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The Most Grueling Race on the Planet!


Title says all. Read more below!
The Marathon des Sables otherwise known as "The Toughest Footrace on Earth" is...

...a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’ or ‘ultra’ run in six days over a course of between 150 and 156 (254km) miles.


Which by the way is the equivalent of:
Running from London to Dover, deciding not to go to France after all, and running back again, in 120 degree heat. with a backpack on, and voices in your head talking about cold beer!

As an example of what lies beyond the starting line, the longest single stage in 2012 was 51 miles (81.5km). Typical distances are 156 miles (251 km) broken down as follows:

Day 1 - 33.8 km. Day 2 - 38.5 km. Day 3 - 35 km. Day 4 - 81.5 km. Day 5 - 42.2 km. Day 6 - 15.5 km



The actual routes and formats change every year. The Race Director and his team spend a month meticulously planning routes that are held secret until the day before the event starts. There is a rest day after the longest stage, but it may well take you into that day before you get to the finish. Competitors stay overnight in a bivouac village, comprised of tents that sleep about 8 competitors per tent. Once you get your 'bivvy' your bivvy team become your family, your support team, your nursing team and invariably they become long-term friends. The most memorable sound of an evening is the rumble of weary laughter that echoes around the village.

The organisation comprises of:
100 Volunteers on the course itself, 400 Support staff overall, 120,000 Liters of mineral water, 270 Berber and Saharan tents, 100 All-terrain vehicles, 2 'Ecureuil' helicopter, 1 Cessna plane, 3 Mountain bikes, 6 'MdS Special' commercial planes, 23 Buses, 4 Camels, 1 Incinerator lorry for burning waste, 4 Quads to ensure environment and safety on race, 52 Members of medical team, 6.5 km Elastoplast, 2,700 Compeed, 19,000 Compresses, 6,000 Painkillers, 150 Liters of disinfectant, 1 Editing bus, 5 Cameras, 1 Satellite image station, 6 Satellite telephones, 15 Computers, fax and internet.

Demographic:
30 % Previous MdS competitors, 25 % UK & Ireland entrants, 30 % French entrants, 14 % Women, 45 % Veterans, 30 % In teams of three or more, 10 % Walkers, 90 % Alternate walking and running, 14 km / hr : average maximum speed, 3 km / hr : average minimum speed, Age of youngest competitor : 16, Age of oldest competitor : 78.

Race Summary:
The MdS is a six day race. There is only one rest day. The distance is about 254 km - that's 156 miles! The longest stage is about 91 km - that's 55 miles! You may struggle to explain to people why you would want to do this!


Sounds like the toughest race on earth to me. Any TRF'ers thinking about ever doing this? You might want to apply now if you intend on securing a spot in 2015 ;)





9 Comments

Sounds sick, but honeslty don't even think 2015 is enough time for me to train ;)

Sounds sick, but honeslty don't even think 2015 is enough time for me to train ;)

 

Haha me neither! GIve me like 10+ years, that's when I'll start to think about Ultra's, personally.

Thats insane!! I'd have to go with a team. Lol and then still not sure I'd survive it.

6 days to run 156 miles? I've done 100 in a day. I would argue that is far more difficult than breaking up 156 over a week. I realize carrying your gear is probably what makes it so difficult, but I would think being able to sleep and eat between running makes up for that. 

    • Gavin, Andrew Keresztes, Jbones and 1 other like this
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Andrew Keresztes
May 06 2013 05:14 PM
6 days to run 156 miles? I've done 100 in a day. I would argue that is far more difficult than breaking up 156 over a week. I realize carrying your gear is probably what makes it so difficult, but I would think being able to sleep and eat between running makes up for that. 

I find it interesting to get see the view of an ultra marathon runner.  Thanks for sharing!

    • Steve likes this
6 days to run 156 miles? I've done 100 in a day. I would argue that is far more difficult than breaking up 156 over a week. I realize carrying your gear is probably what makes it so difficult, but I would think being able to sleep and eat between running makes up for that. 

 

Haha I was hoping you would post about that ;)  I think the gear, the sand, and the location are what make it so intense. But nice catch! You're my go-to guy for ultra's from now on!

    • Brianna, KyleKranz, Jbones and 1 other like this
Kyle, how about a Skora team doing it in 2015?!?!?
    • Brianna and Gavin like this
Kyle, how about a Skora team doing it in 2015?!?!?

Maybe something more local instead ;)

    • Jbones likes this

I want to do something like this, eventually!!!

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