The Toughest Footrace on Earth
“It covers 243km/151 miles (in sections similar to 25, 34, 38, 82, 42, 22 km) run over 6 days – equivalent to 5 1/2 regular marathons. . . In addition to that, competitors have to carry everything they will need for the duration (apart from a tent) on their backs in a rucksack (food, clothes, medical kit, sleeping bag etc). Water is rationed and handed out at each checkpoint.
You will experience mid-day temperatures of up to 120°F, of running or walking on uneven rocky, stony ground as well as 15 – 20% of the distance being in sand dunes.
The heat, distance and rubbing will trash your feet and may cause severe trauma if incorrect shoes and equipment are used. Mental stamina probably constitutes at least 50% of whether you will complete the distance or not. Physical fitness is important but don’t underestimate the mental stress that you will need to endure.
On the 4th day, you will set off across the barren wilderness to complete a 45 – 50 mile stage. Few people complete this before dark that evening and some will not come in till after dark the next night. This is followed by the 42km Marathon stage!! It’s tough!! ”
That is the opening paragraph on the application form, it’s meant to put people off, yet it makes me even more intrigued
I have followed the Marathon Des Sable for years, watched it on Eurosport, loved the footage of people running over the dunes, through mud hut villages, over dried river beds, I watched the interviews, men with sun burnt faces and dried lips barely able to talk because they are so dry, lying half dead on their backs and exclaiming that it was amazing!! , I have dreamt of being one of those guys for what seems like a lifetime, yet I was always chasing another dream, the dream of kayaking flooded gorges in far flung places or of hanging by the finger tips off of 1000 foot rock faces, but now, when the fire doesn’t burn so bright for my other pursuits there is room to try to pull off one last dream … Competing in the Marathon Des Sable…………