Marathon des Sables 2018 #MDS2018 – Stage 5

What a day! The 2018 Marathon des Sables concluded today on the edge of the Mezouga dunes on what will bee remembered as one of the toughest marathon stages in the races history.

The day started at 0700 with the majority of the field departing in strong winds and sand storms. The top 200 departed 90-minutes later also in sand storms.

The winds never eased and for the duration of the day, the runners encountered a full-on headwind all the way to the line.

The course was in comparison to other stages of this years race, a relatively easy one despite some large dunes in the final third. However, the combination of cooler temperatures, relentless wind, and drifting sand made for a tough day.

In reality, the race was over yesterday for the podium places and Rachid El Morabity and Magdalena Boulet were crowned 2018 Marathon des Sables champions. On the day, Magdalena won the final stage in 4:19:39 and Rachid placed 4th in 3:31:41.

The overall men’s final podium stands as:

  1. Rachid El Morabity 19:35:49
  2. Mohamed El Morabity 20:01:28
  3. Merile Robert 20:41:00
  4. Abdelkader El Mouaziz 20:51:59
  5. Gediminas Grinius 21:31:23

Gemma Game from the UK followed up a solid and consistent week placing 2nd on the final stage. 4:29:31 to Magdalena’s 4:19:39. Bouchra Eriksen placed 3rd in 4:30:58 and without doubt has been a revelation this year. Natalia Sedykh won the first three stages, gained a 1-hour time penalty, had very sore knees and stomach issues to have a very tough week in the Sarah. Today she placed 4th in 4:39:25 ahead of the USA’s Jacqueline Mariash in 4:40:22.

The overall female final podium stands as:

  1. Magdalena Boulet 25:11:19
  2. Bouchra Erksen 26:36:00
  3. Gemma Game 27:00:23
  4. Natalia Sedykh 28:26:56
  5. Anna Marie Watson 29:04:43

Of course, the final day is all about emotion and runner’s of all abilities a lifetime goal and achievement. Many a tear is shed on the finish line as Patrick Bauer embraces each and every runner, kisses them on the cheek and places a medal around their necks.

MDS is more than a running race. It is a life changing adventure of 250 km’s with intense highs and lows, elation and pain, laughter and crying. The bonds created in the Sahara are not forgotten. The pain and the joy will be remembered.

Tomorrow, a short stage of 7.7km transitions the runners from the Sahara and back to buses for the journey back to civilisation – a shower, some food, drinks, a bed and clean white sheets. Believe me, everyone has earned it!

Full Results HERE

Marathon des Sables 2018 #MDS2018 – Stage 4

The long day! It’s the day that makes the Marathon des Sables and it is the one most feared by the runners. The 86.4km’s of stage 4 are classic MDS and yes, they are beautiful km’s combining many of the elements that make the Sahara and Morocco so unique. However, soft sand and dunes are not the friend of the long distance runner, particularly when trying to cover distance as quickly as possible.

It was an epic day!

Intense heat during the day with strong winds as sunset came and then a very cold night making most runners wear down jackets to keep warm – it was a tough day for all, Rachid finished in 8:12:05 for the men and Magda 10:29:58 for the women. As I write this, 27-hours have elapsed and runners are still out on the course trying to finish ahead of the 35-hour cut off.

Camp life is key to the MDS – being self-sufficient, carrying everything you need, the only provisions are rationed water and a bivouac (tent) shared with 7 others.

The day started at 08:30 for the masses and 11:30 for the top 50.

Rachid El Morabity and Natalia Sedykh as expected dictated the pace at the front. Rachid consolidating his lead and showing the rest of the elite men who is the boss! It’s quite simple, when it comes to the desert, Rachid is the king. He glides over the terrain, almost floating – he is beautiful to watch. He dictated the day and won with a 20+-minute margin.

For the ladies, Natalia was always going to push and see if she could claw back the 1-hour penalty time and regain the overall lead. By CP1 she had 3-minutes, by CP2 Magda was catching the Russian and then after CP4 it was all over… Natalia broke with the pressure and was forced to ease up eventually finishing 6th on the stage.

For the men, Rachid’s brother, Mohamed, followed in the footsteps of teacher and once again placed 2nd, 8:33:52 to Rachid’s 8:12:05. France’s Merile Robert excelled finishing 3rd 8:43:35 and Lithuanian Gediminas Grinius finishing 4th. The ever-present Abdelkader El Mouaziz had a tough day finishing 5th in 9:19:09.

Magdalena Boulet from the USA showed her strength at long distances and dominated the stage running a clever race firstly behind Natalia and then passing her and running strong all the way to the line in 10:29:58.

With Natalia’s explosion, it was all to fight for for the ladies podium and Bouchra Eriksen once again showed real consistency finishing 3rd ahead of the UK’s Gemma Game, their times 11:22:36 and 11:29:00 respectively. The UK’s Anna Marie Watson had a bad day with stomach issues and finished 9th. This opened the door for The USA’s Emily Kratz and Jacqueline Mariash to finish 4th and 5th in 12:08:49 and 12:24:15.

With the marathon stage tomorrow, the podium looks set with Rachid and Magda the 2018 Marathon des Sables champions.

The long day though is really so much more than discussing the elites who seem to run with ease over the harsh terrain. The day is about all the runners, the mid-packers, the slow, the runner out of their comfort zone, the runner looking for a lifetime achievement, the runner looking for adventure, the runner with a mid-life crisis – the long day changes people and it changes me as I experience their journeys. The lows of a withdrawal at a CP or the highs of a hard fought finish. 

THIS IS THE MDS!

It brings a tear to me eye as I document the journey from early in the day, through the night and into a 2nd day.

I have heard ultra runners say that the MDS is easy. It is not! Trust me, it is not… The cut-off times are generous but ask yourself, running or walking, would you like to be out there for 35-hours?

I am honoured to document this race and I salute all those who tried this year and failed. It is not a failure… trust me! You put yourself on the start line and risked a great deal. You will be back.

For those who fought sleep deprivation, hunger, blisters, the cold, the heat, tired aching muscles and so much more – congratulations. You have achieved something quite incredible this long day. With ‘just’ a marathon to go. The 2018 MDS is on paper, ‘in the bag!’

Full results HERE

Overall GC going into the last official stage:

  1. Magdalena Boulet 20:51:40
  2. Bouchra Eriksen 22:05:02
  3. Gemma Game 22:30:52
  4. Natalia Sedykh 23:47:31
  5. Anna Marie Watson 24:24:21
  6. Rachid El Morabity 16:04:08
  7. Mohamed El Morabity 16:37:30
  8. Merile Robert 17:07:55
  9. Abdelkader El Mouaziz 17:28:08
  10. Gediminas Grinius 17:58:58

Marathon des Sables 2018 #MDS2018 – Stage 3

One could be forgiven in thinking that today, the two fastest runners in the 2018 Marathon des Sables, Rachid El Morabity and Natalia Sedykh had an easier day… They both won again, for Rachid that is two stage victories and for Natalia it is 3 out of 3. But the winning margin was just a handful of minutes for the duo. I think they are saving something for tomorrow’s long day of 86.2km.

Today’s stage by MDS standards was an epic one that combined a multitude of terrain. Soft sand, dunes, gorges, stoney climbs, exposed ridges, the technical climb and descent of Jebel El Oftal and then an easy and relatively flat fast run in to the finish.

Rachid and Natalia dictated the day but Mohamed El Morabity and Magdalena Boulet was never far behind. It was a controlled day. In the end, Rachid finished the 31.6km in 2:36:20. Mohamed followed just over 1-minute later in 2:37:32 and then ever present Abdelkader El Mouaziz was 3rd in 2:40:43. Peru’s Remigio Huaman had a good day today with 4th ahead of Aziz El Akad.

Despite the 1-hour time penalty, Russia’s Natalia Sedykh continues to push at the front. Today she finished 1st again just over 5-minutes ahead of Magdalena, 3:28:27 to 3:33:45. Magdalena leads the race overall but Natalia claws back the 1-hour time penalty little by little. I can’t help but think we may see an all out effort on the long day to bring things equal. It could be a risky strategy but what has Natalia to lose? Bouchra Eriksen once again was 3rd ahead of the UK’s Anna Marie Watson and Gemma Game who placed 4th and 5th respectively.

Despite some strong winds and sand storms in the night, day 3 of the MDS was calm with little wind, clear skies and relentless heat. It’s amazing to watch runners of all abilities fight their demons, particularly on the climb of the Jebel – it brings out some serious inner strength.

The key now is recovery. The long stage of the MDS is tomorrow and they have 35h to complete the 86.2km distance. Bodies and minds are now tired – everyone will need to dig deep!

  1. Natalia Sedykh 2:28:27
  2. Magdalena Boulet 3:33:45
  3. Bouchra Ericksen 3:39:13
  4. Anna Marie Watson 3:44:13
  5. Gemma Game 3:47:03

 

  1. Rachid El Morabity 2:36:20
  2. Mohamed El Morabity 2:37:32
  3. Abdlekader El Mouaziz 2:40:43
  4. Remigio Huaman 2:41:11
  5. Aziz El Akad 2:48:10

 

Overall GC going into the long stage:

  1. Rachid El Morabity 7:52:03
  2. Mohamed El Morabity 8:03:38
  3. Abdelkader El Mouaziz 8:08:59

 

  1. Magdalena Boulet 10:21:42
  2. Bouchra Eriksen 10:42:26
  3. Gemma Game 11:01:52

*Natalia Sedykh 11:03:22

Full Results HERE

Marathon des Sables 2018 #MDS2018 – Stage 2

 

Today, the king and queen of the desert set out their stalls! For Rachid El Morabity, it was a day of showing the rest of the field a clean pair of heals as he slowly but surely pulled away from the field finally finishing almost 10-minutes ahead of his brother and day 1 champion, Mohamed.

For the ladies, 2016 champion Natalia Sedykh was no doubt frustrated and angry after winning stage 1 only to be penalised 1-hour for failing to have a whistle at a kit check post day-1. A penalty was applied and now Natalia must run and race hard each day to make up the time. Today, she gained over 8-minutes on the ladies overall leader, American, Magdalena Boulet.

Day 2 was a tough day for all with relentless soft-sand which made moving tiresome. Throw in a stony and steep climb up Jebel El Otfal and then the fast and sandy descent to the final CP, and it was only really the final 4km’s that was stony, flat and faster.

Day 1 had no drop outs but day 2 was taking it’s toll. Some runners were fighting demons to get to the line but there was some real grit and MDS spirit out there as participants dug in to achieve a lifetime goal.

At the front of the race Mohamed El Morabity trailed his brother to finish 2nd just 45-seconds ahead of Abdelkader El Mouaziz. Aziz Ell Akad finished 4th and Merile Robert 5th.

 The USA’s Magdalena Boulet once again placed 2nd on the stage and looks at home in the sand, Bouchra Eriksen was 3rd ahead of the UK’s Gemma Game and Anna Marie Watson in 5th.

 

  1. Rachid El Morabity 3:04:01
  2. Mohamed El Morabity 3:14:36
  3. Abdelkader El Mouaziz 3:15:16
  4. Aziz El Akad 3:18:34
  5. Merile Robert 3:18:34

 

  1. Natali Sedykh 3:56:08
  2. Magdalena Boulet 4:04:48
  3. Bouchra Eriksen 4:16:08
  4. Gemma Game 4:19:48
  5. Anna Marie Watson 4:19:48

Tomorrow’s stage is 31.6km’s and starts at 0830 with a 10h 30m cut 0ff.

Full results HERE

 

Marathon des Sables 2018 #MDS2018 – Stage 1

The 2018 Marathon des Sables got underway today on the stroke of 0900 after an emotional Patrick Bauer released the runners into the sands of the Sahara for the 33rd edition of this iconic race.

The previous day had been a long day of admin and kit checks, so the 977 runners were happy to be finally experiencing the best of what Morocco has to offer.

At 30.3km the route was almost exactly the same as the 2017 edition of the race and an allocated 10hrs was allowed for runners to complete the distance. In MDS terms, it was a relatively easy day but the skies were clear, cloudless and it was hot with a gentle breeze allowing to cool as they ran.

The route started in a cued and at 5.5km the runners passed through a hilly passage before entering sand dunes. CP1 Brought a welcome rest at 13km and then the dunes continued to CP2 at 22.9km. There was a great deal of soft sand today and this continued in varying degrees all the way to the line with a narrow gorge at 25km and a small climb at 28.4km breaking up the terrain before the finish on a flat rocky plateau.

Predicted race times were 2:10 for the men and 2:35 for the ladies and these times were almost matched exactly with Mohamad El Morabity winning ahead of his brother and reigning MDS Champion, Rachid El Morabity, by just a handful of seconds. Ever present Abdelkader El Mouaziz was 3rd ahead of strong Peruvian runner Remigio Huaman.

For the ladies, 2016 MDS Champion Natalia Sedykh started the race with a strong performance ahead of USA runner Magdalena Boulet, their times 2:38:47 and 2:43:09 respectively.

Bouchra Eriksken was a surprise 3rd ahead of UTWT champion Andrea Huseer and the UK’s Gemma Game was 5th.

  1. 1.Mohamed El Morabity 2:11:30
  2. 2. Rachid El Morabity 2:11:42
  3. 3. Abdelkader El Mouaziz 2:13:00
  4. 4. Remigio Huaman 2:16:17
  5. 5. Merile Rober 2:17:29
  6. Natalia Sedykh
  7. Magdalena Boulet 2:43:09
  8. Bouchra Eriksen 2:47:05
  9. Andrea Huser 2:48:47
  10. Gemma Game 2:55:01

Stage 2 will start at 0830 and will be challenging day 0f 29km with a 11h 30m cut off.

Full results HERE

Episode 154 – Ryan Sandes, Elisabet Barnes, Ultra Mirage, Keely Henninger

Episode 154 of Talk Ultra is a packed show! We speak with Ryan Sandes about his amazing FKT with Ryno Griesel on a section of Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail. Elisabet Barnes discusses taking a break, looking at nutrition and how to return to training and racing healthy. We speak to Amir Ben Gacem about Ultra Mirage and we offer a free place! The Godfather of Trail, Kurt Decker brings us a chat with Keely Henninger and of course, Speedgoat Karl co-hosts!
*****
Talk Ultra is now on Tunein – just another way to make the show available for those who prefer not to use iTunes – HERE  You can download the Tunein APP HERE
Talk Ultra needs your help!
We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! 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
*****
00:12:22 NEWS
CHUCKANUT 50K
Keely Henninger took victory ahead of Anne-Marie Madden and Gina Slaby, times 4:07, 4:15 and 4:28.
Cole Watson won in 3:36 ahead of Patrick Smyth 3:40 and Paddy O’Leary in 3:47.
*****
00:14:27 Interview with KEELY HENNINGER
*****
MIKE FOOTE SETS WR
Imagine skiing for 24-hours uphill and down again. Foote climbed a huge 61.200ft. He went up a 1020ft ski run (up and down) 60 x.
BEHIND THE ROCKS ULTRA
Courtney Dewaulter winning again ahead of Addie Bracy and Serena Wilcox.
For the men it was Kyle Pietari ahead of Jessie Rosales andEddie Aispuro. Winning time 7:48 for the men and 7:51 for the ladies… Dewaulter was 2nd!
ANTELOPE ISLAND 100
Jeff Browning doing it again at the 100! A win in 15:57 which is fast! Dana Anderson won the ladies race in 20:15.
BARKLEY
The Barkley won this year with nobody making it to the 4th or 5th lap. Gary Robbins managed a ‘fun run’ finish of 3 laps. Really tough conditions out there!
GHT FKT by Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel
Press Release:

On 1 March 2018, South African trail runners Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel bravely set out to establish a new FKT along compatriot Andrew Porter’s roughly 1400km GHT Route across the Himalayas from Hilsa to Pashupatinagar in Nepal, combining the Great Himalaya Trails High Route and Lower Cultural Route. With the previous FKT on this route standing at 28 days, 13 hours and 56 mins the two smashed the record – with 4 days to spare.

***

“This has been the biggest adventure of my life, but incredibly challenging at the same time, especially mentally to just keep going day in and day out for so long,” exclaimed Sandes at the final checkpoint.

***

“Traversing any of The Great Himalaya Trails has always been a dream of mine There were so many ups and downs along the route that we could never have anticipated but I’m so stoked we pushed on and made it through. Alongside my win at Western States 100 last year, this has to be one of my biggest sporting accomplishments to date!”

***

The attempt saw Sandes and Griesel traverse heavily snow-covered mountains and experience some incredibly extreme weather conditions that were unusual for this time of the year along the way. They suffered frost-bitten fingers, serious tummy bugs, breathing difficulties and a couple of near death experiences. A constant on the route, however, was the incredibly welcoming spirit of the Nepalese people who truly embody the spirit of Namaste, and welcomed the both of them into their homes.

***

“We were the first people to cross the Dolpa region since the start of winter, which made the going very difficult to navigate and very slow,” commented Griesel. “I had to keep taking my gloves off to read the maps and managed to get terrible frost bite on my fingers, which has been painful. One of the villages on our map in that region, a spot where we had hoped to get accommodation, was completely deserted. I honestly believe that if we hadn’t come across a monk and monastery that night we would have frozen to death outside.”

***

Sandes echoed Griesel’s sentiment: “The Nepalese people were amazing! We knocked on their doors late at night, two filthy dirty South Africans, who speak very little Nepalese, and they not only welcomed us into their homes without hesitation, but they have also gave us their beds and gone to sleep at neighbours so that we have accommodation!” says Sandes. “It has been humbling to meet these incredible people. I doubt anyone back home would have opened their homes to strangers as easily as the Nepalse citizens we met along the way have to us.”

***

The pair were thrown another curveball when the route they had plotted prior to leaving for the attempt, in fact turned out to be almost 200km longer than they had previously anticipated.

“The maps on the computer tend to flatten out the track quite a bit as it obviously doesn’t drop a point every single meter, so the distance you work out on the computer is actually a lot shorter than what it is really measured at,” noted Griesel. “What we experienced on the ground was far more brutal that what we had plotted out on the computer, but it was all part of the adventure.”

***

“We would like to thank the trail running community for their incredible support in the lead up to and throughout our FKT record attempt,” said Sandes. “It has been great to read all of the messages of encouragement and support. And to the Nepalese people, we can never say thank you enough for your incredible hospitality and friendliness, there is definitely no other place on earth like Nepal.”

*****
01:02:36  Interview with RYAN SANDES
*****
01:39:06 Interview with ELISABET BARNES
*****
Ultra Mirage El Djerid 
The Ultra Mirage© El Djerid (UMED) is the first 100km Ultra Trail taking place in the stunning Tunisian Sahara Desert. A 20-hour time limit, five checkpoints, medical and technical help to ensure safety, the UMED is open to all runners. Importantly for the fleet of foot, prize money is available totaling 10.000 euros split equally between the male and female fields.
WIN a FREE PLACE HERE
*****
02:24:40 Interview with AMIR BEN GACEM race director for UMED
*****
UP & COMING RACES go to https://marathons.ahotu.com
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    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    200 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    50 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    150 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    30 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    Night RaceTrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Potawatomi Trail Runs
    100 Miler
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Pekin
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Super Awesome! Arkansas Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / West South Central / Arkansas / Jonesboro
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 70K
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 100M
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-05
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Down Under 135
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Victoria / Bacchus Marsh
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • LXVII Milhas Romanas
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Extremadura / Mérida
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • LXVII Milhas Romanas
    XXX Millas Romanas
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Extremadura / Mérida
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningSoloMore info
  • Patagonia Run
    100k
    South America / Argentina / San Martín de los Andes
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Patagonia Run
    100Mi
    South America / Argentina / San Martín de los Andes
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Ragnar Relay So Cal
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Huntington Beach
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Super Awesome! Tennessee Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / East South Central / Tennessee / West
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Ultra Fiord
    Ultra Fiord 100K
    South America / Chile / Puerto Natales
    2018-04-06
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • American River 50-mile Endurance Run
    50 Miles
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Sacramento
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningPoint to PointSoloMore info
  • Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3
    Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – 1 1/2 Marathon
    Europe / Northern Europe / Norway / Bergen
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3
    Bergen Maratonkarusellen no3 – Ultra 100km
    Europe / Northern Europe / Norway / Bergen
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Brazos Bend 50
    100K
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Needville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatSoloMore info
  • Brazos Bend 50
    50 Mile
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Needville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatSoloMore info
  • Brazos Bend 50
    50K
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Needville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatSoloMore info
  • Bull Run Run 50 Mile
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / Virginia / Clifton
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • BVG Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Italy / Lombardy / Salò BS
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • BVG Trail
    BVG Marathon +
    Europe / Southern Europe / Italy / Lombardy / Salò BS
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Coastal Trail Series – Exmoor
    Coastal Trail Series – Exmoor – Ultra
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Devon / Exmoor National Park
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Enkarterri Extrem Trails
    Maratón Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Basque Country / Zaramillo
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMountainMore info
  • Enkarterri Extrem Trails
    Ultra Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Basque Country / Zaramillo
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMountainMore info
  • Enkarterri Extrem Trails
    Long Trail
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Basque Country / Zaramillo
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMountainMore info
  • Hells Hills Trail Run
    50 mile
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Smithville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Hells Hills Trail Run
    50 km
    North America / USA / West South Central / Texas / Smithville
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Inatel Piódão Trail Running
    50 km
    Europe / Southern Europe / Portugal / Inatel Piódão
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailWalkingSoloMore info
  • Jabulani Challenge
    Jabulani Challenge 45 km
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / New South Wales / Lindfield
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Kielder Ultra Trail
    80 km
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Northumberland / Kielder
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Kielder Ultra Trail
    100 km
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Northumberland / Kielder
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Kielder Ultra Trail
    50 km
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Northumberland / Kielder
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Le Grand Défi des Vosges
    Le Défi des Seigneurs
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Alsace / Bas-Rhin / Niederbronn-les-Bains
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Marató de la Fageda
    Marató
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Fageda
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningSingle loopSoloMore info
  • Marató de la Fageda
    Trail la Fageda
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Fageda
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningSingle loopSoloMore info
  • Ozark Foothills 50K/25K
    50K
    North America / USA / West North Central / Missouri / Wildwood
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Patagonia Run
    70k
    South America / Argentina / San Martín de los Andes
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Rockin K Trail Runs
    Rocking K Trail 50 Mile Run
    North America / USA / West North Central / Kansas / Kanopolis State Park, Marquette
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Shotgun Trail Blast
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / Oregon / Marcola
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningFlatMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • South Downs Way 50
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / East Sussex / Eastbourne
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Squak Mountain Trail Runs
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / Washington / Issaquah
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Super Awesome! Kentucky Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / East South Central / Kentucky / Paducah
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Tar Springs Ranch Ultra
    50k Run/Walk/Hike
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Arroyo Grande
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMore info
  • The ONER
    The ONER Half Day Section
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Dorset / Lyme Regis
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • The ONER
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / England / Dorset / Lyme Regis
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail de l’Aber-Wrac’h
    Alternative Race
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Finistère / Le Folgoët
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail des 2 Rivieres
    60 km
    Africa / Eastern Africa / Réunion / Saint-Joseph
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Trail des 2 Rivieres
    60 km Relais
    Africa / Eastern Africa / Réunion / Saint-Joseph
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Ultramarathon des Ziban
    Africa / Northern Africa / Algeria / Biskra
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    DesertRoadRunningSoloMore info
  • Ultra Trail Barcelona
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Begues
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Ultra Trail Barcelona
    Long Trail Barcelona
    Europe / Southern Europe / Spain / Catalonia / Begues
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    MountainUTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run
    50 Mile
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / North Carolina / Raleigh
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    RunningSoloMore info
  • Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run
    100 Mile
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / North Carolina / Raleigh
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    Western States QualifierTrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Vale of Glamorgan Coastal Ultra Challenge
    Full Course
    Europe / Northern Europe / United Kingdom / Wales / Penarth
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Woodside Crossover /Purisima Creek Crossover
    50K
    North America / USA / Pacific / California / Woodside
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Yamacraw 50k/10k
    Yamacraw 50k
    North America / USA / East South Central / Kentucky / Stearns
    2018-04-07
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • 3 Waters Running Festival
    3 Waters 50km Ultra Marathon
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Western Australia / Bunbury
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Brew to Brew Relay
    Solo
    North America / USA / West North Central / Missouri / Kansas City
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Cape Cod Trail Race
    50K
    North America / USA / New England / Massachusetts / East Falmouth
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Le Grand Défi des Vosges
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Alsace / Bas-Rhin / Niederbronn-les-Bains
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Les Terrasses du Lodévois
    45 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Languedoc-Roussillon / Hérault / Lodève
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Mad City Ultras
    100K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Wisconsin / Madison
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Mad City Ultras
    50K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Wisconsin / Madison
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMultiple loopsSoloMore info
  • Mad City Ultras
    50K Relay
    North America / USA / East North Central / Wisconsin / Madison
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RoadRunningMultiple loopsRelayMore info
  • Mount Buller Skyrun
    Mount Buller Skyrun 45 km
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / Victoria / Mirimbah
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    MountainTrailRunningMore info
  • Mt Solitary Ultra
    Oceania / Australia and New Zealand / Australia / New South Wales / Wentworth Falls
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillyMore info
  • Super Awesome! Illinois Edition
    50K
    North America / USA / East North Central / Illinois / Metropolis
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    RunningMore info
  • Super Trail Nantais
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Pays de la Loire / Loire-Atlantique / Nantes
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningSoloMore info
  • Super Trail Nantais
    Super Trail Nantais (relais)
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Pays de la Loire / Loire-Atlantique / Nantes
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Trail de l’Aber-Wrac’h
    Trail Extrême Duo 55 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Finistère / Le Folgoët
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningRelayMore info
  • Trail de l’Aber-Wrac’h
    Trail Extrême 55 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Brittany / Finistère / Le Folgoët
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Trail delle Valli Etrusche
    Ultratrail delle Valli Etrusche
    Europe / Southern Europe / Italy / Tuscany / Castiglion Fiorentino
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Trail des 2 Amants
    53 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Upper Normandy / Eure / Pîtres
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    UTMB QualifierTrailRunningMore info
  • Trail des Reculées
    Les Laves
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Franche Comté / Jura / Lons-le-Saunier
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningHillySoloMore info
  • Trail du Josas
    50 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Ile de France / Yvelines / Jouy-en-Josas
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Trail So Bugey
    44 km
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Rhône-Alpes / Ain / Lhuis
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Trail So Bugey
    44 km Relais Duo
    Europe / Western Europe / France / Rhône-Alpes / Ain / Lhuis
    2018-04-08
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Ragnar Trail Atlanta – GA, Presented by Salomon
    Ragnar Trail Atlanta- GA, Presented by Salomon
    North America / USA / South Atlantic / Georgia / Conyers
    2018-04-13
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunningMore info
  • Zumbro 100
    Zumbro 100M
    North America / USA / West North Central / Minnesota / Zumbro Falls
    2018-04-13
    Ultramarathon
    TrailRunning
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Marathon des Sables 2018 Race Preview #MDS #MDS2018

It is here, the 33rd edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables – 250km, 6 stages over 7 days and over 1000 runners from over 50 countries battling the sand and the heat of the Sahara in a self-sufficient manner.

The MDS is the granddaddy of multi-day racing and with its long history it is still the race that all other multi-day races base themselves on. Patrick Bauer’s vision is as strong today as it was back in the 80’s.

Bauer is not just a race director, he is a passionate man who loves Morocco and the people. The MDS ‘is’ Bauer and without him it is like the band QUEEN touring without Freddie Mercury center stage.

The stats for the race are impressive. They always are.

In 2018, as per usual. The 40-49 age group is the most popular. Yes, it is the mid-life crisis group with 349 males and 72 females toeing the line. The 30-39 group is next with 225 males and 58 females. Surprisingly, the 50-59 group comes in 3rd with a split of 177 to 37 male and female respectively.

The youngest runner is 17yr old Moroccan Ali Zaghloul who will be supported along the route by his father, Mehdi. The youngest female is Sally Wellock from the UK aged 23yrs.

France takes top honors for the oldest male, Jean-Claude Raymond aged 80yrs will look to complete his 12th MDS and Philippa Lloyd from the UK is the oldest female aged 69yrs.

I have to say, I have a soft spot for my good friend Didier Benguigui, this will be his 14th MDS and he is blind. I have seen him over the years overcome great adversity to achieve his medal. He is a true inspiration, he will make you cry – a legend of the MDS!

For those who love stats, believe it or not, the 2018 MDS will be Christian Ginter’s 31st MDS – yes folks, 31st edition – incredible!

ELITE RUNNERS

Female:

Natalia Sedykh returns to the MDS after winning the race in 2016 with a blistering performance. For me, she is the head and shoulders favourite for the 2018 race. She is currently in excellent shape and at the end of 2017 she won the Oman Desert Marathon.

Andrea Huser is a UTWT specialist and one of the strongest runners in the world with a string of incredible performances, be that UTMB or Transgrancanaria. She hasn’t run in the desert before and multi-day racing is a fickle beast. I see her doing well but I don’t think she will have the pace of Natalia.

One lady who will have the pace to take on the Russian is Magdalena Boulet. Magda has won Western States and placed 5th at UTMB. However, like Andrea, she is a desert Virgin and that will be her achilles heel for victory.

Anna Marie Watson can run in the sand, she won Half MDS Fuerteventura and recently placed top-10 at UTMB. She is likely to be a real contender for the podium this year and has trained specifically for the challenge ahead.

Gemma Game was 4th at MDS in 2015 and would have been a likely challenger for Natalia but has decided to ease of the gas for the 2018 race and she plans to have as much fun as possible.

Jax Mariash is a multi-day specialist who will bring her Gobi, Atacama and Namibia experience to Morocco. The question will be, does she have the speed to match the experience?

Also keep an eye on Bouchra Eriksen, Amelia Griffith and Beth Kay.

Male:

Rachid El Morabity is the desert king and you’d be a fool to bet against him. He won Morocco and Peru in 2017 and knows the sand like the back of his hand. He is an amazing runner with a wealth of experience and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

Mohamed El Morabity is Rachid’s younger brother and if Rachid was not running, Mohamed would have the nod for victory. He was 2nd in 2017, and he also won the 100km Ultra Mirage in Tunisia.

Abdelkader El Mouaziz won the London Marathon in 1999 and 2001. He has a marathon PB of 2:06:43 – ouch! He is a MDS vet having placed 2nd twice and 7th.

Aziz El Akad is a consistent Moroccan who has finished in the top 5 at MDS on 7 occasions – that speaks volumes!

Gediminas Grinius was new to sand and multi-day at MDS Peru at the end of 2017. The race didn’t start well for him, but he eased into the race and finished strong. I am sure Peru was invaluable for him to fine tweak his prep for MDS Morocco. I expect to see his kit and food fine-tuned and it to be lighter. He is a formidable performer, strong as on ox and never gives in.

Alejandro Fraguela placed 3rd at Half MDS Fuerteventura and that will set him up well for a strong and consistent run in Morocco.

Arnaud Lejeune is maybe the great French hope. However, his lack of desert experience will be against him despite great results at UTMF and a top-10 at UTMB.

Vajin Armstrong from New Zealand is a strong runner and fierce competitor, he’s a sand/ Sahara virgin and has a huge learning curve ahead of him.

Majell Backausen from Australia is also a strong competitor and like Armstrong will have his first desert experience in Morocco.

*Remigio Huaman is on my start list but I am not sure if he will race? If he does, he is a podium and most definitely, top 5 contender.

THE 2018 RACE

Speculation is always rife about the route the race will take and certainly looks like from the very brief description below that the 2018 edition of the race will be similar to 2017. I therefore predict a finish in Merzouga dunes.

For perspective, the 250km distance can be covered at 3km ph with an approximate 83hrs finish time. By contrast, the fleet of foot can cover the distance at 14km ph with a finish time of 18hrs.

For the record, 2017 distances per stage were as follows:

  • Day 1 30.3km
  • Day 2 39km
  • Day 3 31.6km
  • Day 4/5 86.2km
  • Day 6 42.2km
  • Day 7 Charity stage

I think it’s fair to say that the 2018 edition will have similar distances and therefore the key days will be day 2 and of course the long day!

2018 ROUTE OVERVIEW

Stage 1 – The terrain will be flat with a great deal of sand, small dunes and a small climb to the finish.

Stage 2 – Is a longer stage, with a great deal of sand. It will include a climb through a gorge and then a steep descent.

Stage 3 – Starts with a climb followed by small climbs one of which is very steep with a technical passage. This stage includes the first ‘real’ dunes of the 33rd MDS.

Stage 4 – The dreaded long day! It’s going to be a tough day with a great deal of sand. It includes two passages through small gorges, a climb up a djebel, a rollercoaster through sand and a technical descent. It’s a day about managing oneself and saving something for the night.

Stage 5 – Is the classic marathon stage with dunes to kick off the day. It’s a day of no major difficulty and it includes sandy oued and small sparse dunes. However, be prepared for the long plateau towards the end.

Stage 6 – Obligatory charity stage and buses will wait for the finishers to return them to civilization.

KEY STATS

Needless to say, key elements of the MDS are the distance, heat, sand and self-sufficiency. The combination of all these elements makes the race a tough one! For safety, each runner is tracked and monitored with a SPOT tracker.

Each runner must carry all the food they require for the journey and the race specifies a minimum per day. This must be adhered to; however, a runner can carry as much food as they like. The downside is the weight. Therefore, the race is all about balancing calories to weight.

The runner must also carry a sleeping bag, sleeping mat (if they wish), any luxuries and they must decide if they carry a change of clothes – many don’t!

Mandatory kit is specified by the MDS organization and this must be carried. It includes:

  • SPOT tracker
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Lighter
  • Venom pump
  • Antiseptic
  • Sleeping bag
  • Survival blanket
  • Mirror
  • Salt tablets
  • Light sticks
  • Headlamp

In addition to the above, other items are specified and failure to carry them will incur a time penalty.

The only items provided by the race for each runner is water (rationed) and a bivouac (tent) that holds 8 people.

SCHEDULE REMINDER

April 6 – arrive Morocco

April 7 – Inspection day

April 8 – race start, stage 1

April 9 – stage 2

April 10 – stage 3

April 11 & 12 – stage 4

April 13 – stage 5

April 14 – charity stage

April 15 – free day

April 16 – journey home

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Marathon des Sables Peru #MDSPeru on Sidetracked

On my recent trip to the inaugural Marathon des Sables Peru, I decided to shoot a portfolio specifically in B&W. For me, the desert transfers well to tones of light and dark.

I was very happy when Sidetracked agreed to publish a portfolio with some words to introduce this new race to the Marathon des Sables family.

“Way back in time, running was never about fun, it was about survival. Deprived of luxury, deprived of technology, deprived of phones and deprived of connecting to the outside world, participants have one objective at MDS: to journey from one place to the next. Racing like this forces everyone to connect, to sit in groups, help each other, talk about the day, share the journey in words and mutually bond.”

You can view the full article HERE

Lanzarote Training Camp 2018 Day 3

A long day on the trails this morning with our 40-participants split into 5 groups moving along the stunning coastline on Lanzarote. The technical trails are a challenge and it is fair to say, they are a much greater challenge than those encountered at say, MDS.

Reassuringly, our run/ walk group covered 25km in less than 4-hours. Perfect and a great confidence boost for the race.

The sun was shining, the skies were blue and the ever present wind that is always in Lanzarote, blew in off the sea to help make perfect running conditions.

It was a hot day though and that could be seen on one or two red faces after the run… Remember the sun cream folks!

A break for lunch and then at 4pm a talk/ discussion by MDS 2017 3rd place, Tom Evans.

Tom talked about nutrition and the differences and requirements of each participant. No two runners are the same. For example, the simple calorie needs and differences between a ‘fast’ runner. ‘mid’ runner or ‘walker.’

The type of food you will eat and how it is made up – carbs, protein and fats. For example, 1 to 1.5g of carbs per KG of body weight is considered ideal, 1.5g per KG of protein and 1g of fat per KG – but is that possible in a multi-day race?

As the question: What is normal for you? YOU need to know what you need! All valuable lessons and questions.

For example, a typical day for Tom:

  • Breakfast – Porridge and nuts
  • Whilst running – 2 x GU gels and 100g of Tailwind
  • Recovery – 2 x 70g of weight gain protein shake
  • Dinner – 100g freeze dried meal (LYO) and Pip & Nut peanut butter
  • Hydration – 6 x Nuun tablets

Typically 2623 calories for 665g weight

Hydration, needless to say, so important in any race! You need to sweat to cool muscles, remove toxins and keep ones core cool. Sodium replacement is key.

Tomorrow is another full-day with hill reps in the morning, a foot care workshop and easy shoe-out run!

Why not join our 2019 Training Camp?

More information HERE

Lanzarote Training Camp 2018 Day 1

Today was arrival day at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. Early starts from a snowy and icy UK saw our first clients arrive midday and then a steady trickle of runners arrived culminating in our last runners arriving at 1630. In total, the 2018 Lanzarote Training Camp has 46-attendees.

We have the best coaches on hand to guide our clients through the rigours, both physical and mental, for preparing for a multi-day adventure in 2018 or onwards into 2019.

Arguably, day 1 is a relaxing day as it is all about travel. However, to ease everyone into a challenging week, we started with an easy 1-hour run as the day came to an end. Clear skies, the glow of a disappearing sun and the smell of the ‘sea’ in the air – what better way to start a training camp?

Tom Evans, 3rd place at the 2017 Marathon des Sables led the speedy runners. Sondre Amdahl, experienced single-stage and multi-day runner, lead the 2nd group. Two times MDS champion and experienced multi-day race expert, Elisabet Barnes, guided group 3 and then group 4 was lead by our walking specialist, Marie Paule Pierson.

It was s stunning start to the 2018 camp!

Early evening drinks, a group meal and briefing finished the day. Tomorrow, Friday, the participants embark on a lengthy coastal run of sand, rocks, single-track and dunes. It is going to be a great day and one that is eagerly anticipated by all.

Why not join our 2019 Training Camp?

More information HERE