"I do not have any experience with desert racing. So I came to experience the MARATHON DES SABLES to have fun and, of course, to win, "declared Ragna Debats, 40, just before the kickoff of the 34th edition. "Win", the word is dropped and Ragna did not seem to bluff ...
World champion Ultra Trail and world champion Skyrunning - two titles won in 2018 - the Dutch, so far an illustrious unknown at MARATHON DES SABLES, had every reason to be optimistic for what constitutes his baptism of fire in this particular race. And it will soon be confusing even those who, initially, were skeptical about his ability to reign over the MDS from his first participation.
On the first day of the event, she won with a 25 minutes lead in front of her immediate pursuer. An advantage it almost doubles by the end of the second stage, as if to prove that his victory at the inaugural stage was not a coincidence. Thus she continued to fly over the race by annihilating any resistance from other competitors.
In fact, she did not have real female challengers with regard to the insolent deviations she inflicted on her immediate pursuers. On the eve of the last stage, for example, she was already comfortably at the top of the overall women's standings with, hold on, 2h 08 min ahead of the Moroccan Aziza Raji (2nd), and 2h 43 min on the 3rd, the British Gemma Game.
Despite this impressive advantage, Ragna did not lift the foot in the final stage that she won again with panache, achieving a 5 of 5 in this 34th edition. An edition she finished in 12th place overall men and women, exceeding in passing more than 600 men ... What force the macho to swallow their saliva and change their minds about the "weak sex"!
"MARATHON DES SABLES is a race that has been on my shopping list for a few years now," said Ragna Debats. She did it ... And very beautifully!