Marathon des Sables 2021 #MDS – Stage 1

The 35th Marathon des Sables finally got underway today after three postponements.

It was a very special moment to see over 700 runners from 40 nationalities depart under the sound of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell.’ 

And what a highway to hell the 1st stage of 32.2km’s was!

The heatwave from the previous days did not disappear despite strong winds and sand storms throughout the previous night and race day turned out to be a scorching 45deg in the shade in the mid afternoon heat. As I write, there are currently 25 dropouts and and many runners required medical help from Doc Trotters out on the course.

The route, billed as an easy day was beautiful one with a little of everything, hard rocky plateau, villages with many children and soft sand and small dunettes to conclude the day.

The heat though and lack of any shade turned out to be the beast of the day and it reduced nearly the whole field to a slower pace and for most, that means walking!

Even the desert king, Rachid El Morabity, although wining easily ahead of his brother, looked tired and a little more exhausted from his 2h 36m run.

Aziza Raji from Morocco started the day at an easier pace and eventually took the lead ahead of the UK’s Anna Brown, however, just like Rachid, in the final km’s she looked ready to be over with the day.

The intense heat has now impacted on day 2 with the organisation bringing start time 30-minutes forward, 0800 instead of 0830. In addition, 1 extra bottle of water will be provided for each runner and CP1 and CP2.

The stage is another 32km day, BUT, many of those km’s take place in the relentless dunes of Merzouga (Erg Chebbi), the highest in Morocco.

Day 1 standings:

  • Rachid El Morabity
  • Mhoamed El Morabity
  • Aziz Yachou

  • Aziza Raji
  • Anna Brown
  • Aicha Omrani

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Everest Trail Race #ETR2014 Stage 1

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Day 1 #ETR2014

The Everest Trail Race (ETR) 2014 started today at the stroke of 0900 in the small Nepalese town of Jiri.

Low mist but a relatively mild night afforded everyone a comfortable nights rest before the action started. The sound of horns and a local group of musicians enticed the runners on to the trails for what will be a life-changing journey.

The Himalayas are beyond beautiful and impressive… it’s almost difficult to find the words and although stage-1 for the ETR doesn’t reach the high mountains or break the tree line, the day is impressive non the less.

Phudorje Lama Sherpa set the early pace but was soon joined by fellow Nepal teammate, Samir Temsang. The two seemed to work together throughout the stage and slowly but surely they stretched the elastic over experienced Spanish ultra runner, Zigor Iturrieta. Temsang in the latter stages opened up a small lead and finished just ahead of Phudorje by 38-seconds. Zigor however was 26-minutes back after the challenging first day of just 21.5km and 3700m+/- of elevation.

Anna Comet started the ladies race from the front and looked impressive throughout the day. She continued to open up a convincing lead of British entrant, Kerry Sutton who finished just over 20-minutes back. 2013 second place, Yangdi Lama Sherpa finished 3rd a further 20-minutes behind Kerry.

It’s only day-1 and a very tough stage lies ahead for day with some tough climbing to the highest point of the race. The top-3 runners in both the ladies and men’s fields are only separated by 30-miutes so a tough day of running lies ahead.

Results top-3

  1. Samir Temsang 2:30:01
  2. Phudorje Lama Sherpa 2:30:39
  3. Zigor Iturrieta 2:56:46

 

  1. Anna Comet 3:16:16
  2. Kerry Sutton 3:36:35
  3. Yangdi Lama Sherpa 3:56:33