The Marathon des Sables - the toughest marathon in the world - begins on April 5th.
The marathon is in reality a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’ or ‘ultra’ run in six days over a course of around 250 km.
Some 1500 competitors are expected to take part in in 50 degree Celsius heat and with a backpack containing their food and camping equipment.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.
Started in 1986 by Patrick Bauer, the race is now in its 30th consecutive year and continues to grow in popularity every edition. Places are much sought after, but those who do make it to the start line are richly rewarded. Under the scorching Moroccan sun, life-long friendships are fostered through a shared experience of unforgettable days spent running across saltpans, up desert-mountains, through ruined towns and through the occasional sand storm.
The Marathon des Sables is open to individuals and teams of individuals, amateur and elite runners. With runners coming from all over the world, the MdS is a truly international event that has a positive impact on the local environment and in local communities. Through the MdS foundation Solidarite, runners have raised funds to help hundreds of families through education and improve their quality of life.
The first man to reach the north and south poles by land, first person to cross the Antarctic entirely by foot, the holder of numerous endurance records and a prolific writer, he will be on the start line of the 30th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES.
His target is to raise 2.5 million pounds (3.5 million euro) for the British Marie Curie Foundation, which provides support and care for those affected by terminal illness.
Sir Fiennes has championed several great causes over the years, and has set himself the goal of raising 20 million pounds (28 million euro) during his lifetime (he has 3 million pounds to go). Trained by Rory Coleman (who has clocked up 10 MDS and over 800 marathons!), 71-year-old Sir Fiennes hopes to be the oldest Brit to cross the finish line.