and budget is a huge factor.

It is also important to remember that these sessions take place close to competition, so, monitoring stress and recovery is equally important. 

In regard to session length, 60-minutes is usually adequate and this allows the body to get hot enough.

I get asked about adding a run pack and weight, for example, MDS is a self-sufficient race and a pack is required. On the start line, the minimum weight will be 8kg. But training with this in the heat is not necessary, but some insist as it provides security, comfort and a greater understanding of what the Sahara, as an example, may feel like. But this adds additional stress and the sessions are about heat adaptation.

The Protocol

Isothermic heat acclimation intervention is typical. We get you to exercise so that your core reaches a certain temperature. For this we use a rectal thermistor. This ensures that you meet the thermal stimulus, crucial for sessions like this.  

We measure body weight naked and this allows us to monitor fluid intake and sweat rate. We can test urine to look at hydration status too. This is all about making the client aware of hydration and levels. We also want the client to leave a session re-hydrated!

A treadmill or bicycle is used. Personally, I prefer the bike as it adds less impact to the body. It’s important to remember, these sessions are about heat adaptation, they are not training sessions. A 5-minute check will include hear rate, core temperature, skin temperature, perception of thermal environment, how hot does the client think it is? And finally, I will ask how comfortable the client is. Then, the exercise will begin.

We aim for a core of 38.5 degrees in each session. This is ideal for pseudo motor and thermo functions to be maximised. It ensures that we are always controlling and meeting a fixed criteria. Measuring the thermal strain is key. It usually takes about 30-minutes to get to 38.5 degrees depending on the individual. But external factors do have an impact. 

We typically see improvements by session 3. But it is important to have, say 10-minutes of each session fixed, that way we can monitor improvement and adaptation. We can gain the data here and then report back. Day 5 to day 7 will show the most improvement. So, 7-sessions.

Time can be an issue and some may prefer to squeeze two sessions per day and compress 7-days, say, into 3 or 4. This is possible and literature confirms this. Total exposure is more important than days.

Ideally, the last session would be 1 or 2-days before departure for the chosen race.

What problems can occur without acclimation and how does one mitigate it?

A runner will be faced with a physical and perceptual challenge that will have negative effects. They will be slower, frustrated, dehydrated and have a potential of heat stroke and ultimately they may not finish the race. If any of these elements are experienced, try to cool as much as possible, seek shade at aid stations, rest and allow the core to lower. Hydrate and use spare water to provide a perceptual cooling. Water on face, head, forearms and neck will help a little.  

On a personal note:

I did not have the perfect race and that is what makes me keep signing up to race. My heat protocols were great but I compromised my training and I was surprised with 8th place. I had an amazing support system and I do have chronic heat exposure, I am also very good at getting rid of heat. I also sweat high. But I need to be careful on dehydration. I made a mistake with my pack trying to make it as light as possible but I compromised my pack integrity and this hurt my back. I look forward to going back, I hope in 2021.

Jodie with her medal.

Top 3 tips to get ready in regard to heat and training.

1. Have a heat protocol as outlined above.

2. Test all kit and nutrition, leave nothing to chance.

3. Do not panic. Trust the training you have done. Do not increase mileage and training in the light stages. Do not risk injury or illness. Be healthy.

Seeking shade at the 2021 MDS.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2023 – NOW TAKING BOOKINGS!

12th January to 19th January, 2023.
Club La Santa, Lanzarote

Missing the 2021 camp due to the pandemic made the ’22’ camp even sweeter. Some may say it was the best camp yet…? To be fair, we think they are all great.

You can read summaries for 2022 HERE

Volcano hill reps, a highlight of the week.

We have so many attendees returning year-after-year and this keeps me on my toes always looking for something new. In the last two editions we have added a ‘Long Day’ that is a point-to-point run offering an opportunity to see and experience new trails. In 2022 we added some new routes that offered a little more technicality and vertical meters.

2023 WILL BE THE BEST YET

Rachid at the 2021 MDS on stage 1.

First and foremost, we will have some new coaches and special guests. The big news is that 8x Marathon des Sables champion, ‘King of the Desert,’ Rachid El Morabity will join us, arriving Friday 13th and departing Monday 16th. He will join us for two runs, provide a 2-hour Talk & Worskshop and yes, I am pretty sure you will all get an opportunity to have a photo taken with him.

The amazing and inspirational, ‘Dead Man Running,’ Kevin Webber will join us for the whole week. He will look to inspire each and every attendee by quite literally, leading by example. As Kevin says, “Got told my prostate cancer may kill me in 2yrs but here I am, nearly 5 years later running ultra marathons, raising awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer UK!”

With some new routes, new talks and workshops, new guests, the 2023 Multi-Day Training Camp will take what is already a special and unique formula and take it up several notches.

Book HERE

It doesn’t stop there though!

More news will come in the coming week as we finalise ‘Lanza 23!’
We hope you will join us, once again, for an epic 7-days in Lanzarote.

Booking form HERE

Information HERE

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com


Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2022 – Day 2

It was day-2 of the Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp and the first full day. It started with a brilliant 23.5km/ 15-mile coastal run starting from Club La Santa and heading out along the coast passing through La Santa village, circumnavigating a volcano and then hugging a single-track all the way to Caserio de Tenezar before travelling around Teneza Peak and then re-tracing back to Club La Santa.

View images from the day HERE.

We had four groups with Pierre Meslet leading the fast group, Sondre Amdahl and Ian Corless leading groups 2 and 3 which combined running with walking and then Inge Nijkamp leading the walkers.

The trail offers stunning views and a mixture of technical trail, dirt roads, rocks and sand.

After lunch, Elisabet Barnes did a 2-hour talk on multi-day racing, self-sufficiency, planning and preparation.

With a long day almost done, at 1730 an easy 3-5km (3-miles) run concluded the day to loosen off the legs.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Episode 219 – 35th Marathon des Sables Special Podcast

Episode 219 of Talk Ultra is co-hosted by two times MDS champion, Elisabet Barnes. We discuss the 35th 2021 race with expert discussion on heat from Dr Jodie Moss. We also have eight interviews with 2021 participants: Emma Burton, Gower Tan, John Murray, Kim Hutt, Mags McHardy, Martina Taylor, Paul Been and Pierre Meslet.

Talk Ultra needs your help! 
We have set up a Patreon page, this is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create! Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE

Episode 219 is a Marathon des Sables special. After three postponements, the first in April 2020, a second cancellation late 2020 and then a 3rd cancellation in April 2021 finally saw the race take place in October 2021. October was selected due to climatic conditions typically being very similar to those of April. Little did we know that October would see freakish high temperatures that would impact on the race.

You can read a summary of the 2021 MDS HERE

You can view a full imagery gallery of the 2021 race HERE

Stats show that 353 completed the event, Rachid El Morabity running the whole event in 21-hours, 17-minutes, and 32-seconds. Christine Taieb was 353rd in 72-hours, 41-minutes, 31-seconds.

From the 353 finishers, 91 were from the UK, Patrick Kennedy the fastest in 25:16:14 and placing in the top-10 with Martina Taylor the 91st in 44:06:16.

Below daily race summaries which were published from the Sahara during the 2021 race.

Day 1, 32.2km race summary HERE 

Day 2 32.5km race summary HERE

Day 3 37.1km race summary HERE 

Day 4 82.5km race summary HERE 

Day 6 42.2km race summary HERE 

RESULTS

  • Rachid El Morabity 21:17:32
  • Mohamed El Morabity 21:32:12
  • Mérile Robert 22:39:02
  • Aziza Raji 30:30:24
  • Tomomi Bitoh 34:39:17
  • Aicha Omrani 35:47:48

PODCAST

Elisabet Barnes, 2x Marathon des Sables champion co-hosts the show to provide expert opinion as we discuss the 35th edition.

00:43:19 Dr Jodie Moss provides expert analysis on heat and acclimation.

01:22:20 We have 8 interviews with 2021 MDS participants who provide varied perspective and opinions of the 35th edition. Running order is as follows:

01:22:21 Emma Burton

01:42:16 Gower Tan

02:00:14 John Murray

02:19:35 Kim Hutt

02:38:30 Mags McHardy

02:55:30 Martina Taylor

03:11:50 Paul Been

03:28:52 Pierre Meslet

This is a long show, running length 4-hours 11-minutes.

Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB HERE  

Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE  

Instagram – HERE  

And use good old word mouth.   

Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too.   

Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.   

Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patreon at www.patreon.com/talkultra  

I’m Ian Corless and she is Elisabet Barnes Keep running

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE  

You can listen on iOS HERE

Android HERE 

or via a web player HERE

Marathon des Sables 2021 #MDS – Stage 5 

The 35th Marathon des Sables drew to a conclusion today with stage 5, the last official timed stage of the 2021 race. Tomorrow is the compulsory charity stage which is not taking in to consideration for overall ranking.

It’s a classic marathon stage and as such has become a tradition of the MDS. Just 351 runners started the day, 50% of the original line-up that started day-1.

The 35th edition was always going to be memorable after three postponements, and while many thought this edition would be about handling a safe race around Covid, the reality was far from this. Covid has arguably not been mentioned or discussed since the start of stage-1. Instead, intense heat has been a major consideration, the death of a runner on day 2 and diarrhea and vomiting spreading through camp like a fire. The combination of self-sufficiency, rationed water and food, heat and sickness has all been too much for many and this is reflected in the finishing numbers. People were exhausted. Currently the exact cause of sickness is unknown or confirmed, it could be hyperthermia, bacteria, a bug, virus or maybe a combination of elements?

Starting in two waves, 0700 and 0830, runners had 12-hours to complete the course. The men’s race came down to a furious sprint with Mohamed El Morabity pipping a revived Mathieu Blanchard to the line.

Young sensation, Aziz Yachou placed 3rd and the boss, Rachid El Morabity placed 4th and in the process won his 8th Marathon des Sables.

The ever smiling and happy Tomomi Bitoh won the ladies race with a strong run. She was full of emotion and tears at the finish. The realisation of an intense week coming to a dream ending.

Aziza Raji finished 17-minutes later but her overall victory was secure and finally, a Moroccan female top-slot on the podium was a reality, the last occasion being 2008/ 2009 with Touda Didi.

Aicha Omrani had a tough day finishing down the field and although she retained a podium place, the strong run bt Tomomi elevated her to 2nd and placed Aicha 3rd overall.

Needless to say, it was an emotional day as the 351 starters streamed in. Every and any finish at MDS is coveted, but this 35th 2021 edition may well just be the most coveted. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for all concerned. Considerable highs and lows have taken its toll and the elation of the marathon day finish line and the sight of a medal is a pleasure for all.

For now, it’s time to celebrate the race and finishers. Send our love to the fallen and his family and remind all those who this year who were forced to withdraw, that they were in the arena.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Roosevelt

RESULTS

  • Rachid El Morabity 21:17:32
  • Mohamed El Morabity 21:32:12
  • Mérile Robert 22:39:02
  • Aziza Raji 30:30:24
  • Tomomi Bitoh 34:39:17
  • Aicha Omrani 35:47:48

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Marathon des Sables 2021 #MDS – Stage 4 (The Long Day)

The long day. The description and course distance for the toughest day of Marathon des Sables had been ket secret until the end of day-3. This in itself mentally challenged each and every runner. It played with the mind and of course, many asked questions of what the day would entail. In the end, the distance was a classic 82.5km with the unique challenge of climbing Jebel El Oftal during the night, except for the top and fast runners.

The mood of day 4 was mixed, there are two starts, the masses departing at 0815, the top-50 departing later at 1115.

Unfortunately, the devastation of heat and sickness and once again took its toll during day 3, during the night and in the morning of day 4. The exact drop out rate to be confirmed but certainly, statistics are showing that it is highly likely that less than 50% of the field will finish the 35th edition of this iconic race.

The illness and sickness has not only impacted on runners but also staff, logistical and medical teams making the race, at times, almost feel like a war zone.

However, the race goes on and with it, for some, a very well and hard earned medal at the finish.

Stage 4.

With over 20km’s of soft sand and dunes, the climb and descent of Jebel El Oftal, intense heat and balancing hydration and sickness, stage 4 of MDS was never going to be easy for anyone. This became apparent early on with many struggling to reach CP1.

The plan for most was to keep control and reduce stress during the day and then make the most of the cool night to gain time and ground.

Few were running. It was all about marching, one foot ahead of the other and survive.

Of course, the elite wave was slightly different with the top men and women still setting a relentless and excellent pace.

Aziza Raji for the women showed local knowledge and an understanding of the heat, the terrain and the race to excel on the 82.5km stage and take a convincing win. Aichi Omrani had showed great intention on day-1 of the race but has learnt as the race progressed that sometime less, is more. This was the case for the long day. She paced herself with Aziza but then settled at her own speed to maintain  a 6th place finish but her overall podium standing remaining 2nd. Race revelation, Tomomi Bitoh from Japan has run consistently well all race and on the long day she excelled finishing 3rd, always with an amazing smile and happiness. Severine Gaillez started in the early race start but set a great place to finish 2nd on the stage.

For the men, the expected challenge from French duo Mathieu Blanchard and Mérile Robert started well but sickness ruined Mathieu’s chances and while Mérile tagged Rachid El Morabity for a good percentage of the race, in the end, the Moroccan’s dominance and experience was just too great. Rachid took over the reigns at the front and ran a superb race.

Mohamed El Morabity once again finished 2nd behind his brother and Mériile finished 3rd.

Now the runners are fighting through another day for a coveted long day finish and the opportunity to tow the line of stage 5 and receive a 2021 35th edition medal from Patrick Bauer. The allocated time is 32-hours to complete stage 4’s 82.5km.

The elation of crossing the line is a special one.

Day 4 results (provisional):

  • Rachid El Morabity 8:46:16
  • Mohamed El Morabity 9:00:25
  • Mérile Robert 9:44:26

  • Aziza Raji 12:22:26
  • Severine Gaillez 14:45:57
  • Tomomi Bitoh 15:17:50

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com