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Last minute


EL MORABITY AND KIMBALL, VICTORIOUS IN THE DESERT

With the finish line crossed, he knelt down to leave a long, lingering kiss on the ground once he crossed the finish line, tears brimming over, full of emotion. After two editions where he was forced to retire due to injury, Moroccan Rachid El Morabity finally treated himself to a second win in his favourite race this Friday, by finishing in 5th place in the last timed leg, just in front of his main rival in the overall ranking, Jordanian Salameh Al Aqra, 6th and hence 2nd in this 29th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES. “I’m really happy with this victory, as I’ve managed to apply the right racing strategy throughout the week”, he admits, clearly moved as Al Aqra comes to greet him. “The long stage enabled me to climb up the overall ranking, but I didn’t manage to outpace him today. Rachid is a really great athlete.” Behind them, the five-time winner of the Marathon des Sables, Mohamad Ahansal secured his 15th podium position by finishing 7th in a leg logically won by the former marathon champion Abdelkader El Mouaziz, whilst Briton Danny Kendall has once again become the top-placed Briton of all time in the event, 2nd in today’s marathon and 6th overall. “It felt like a sprint finish today and given how light my pack is now it was reminiscent of a proper marathon run. I was essentially focusing on keeping Carlos Sa behind me. I was taking chances today, but I had my sights on 5th place from the start and that’s what I’ve got so I couldn’t be happier.” 22-year old Michaël Gras, also created a stir by finishing the top French runner in the leg (4th) and also the event (8th), after having led the race for the first ten kilometres. In the women’s category however, the 3-time French champion Laurence Klein was powerless against American Nikki Kimball who secured the outright win after finishing 3rd in this last timed leg, which was won by Irish runner Claire Morrissey. The latter also put up a stunning performance in the long leg, where she placed 2nd woman. “I’m surprised to finish first here on my first participation, Nikki said. I have a great deal of respect for Laurence and the atmosphere between all the competitors has been inspirational.”

5th LEG

MEN

1. Abdelkader El Mouaziz (MAR), 3h11’22’’
2. Danny Kendall (GBR), 11’04’’ behind
3. Carlos Sa (POR), 11’50’’ behind
4. Michael Gras (FRA), 11’57’’ behind
5. Rachid El Morabity (MAR), 22’19’’ behind
6. Salameh Al Aqra (MAR), 25’19’’ behind
7. Christophe Le Saux (FRA), 33’35’’ behind

WOMEN

1. Claire Morrissey (IRL), 4h35’23’’
2. Amandine Roux (FRA), 17’24’’ behind
3. Nikki Kimball (USA), 18’18’’ behind
4. Laurence Klein (FRA), 18’56’’ behind

Final overall ranking

MEN

1. Rachid El Morabity (MAR), 20h27’37’’
2. Salameh AL Aqra (JOR), 9’32’’ behind
3. Mohamad Ahansal (MAR), 23’21’’ behind
4. Carlos Sa (POR), 57’21’’ behind
5. Danny Kendall (GBR), 1h2’39’’ behind
…8. Michael Gras (FRA), 2h02’05’’ behind
9. Jean-Sébastien Braun (FRA), 2h08’22’’ behind
10. Christophe Le Saux (FRA), 2h21’49’’ behind

WOMEN

1. Nikki Kimball (USA), 29h04’49’’
2. Laurence Klein (FRA), 1h0’30’’ behind
3. Amandine Roux (FRA), 2h26’06’’behind