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Last minute


THE FINAL SESSION

Today’s stage: Run for Solidarité UNICEF, the runners were able to make the most of the South-Moroccan Sahara one last time today and support the message to protect children. Champion Hicham El Guerrouj also joined the caravan.
Head of the race: Review of the list of achievements in the race with a few familiar faces on the podium as well as a number of revelations like the highest-ever ranking for a Briton, 5th place going to Danny Kendall, and 22-yr old Michael Gras, 8th and top Frenchman. The surprise extended to the women’s category too with American Nikki Kimball sealing a win on her first attempt and Irish runner Claire Morrissey taking 7th (2nd woman in the long stage and winner of the final marathon stage).
Echoes from the bivouac: The Doc Trotters once again completed a series of interventions in the race with nearly xx treatments.
Low-down: Patrick Bauer, Race Director, gives us a positive analysis of the 29th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES and is delighted to the see the spirit of camaraderie conveyed across the bivouac.

THE DELIGHT OF SHARING

Given that the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES is essentially based around the idea of sharing, the final non-timed stage between Igadoun Tarhbalt and Aït Ichchou (7.7km) is being organised for reasons of Solidarity. It is an opportunity for runners, walkers and supporters to come together sporting the same blue t-shirt in the colours of UNICEF.
It’s a very important leg, which ties in with the context of the operation. “Stopping violence against children”, Aniss Maghri from UNICEF explains. It’s an appeal to all runners to send this message around the world to make the invisible visible as the children are our present and our future. A massive thanks to the MARATHON DES SABLES for this initiative.

At the head of this caravan is double Olympic champion and multiple world champion of middle-distance running, Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj. He has come to pay homage to Mohamed Mjid, who recently passed away after having worked all his life for youth and development. “It was important for me to be here to honour his memory and convey his message to others, Hicham El Guerrouj explains. However, in relation to everything these runners have done, I feel very small.

In order to leave a trace of their presence behind them in the desert, one that the wind won’t erase, 24 computers have been distributed to the school in the village hosting today’s finish. Meantime, the competitors have come together one last time too. After having shared the intimacy of a tent and created a community where each person supports the other and gives them the encouragement to carry on, these men and women, who often didn’t know each other a week ago, have completed the course together. It is perhaps the most beautiful way to conclude the adventure they began a week ago, after having covered nearly 250km, carrying their own food, clothing and bedding into the desert, traversing a great many landscapes along the way, one more grandiose than the next. Everyone has a big smile and a deep sense of contentment at having written one of the most beautiful pages in their personal life story.

Stage 1 (Sunday 6): 34km, West Chebbi erg –Znaigui erg
Stage 2 (Monday 7): 41km, Znaigui erg – Moungarf wadi
Stage 3 (Tuesday 8): 37.5km, Moungarf wadi – Ba Hallou
Stage 4 (Wednesday 9): 81.5km, Ba Hallou – Rich Merzoug
Stage 5 (Friday 11): 42.2km, Rich Merzoug – Igadoun Tarhbalt
Stage 6 (Saturday 12): 7.7km, Igadoun Tarhbalt – Aït Ichchou (Unicef solidarity stage, non-timed)