United by love...and sports!

Mustapha IZZOUHAIRI (D0016-MAR) and Meryem MAHFOUD (D0020-MAR)

Marathon des Sables

For the 40th birthday of his wife Meryem MAHFOUD, Mustapha decided to offer her an unusual gift: he signed her up for the MARATHON DES SABLES without her knowing it! This could seem like a poisoned chalice, but actually it's not. Indeed, in Meryem's own words, it may well be the best gift she's ever received. “Taking part in the MARATHON DES SABLES was my dream. It had even become an obsession! This gift came in at the perfect moment,” she explains with a somewhat nervous tone in her voice. It was on the eve of the opening of the registrations for the 32nd edition of this tough and most feared race.


Meryem, one of the 4 Moroccan female racers out of 233 women participants, confessed that each year, she would watch TV reports on the race every single evening. “While I was watching the runners suffering from the heat, the difficult terrain or other unforeseeable events, I was envying them because I enjoy suffering,” she admitted while roaring with laughter.


But her husband Mustapha didn't just register her, he signed up too. This is the first time in history that a Moroccan couple takes part in the MARATHON DES SABLES. Both spouses are passionate about sports: they competed together in several races, both in Morocco and abroad (Paris and Rome marathons, etc.).


To prepare themselves and be ready for the D-Day, the couple trained during several months in Zagora. Mustapha and Meryem eventually made it to this 32nd edition, hand in hand, united by love, sports...and even profession, since they are both opticians. When we say united…we mean it.