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GATHERING OF COMPETITORS IN MOROCCO

25 March - TIMGALINE

The 1,000 or so participants in the 36th MARATHON DES SABLES are gathering today in Morocco, in the province of ERFOUD: the culmination of months—even years—of preparation, and the end of intense stress.

TIMGALINE: this name probably means nothing to you, but for the thousand participants in the 36th MARATHON DES SABLES, it represents both an arrival and a departure. An arrival, because to find oneself here in TIMGALINE in the South Moroccan Sahara—after months, or even years, of preparation; after one or more postponements, for some competitors; and of course after having obtained a negative result in the famous PCR test so dreaded to enter Morocco—is already an incredible journey. And a start, because the day after tomorrow, these women and men from around fifty countries will embark on the adventure of a lifetime: 250 km in 6 stages to cover on foot across the desert, carrying their equipment and food on their back.

Julien CUEREL (D1006-CHE) comes from Switzerland and discovers the MARATHON DES SABLES: "I'm impatient for the race to start...I've been preparing for a year. I'm looking forward to an extraordinary experience." His compatriot Joao Filipe DIAS LOPES (D1005-CHE) said the same thing: "We had a very nice welcome when we got off the plane... with a cup of local tea to get us in the mood. Excellent organisation also! We can't wait for the next steps!"

The organisation staff is also taking its mark: some of them, like the trackers, have already been on the ground for a week, while the bulk of the workforce arrived yesterday. Frédéric COMPAGNON, the director of the medical team, was monitoring the arrivals at the airport this morning: "It's likely to be quite different from last year. The temperatures are rather cool at night and below normal during the day. I have a small fear about the winds, which could disrupt the days a little. The Covid epidemic is still circulating, so we'll remain very vigilant. In this year's medical team, there will be 57 of us: 1/3 doctors, 1/3 nurses, and 1/3 podiatrists, and we’re all very happy to be here."

Happiness is indeed the feeling that dominates the bivouac, tinged with a little relief. But our thoughts obviously go to all those who cannot be with us. In the meantime, everyone takes possession of their space for the week and gets to know the desert: in the next few days, it will have to be tamed to make the most of the adventure.

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A Big Thank you

To our suppliers, partners, supporters, volunteers

MOROCCAN NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE
OCP
THÉ BELLAR
SOFAC
Sidi Ali
MUTUAIDE
BODYCROSS
SPOT
TV5MONDE
TERRES D'AVENTURE
Royal Air Maroc
TGCC