Patrick BAUER announced on March 7 the postponement of the 35th MARATHON DES SABLES, initially scheduled from April 3 to 13, in September, from 18 to 28, due to the epidemic of coronavirus (Covid-19) which rages in the whole world. It is a big blow for the organization which was looking forward to this celebration and which was going to launch the very last preparations, but obviously the race could not take place in the current state of the world. You all understood the merits of this postponement and many of you supported us, while asking us many questions. Here are all the answers we can give you to date.
1 / Can you confirm that the new dates for MDS 2020 are from September 18 to 28, 2020?
To date, we confirm that the 35th MARATHON DES SABLES will take place from September 18 to 28, 2020.
2 / For those who have booked their flights from PARIS, do we already know the departure airport for September and the timetables? To book train and hotel as soon as possible.
We will notify everyone as soon as possible but at the moment we do not yet know the airport from Paris.
3 / For those who have an appointment in Morocco, is the departure always from ERRACHIDIA and the return from OUARZAZATE?
We confirm that the arrival airport in Morocco is ERRACHIDIA and the return airport in Morocco is OUARZAZATE.
4 / Will the pickup of participants in ERRACHIDIA / ERFOUD / OUARZAZATE to the bivouac be the same on September 18?
Yes: buses will be available both at the airport and in front of hotels (only for competitors who booked a stay before the race with their official representative) as scheduled in April 2020.
5 / We assume that the return program will be identical?
Absolutely, identical program.
6 / I incurred non-reimbursable costs (train, hotel, doctor, etc.) as part of the 35th MDS in April, have you planned anything on this subject?
We are fully aware of the costs and the collateral damage that the cancellation of the 35th MDS in April caused, which is why we proposed a postponement of the race to September 2020 without any costs retained by the organization. However, we regret to inform you that AOI will not cover non-refundable costs. Thank you for your understanding.
7 / Should an ECG be redone (dates, reimbursement of the first, when will the document be available…)?
Whether or not you have already carried out your ECG and your medical examination, we ask you to repeat these examinations during the 30 days preceding the start of the race, ie from August 20, 2020. The AOI medical certificate will be available on your online account from August 19, 2020.
8 / Can I keep my bib number?
The assigned bib numbers will be kept.
9 / Can I keep my tent? Can I change my tent?
The online registration system for the reservation of tents is maintained as well as the distribution already carried out. The organization reserves the right, however, to make changes due to the updated number of MDS participants in September. We will inform the competitors concerned by e-mail. For any change request, please send an email to inscription(at)marathondessables.com
10 / I have subscribed to ASSURINCO insurance, is it extended until MDS in September?
We inform all competitors who have subscribed to ASSURINCO insurance that the contract is extended until the MDS of September 2020.
11 / I am registered for MDS 2020 and I have not subscribed to ASSURINCO insurance, is it still possible to do so?
Competitors must make the request by e-mail at inscription(at)marathondessables.com
12 / Can you give me a certificate for my employer or for a train reimbursement?
Yes, for any request, please send an email to inscription(at)marathondessables.com
13 / What will happen if the coronavirus epidemic is still active in September?
If unfortunately the coronavirus still presents a threat after the summer, we will advise at least 1 month before departure of the potential risks of cancellation of the event in September and new arrangements to move your entry to April 2021.
14 / Do you know how the ITRA points will be managed? I was counting on those from MDS to register for races this summer.
We will have to wait until the end of September to obtain these points and we advise you to contact ITRA directly for any further information on this subject.
15 / How did you choose the new dates for the 35th MDS?
Initially we wanted to program the MDS in late September-early October, but this is the period that the Rally Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc chose to postpone its event (25 / 09-10 / 10). And due to too many common providers, it was not possible for us to also take this period. We studied the possibility of scheduling the MDS at the end of October, but this time for weather reasons (rainfall) and the reprogramming of many events during this period, we preferred not to take this risk. This is why we finally opted for this period from September 18 to 28; in exceptional circumstances, exceptional decision. We are aware that other events will take place at the same time as the 35th MDS and sincerely hope that our participants will not be impacted.
16 / How is the weather in the desert in September compared to April?
Statistically, temperatures in September in this region of Morocco are slightly higher than in April. However, we realized that the average temperatures at this period do not correspond to 100% to the official statistics, due to climate change.
17 / Will the planned route change or will it remain as it is?
The route will be identical to that planned for April.
18 / Will there be a new press conference for the 35th MDS?
There will be no new press conference in Paris for the 35th MDS but there will be a press conference in Casablanca in Morocco on September 10, 2020 and a press conference in Nîmes in France (date to be confirmed in early September).
19 / Competitors who will not be able to run in September 2020 but in 2021 will they be able to postpone their registration at no cost?
We thank all the competitors who responded present for the 35th MDS from September 18 to 28, 2020. It will be an anniversary edition with its share of surprises - full of good and a "little bit less", but this edition will be remembered of all, organization as competitors! For all those who unfortunately will not be able to be part of the caravan for this 35th anniversary, we offer a report on the edition of MDS 2021 which will take place from April 2 to 12. This postponement will not entail any deduction of costs for the participants. Each request will be studied on a case-by-case basis on the email address inscription(at)marathondessables.com
20 / Will the competitors who cannot run in September 2020, or in 2021, be reimbursed?
We thank all the competitors who responded for the 35th MDS from September 18 to 28, 2020. For all those who unfortunately will not be able to be part of the caravan for this 35th anniversary, nor of the 36th MDS 2021, we offer a report on the edition of MDS 2022 (date to be defined). This postponement will not entail any deduction of costs for the participants. Each request will be studied on a case by case basis on the email address inscription(at)marathondessables.com
21 / To avoid refunds, would you consider allowing competitors (from April 2020) to participate in the event over the next 3 years (2021/2022/2023) so that they are not completely disappointed?
We will make every effort to satisfy the competitors and allow them to live their own MDS by possibly offering them a report to the 2023 edition.
22 / Will you accept new registrations for Sept 2020?
Based on all feedback from competitors, we will reopen a limited number of registrations for the MDS 2020 in September. All registration procedures will be available soon on our race regulations and by e-mail on maroc(at)marathondessables.com
23 / I am already registered for the 36th MDS, can I transfer my registration to the 35th, the dates suit me better?
It will actually be possible to postpone a registration for the 36th MDS 2021 on the 35th MDS 2020 after having requested it by email to the organization on inscription(at)marathondessables.com
24 / Will the 36th MDS take place on the scheduled dates or will it also be postponed in September?
To date, the 36th MDS will take place on the dates scheduled from April 2 to 12, 2021.
25 / Are you going to need volunteers? The dates will probably not suit everyone…
It is very possible and for those interested, please send your application through the MDS website: https://www.marathondessables.com/en/become-volunteer
26 / How can we support you in this difficult moment?
We are very touched by all the expressions of affection that you bring to us. The best way to support MDS is to sign up and / or tell others about it, especially about your experience if you have already participated, and to continue to give us your trust and support.
Thank you to everyone !