The Sahara Desert
The MdS 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: 33.8KM
DAY 2: 38.5KM
DAY 3: 35.0KM
DAY 4: 81.5KM
DAY 5: 42.2KM
DAY 6: 15.5KM
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 Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth.
The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, and the world's third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic.
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