HUMAN VERSUS DESERT: THE MARATHON DES SABLES

Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids|July/August 2020

HUMAN VERSUS DESERT: THE MARATHON DES SABLES
Hundreds of grueling ultra-marathons take place throughout the world, but only one is called the “toughest footrace on earth.”
Christine Graf

It takes place in one of the harshest, most unforgiving places on the planet—Morocco’s Sahara Desert. The Sahara Desert experiences many sunny days in row allowing intense heat to build up over time. It is in these conditions that racers participate in the Marathon des Sables (Maraton of the Sands).

The first Marathon des Sables took place in 1986. Since then, thousands of runners have taken part in this extreme competition. The race covers 156 miles (250 kilometers) and lasts a week. It consists of five competitive stages and a sixth stage that is just for fun and raises money for charity. The course is different every year, and runners don’t receive course maps until the day before the race begins. They also receive compasses to help them navigate the desert and its steep sand dunes, rocky jebels (mountain passes), dried riverbeds, and windswept salt plains.

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July/August 2020