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Today’s leg: 926 competitors set off this morning on this 5th and final leg. To hunt down their finisher’s medal, a marathon distance had to be covered in the lunar landscapes.
Head of the race: Winner in 2011, Moroccan Rachid El Morabity won the overall ranking and takes Mohamad Ahansal’s crown. In the women’s category, mirroring American Meghan Hicks, compatriot Nikki Kimball has stamped her mark over the past 5 stages to take outright victory.

Echoes from the bivouac: the major athletics star, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj will be at the start of Saturday’s Unicef Charity leg. An electric atmosphere coloured the arrival of the last finishers in the long leg, who were greeted by the whole bivouac. Belgian Peter Robijns chose the finish line to propose to his girlfriend.

Portrait : From Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Isabel and Daniel got married ten days ago. For their honeymoon, they’ve chosen to compete in the 29th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES


One last effort, one last marathon, just one marathon. For some, this kind of distance would send people’s heads spinning in an ordinary world. However, the Marathon des Sables doens’t belong to this dimension. Here, everything is out of proportion; welcome to the extraordinary. After the long 81.5km leg, this marathon might even appear easy.
At the end of this 5th and final timed leg in the 29th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES, Patrick Bauer, the race director is awaiting the 926 competitors to hand out the finisher’s medal to all the runners that cross the finish line. The Holy Grail. At the finish, there are long embraces and immense emotion. For a lot of people this 42.2km run between Rich Merzoug and Gadoun Tarhbalt is reminiscent of a procession. The feet are hurting, the legs are heavy, but the prospect of completing this adventure is enough to push back what they believed to be their limits.

The caravan has wound its way towards the goal. Initially negotiating typically African landscapes dotted with acacia trees, then onto rocky plateaus reminiscent of lunar landscapes, the course finished today with the last of a series of dunettes, culminating with a medal on the finish line. It’s a time for yells, tears, hugs and a huge sense of accomplishment. They’ve done it! This evening, at the bivouac, they’ll be able to let themselves be carried away by the music played for them by the musicians from the Opéra de Paris.

On Saturday, the Unicef Charity leg will give the runners a final opportunity to feel the unique atmosphere of the desert. This non-timed 7.7km leg will take them as far as Aït Ichchou. Just for the pleasure of sharing, the very essence of the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES.

Friday at 12:30 GMT.- Temperature: 34.5° - Hygrometry: 9.3%