The adventure of the legendary Marathon Des Sables continues with as much enthusiasm and determination. Today, the MDS is in its 34th edition. The organizers, headed by Patrick Bauer, founder of the event, continue to demonstrate their strong ambition to make it the annual and unmissable sporting event of the Moroccan desert. This year again, everything has been planned and as it should be to be on time for a highly anticipated MDS.
The 34th edition will start on April 5th in the heart of the South-Moroccan Sahara. The expected 1,000 competitors will be followed as each year in more than 50 countries.
From regional daily newspapers to international TV, specialized media and social networks, 300 million people will be in contact with the images of the MDS. In all, they are 250 km on the menu over 6 stages and 7 days in food self-sufficiency.
For seven days, these modern day adventurers will walk about 250 km through dunes, djebels, ergs and dry lakes. During the week, only water and a traditional Berber tent per group of eight competitors will be provided. For seven days, in the heart of an exceptional desert environment, they will advance at all costs, fighting against sand, heat, but above all against themselves. Helped by their companions and by all the staff, they will have to outdo themselves and go get the little something that will allow them to go to the end of their challenge.
Another challenge, not least, is the protection of the environment hosting the MDS. For its founder, Patrick Bauer, this is the DNA of the marathon since its creation in 1986. “When we love nature, we do everything to preserve it,” he says, explaining that the MDS has worked extensively on this subject, including a carbon neutral balance thanks to its partner Terres d’Aventure, a respect for natural spaces, waste management, total integration of the event, an ethical aspect … The MDS navigates each edition in unique environments that the passage of several hundred people could disrupt. The layout of the steps is carefully studied to avoid damaging sensitive areas: “The desert must be as clean after our passage as before. And sometimes even cleaner after! Trash everywhere, an incinerator truck, a very strict regulation and a communication supported towards the competitors and the staff, the sorting of waste … “Everything is organized in order to leave nothing in the desert that the wind can not sweep in a few days” says Patrick Bauer.
At the new edition of this legendary race, the women also intend to distinguish themselves with more than 200 participants at the start, including Moroccan Aziza Raji who makes her comeback on the MDS. Every year, women are ahead of men in the Finisher percentage of the event.
This 34th edition is also based on the values that have always animated the Marathon des Sables: solidarity and benevolence. This year will be marked by the inauguration of the new sports center in Isfoutalil for the children of Ouarzazate, realized by the Solidarity Association Marathon des Sables, with the help of generous donors.