Last Updated on April 26, 2023

The Marathon des Sables, the world’s toughest ultramarathon, has officially kicked off in Morocco on April 21st, challenging runners to tackle a grueling six-day, 251-kilometre course through the unforgiving terrain of the Sahara Desert.

Over 1,000 competitors from across the world have joined this year’s edition, including some of the most accomplished runners in the men’s and women’s fields.


Morocco’s Mohamed El Morabity Takes the Lead on Day 3 of the Ultramarathon

On Day 3 of the race, Mohamed El Morabity of Morocco emerged as the new leader in the men’s category after a strong performance, completing the 34.4-km stage in 2 hours, 30 minutes, and 21 seconds. Mohamed had trailed his brother and nine-time race winner Rachid El Morabity during the first two stages of the race, but now he holds a two-minute, 50-second lead over the rest of the field. Azil Yachou of Morocco is in second place, followed by Rachid El Morabity and Frenchman Mathieu Blanchard, who is almost 40 minutes behind Yachou. Russian Vasilii Korytkin retains his position in the top five.

Ragna Debats Extends Her Lead in the Women’s Category

In the women’s race, Ragna Debats, the 2019 winner, continues to dominate as she finished the second stage in 3 hours, 29 minutes, and 36 seconds, with a lead of almost 40 minutes over France’s Maryline Nakache. Morocco’s Aziza El Amrany is in third place, while Switzerland’s Corina Summer moved up to fourth place from seventh place after Stage 2. Japan’s Tomomi Bitoh and France’s Elise Delannoy are in fifth and sixth place, respectively. It was a tough day for Jodie Moss, who dropped three places to seventh, weakening her chances of a top-five finish.

The Toughest Footrace in the World

Dubbed the “toughest footrace in the world,” the Marathon des Sables is known for pushing participants to their absolute limits. The course consists of six grueling days of running, including a 91-kilometre stage where competitors must carry their own food, water, and equipment. This year’s course through the sand dunes was only revealed to the runners yesterday, adding to the challenge. The race attracts runners from all over the world, including those who have previously completed the Barkley Marathons and the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc. The 2023 edition features some of the best runners in the world, including legendary Moroccan Rachid El Morabity, who is seeking his record-equalling 10th title. Mohamed El Morabity, Mathieu Blanchard, Ragna Debats, and Jodie Moss are also among the top runners to watch.

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