For over thirty-years, Marathon des Sables has paved the way for multi-day races worldwide. The self-sufficient format were runners carry all they need for 6-days of running has been copied time and time again but never bettered.
Now, in 2017, we see the long established ‘MDS’ brand expands its format to Peru for the inaugural, Marathon des Sables PERU.
It is an exciting time – a new continent and a new land of adventure between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes.
MDS needs no introduction, for 32-years the race format has grown and grown and now it is considered as the Godfather of multi-day running. No brand stands still and as the world becomes smaller, MDS becomes larger. In September, it launched its first ‘half’ edition race in Fuerteventura, Half MDS Fuerteventura was designed as a stepping stone to the current two big brothers – Morocco and Peru.
Morocco is well established, but Peru is a new story. One that will be written in the coming weeks as runners from all over the world travel long-haul to Lima and a new, exciting journey.
The new race will have the core values of what made the Moroccan journey so loved.
250km’s, 500 runners, the ICA desert and an opportunity to discover the most beautiful of South America. Huge dunes, sandy plateau, a new day begins for MDS, a new day in PERU.
The format of MDS Peru will be the same as Morocco, current schedule will be as follows
Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Technical and Medical check
Day 3 – Race start, 35km
Day 4 – Race day 2, 40km
Day 5 – Race day 3, 35km
Day 6 – Race day 4, 72km
Day 7 – Race day 5, 42km
Day 8 – Race day 6, 20km
Day 9 – Awards
Day 10 – Relax and Expo
Day 11 – Return home
Over 31 nationalities will be represented with France having the biggest contingent, the UK follows and surprisingly, Japan is the 3rd largest contingent. It comes as no surprise that that most popular age is between 40-50 yrs.’, typical in multi-day racing.
Taking place at sea level, the race will follow the exact protocols of Marathon des Sables Morocco, 6-days, full self-sufficiency with only a shelter and rationed water provided.
Coming late in the year, it is difficult for runners to prepare and focus, however, MDS Peru has a stellar line-up of world-class male and female runners, headed up by MDS legend, Rachid El Morabity who has won MDS Morocco five times – he will take some beating! For the ladies, Nathalie Mauclair is a legend in ultra-trail races and has placed 2nd at MDS Morocco in 2017 and 2016.
The men’s race is arguably the most exciting with UTWT Champion Gediminas Grinius toeing the line. It has been a long season for the Lithuanian but he is a fierce competitor. However, this will be a new adventure for him and Peru’s high dunes will no doubt be a challenge.
The one to watch is Remigio Huaman. He is Peruvian and will without doubt be more than motivated to win on home soil. He placed 5th in Morocco earlier this year and he recently won in Fuerteventura. I don’t think he can beat Rachid but he is my 2nd place and I hope he has ‘his’ day with a possibility of overall victory.
South Africa’s Iain Don Wauchope is a really exciting addition to the race. I know Iain well and he is a good friend. I have seen him blaze a trail in his home in South Africa and at Costa Rica’s The Coastal Challenge he has been an unstoppable force. Peru will be exciting and I can’t wait to see him race.
Julien Chorier can never be ruled out of any race, a superb runner who has been a great ambassador for the sport. Peru, its dunes and multi-day racing is going to push Julien to a new place – I wonder how he will perform?
Erik Clavery placed 5th at MDS Morocco in 2016 and recently won the Grand to Grand multi-day in the USA. He is France’s big hope for MDS Peru, can he, do it?
Yeray Duran recently had a tough few days at Half MDS Fuerteventura and ended up on an IV for dehydration. Lesson learnt I am sure. He will come to Peru with a new respect for heat and the multi-day format.
Nathalie Mauclair is the stand-out hot prospect for victory but Ireland’s Ruthan Sheahan may be able to push the French lady? Ruthan ran 229km in 24-hours, a great run. But her past experience at multi-day was placing 23rd at MDS Morocco in 2012.
Peru has three ladies running, Elba Rocio Carrion Conde, Valerie Nossar and Lorena Pilar Ricalde Garcia. It is difficult to say how these ladies will perform, their collective past experience is over single-stage races over distances from 50-100km. But the home advantage can never be underestimated, it will be interesting to see this race unfold.
Claudi Forster placed 12th at MDS Morocco earlier this year and Mexico’s Nahlia Hernandez San Juan has placed 9th at MDS, run Badwater, Gobi March and so on – these two ladies arguably may be the prime contenders for the podium.
Runners and staff depart for Lima on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November. Follow the stories and action as it unfolds on this website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. It is going to be an epic first edition of Marathon des Sables Peru.
LIVE TRACKING HERE
The event can be followed via and on Instagram @iancorlessphotography and also on Twitter @talkultra – daily updates, summary, results and images will be posted as soon as comms allow. Each runner will also have a SPOT tacker ().
Time difference to Europe is 5 hours.