ECHO FROM THE BIVOUAC
They weren’t short-winded
A long string of figures fighting against the wind on dried-up lakes, crossings of the magnificent djebel Zireg, and the narrow pass of El Maharch: such were the most stiking images of the 3rd leg of the 27th Sultan MARATHON DES SABLES, that spanned 35km between Taourit Mouchanne and El Maharch. In extreme conditions, moroccan runner Rachid El Morabity on the men’s side and French runner Laurence Klein on the women’s side won their third consecutive stage.
Doc Trotter. Ready, steady, care!
A blister, a pain in the lumbar region or in the joints? No problem. A quick snap of the fingers and the Doc Trotters are there to care… or almost! Just a few metres from the bivouac, a giant tent is on hand for competitors. The minute you’re across the finish line, twenty-two nurses and as many doctors lavish simple foot treatments or relieve more important issues with different traumas (joints, back…). Though 300 to 400 interventions take place on a daily basis, it’s on Thursday, on the second day of the long leg (81.5km), that the work really peaks, as Frédéric Compagnon, the head of the Doc Trotters confirms: “After a long leg, over half the competitors come along to see us. There is a huge amount of treatment of all kinds called for at this time”. Of course an important part of this treatment involves psychological support for competitors whose spirits might be a little low: “Our words play a role in the runners’ mental states. When they’re not doing quite so well mentally, we try to remotivate them so they can head off again the following day with a more positive mindset”, explains Fred Compagnon. And those that compete in the Marathon des Sables can certainly testify to this, such as François Laratta (D196-FRA). “Our feet are incredibly important in helping us to make headway towards the final finish line. The treatment they provide is a constant relief. And when spirits are a little low, the Docs give us a boost in quarter of the time and just seem to have the right words”. During the race, vigilance is also very high over the course, naturally, as well as at each checkpoint, where more treatment is lavished if need be. To set off on the right foot again, the competitors are clearly in safe hands!