The sixth and last stage of the MARATHON DES SABLES PERU is a relief for all competitors, yet a touch of sadness can be perceived: in three days' time, they will all resume a "normal" life. The MDS experience will have changed them forever: the 222 Finishers have shared an extraordinary adventure that will leave them with imperishable memories.
EVENT OF THE DAY
The final arrival of the MARATHON DES SABLES is always a moment full of emotions: competitors are putting an end to a week of Spartan life and efforts in a hostile environment. Crossing the finish line and receiving the Finisher's medal is an intense emotional moment that will be engraved forever in every competitor's memory. But when in addition to that, your fiancé is waiting for you at the finish line to propose marriage to you, it's difficult not to burst into tears... The Peruvian competitor Renee ROMERO SAYRITUPAC (D395-PER) was offered a beautiful engagement ring from her suitor, who kneeled down in front of her at the finish line... Quite hard to realise what was happening!
They have had a very hard time, but they are proud of forming part of the pioneers of the first MARATHON DES SABLES PERU. And on the finish line, many collapsed, submerged by emotions. Tears fell on the dry soil of this Ica-Paracas desert.
Some sprinted over the last metres, others awaited their partner to cross the finish line hand in hand, like Mélanie ROUSSET (D365-FRA) and Rocío CARRIÓN (D215-PER), second and third in the women's general classification. Many gave everything in this last stage, such as 20-year-old Gaëlle DECORSE (D238-FRA), who finished second: "Short distances are what I prefer." Others indulged in something symbolic after reaching the finish line – like the British Hugo GARLAND (D144-GBR) who lit and smoked a huge cigar seconds after his arrival.
The Irish Ruthann SHEAHAN (D051-IRL) perfectly summarised the entire race: "It was really tough but I loved it! The beginning was difficult, but then we adapted. It's one of the most beautiful events I've taken part in, and definitely the most beautiful desert I've visited."
THE TOP ATHLETES' RACE: THE FINAL PODIUM
A crazye sixth stage, run at full speed! Rachid EL MORABITY (D001-MAR) and Remigio HUAMAN QUISPE (D003-PER) ran it together at an impressive average speed: 16.39 km/h! It took them only 1 hr 13 min to cover the almost 20 km, thus enabling Remigio to return to the Top 5, to the detriment of the Lithuanian Gediminas GRINIUS (D236-LTU), who took 11 minutes more than him to complete the stage. No other changes in the general classification after this final stage.
Rachid EL MORABITY (D001-MAR): "I've been very happy to meet again with my MARATHON DES SABLES family here. It's really a beautiful adventure, I had a fantastic time and hope to be able to come back next year."
Nathalie MAUCLAIR (D114-FRA): "It's a very emotional moment. I was hoping to have a good place, but finishing seventh in the scratch classification, that's awesome – I hadn't expected that! It was a real pleasure to run here – a beautiful week away from time and reality. How lucky we are to be here!"
Julien CHORIER (D111-FRA): "It's really a different race. I loved sharing this week with all the competitors, the press, the staff."
Gediminas GRINIUS (D236-LTU): "It's crazy: I loved it...although I almost died during this last stage - the leaders were running so fast! This race taught me a lot of things, I saw incredible landscapes and met wonderful people. I hope to come back in the future!"