The HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA is an ideal introduction to desert adventure running: it offers a superb setting, flawless organisation, and its size makes it accessible to all kinds of sportsmen and women: trailers, of course, but also marathon runners, triathletes, hikers, crossfitters...
WOULD I BE CAPABLE?
That's the big question: would I be able to finish the HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA? The event was created to allow as many people as possible to complete it. So anyone who's a little bit sporty should make it to the finish without any problems.
To help you prepare for the event in the best possible way, here are the 10 key points on which success in the HALF MDS FUERTEVENTURA is based. It's up to you to determine where you are in relation to each of these, and see which ones you'll need to work on in order to be on top form by the end of September and really make the most of the adventure.
You'll have to walk / run around 120 km in four days: two stages of around thirty kilometres, and one stage of around sixty kilometres. This requires good endurance... but nothing extraordinary! It's not a question of covering these 120 km at an average of 12 km/h, unless you want to win! You're free to take the HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA at your own pace. We only ask that you maintain an average pace of 3 km/h, below which you run the risk of elimination. This should allow any hiker to finish on time.
Sand, rocks, stones... The HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA takes place in a desert environment. You'll have to climb dunes, cross rocky plateaus and follow rugged tracks... This is what makes these events so interesting: exploring unspoilt natural areas that have not been shaped by humans, to reconnect with nature. Nevertheless, at the same time, you'll remain within a "safe" environment: no overly technical paths or dizzying chasms... Adventure without the danger!
This is an absolutely essential factor for success in the HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA. You must be able to set off gently, slow down if it's too hot, overcome fatigue when it strikes, raise your pace again (slightly) when your energy returns... Regularity is much more important than a good peak speed or exceptional endurance. It's all about controlling the speed at which you progress.
During the HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA, you'll carry everything you need for four days. Your bag will probably weigh between 4 and 7 kg (without water) at the start, and a good two kilos less on arrival, once you've consumed all your food. It's better to get used to walking and running with this load, since it will make your body behave differently. Plan one slow-paced training session per week in which you practice walking and running in a natural setting with your bag packed. This will enable you to make adjustments (reposition the equipment inside, tighten the straps, etc.), and to get used to it.
The HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA takes place in a desert environment bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. You'll move through a wild natural environment, literally in the middle of nowhere. Be not afraid of getting lost, however, since the route is well marked. Nevertheless, if you become distracted and go off course, the tag with which you're equipped will alert the organisers, allowing them to quickly get you back on track.
Your shoes, backpack, gaiters, cap, water bottles or pouches, walking poles... Your body and equipment must become one and the same for these four days. That said, the reduced distance of the HALF MARATHON DES SABLES does allow you to make a few mistakes. This event is an ideal context in which to test your equipment with a view to progressing towards the MDS MAROC or PERU. You'll soon find a list of the ideal equipment for your speed target on our website.
This is a very important point when it comes to the MARATHON DES SABLES, whatever the desert in which it takes place: food self-sufficiency. It has been at the heart of the MDS since its creation. It's up to you to determine the right balance of freeze-dried dishes, salty snacks, compotes, soups, etc. Not to mention your mid-run energy boosts: cereal bars, plus gels if they suit you. You'll have to carry enough food to be self-sufficient for three and a half days, which is not much, but at the same time quite a lot! We'll give you advice on this over the coming weeks.
The HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA is a perfect first stage race: the stages are designed to tire you without exhausting you. You'll therefore experience the repetitive effort day after day, and be able to try out the best recovery techniques, including hydration and diet, equipment, relaxation techniques, and of course rest and sleep.
To make your HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA a complete success, you'll need to enjoy the Spartan side of life in a bivouac. You'll have no bathroom, kitchen or washing machine in the desert of the Canary Islands: your individual tent will need to act as all of these. These pared-down conditions should be taken as an invitation to explore all the things that lie hidden within you as a person. Whether alone or with your fellow competitors, you'll see these things emerge little by little: a rich and potentially life-changing experience.
While all the previous aspects might appear essential to the success of your HALF MARATHON DES SABLES FUERTEVENTURA, you really only need one to be a finisher and go home with a smile that will last for months and months: m-o-t-i-v-a-t-i-o-n! It's what's in your head that will make you a finisher: if you genuinely have the will to do it, then you're already there.
You'll find more articles on each of these aspects over the coming weeks, with advice from competitors who have already completed the MDS MAROC. You'll also be able to read about the points to work especially hard on according to your profile (road runner, triathlete, hiker, crossfitter, raider, ultra-trailer, etc.).