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HICHAM EL GUERROUJ AT THE START OF THE LAST LEG

hicham-SAM-MDS2014-ETAPE 5-COPY-0651 bassedefHicham El Guerrouj, one of athletics’ greatest champions, will be at the start of Saturday’s 7.7km Unicef Charity leg, designed to raise money for the Solidarité MARATHON DES SABLES association based in Ouarzazate. 4-time world champion in the 1,500m (more than 3 indoor titles), his favourite distance, for which he still holds the world record (3’26’00’’), double Olympic champion in 2004 over 1,500m and 5,000m, and still the world record holder over a mile and 2,000m, as well as being a member of the International Olympic Committee, El Guerrouj is participating to honour the memory of Mohamed MJid. The latter was the former president of the Royal Moroccan Tennis Federation and founder of the Moroccan Foundation for Youth, Initiative and Development, and died just a few weeks ago.

A MEXICAN WAVE IN THE BIVOUAC

It’s one of the finest traditions in the MARATHON DES SABLES. On Thursday, with the arrival of the last competitors from the 81.5km leg, the whole bivouac (runners, stewards, chauffeurs, doctors, press, etc.) headed to the finish line to create a genuine guard of honour for those who had to battle for over 32 hours to complete the course. Bringing up the rear, Japanese runner Masato Nakamura will probably never forget the amazing welcome.

SUCH A NOVEL MARRIAGE PROPOSAL

demandemariage-SAM-MDS2014-ETAPE 5-COPY-0709 bassedefIt’s a message, which hasn’t gone unnoticed this Friday in the Marathon des Sables. On the finish line, before the webcam, Peter Robijins, 43 years of age, unfolded a small piece of paper, where a message was written out with a red marker: a romantic proposal of marriage to his girlfriend, Carla, who has remained in Belgium. “She’s been asking me for a long time: when are you going to ask me to marry you?” but I wanted to find the right moment to do it”, he explains, medal around his neck, taking a childlike delight in his surprise.