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Isabelle et Karim Konaté (D948,D949-CIV)

A great adventure for a couple

Isabelle Konaté is no novice when it comes to the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES. Indeed in 2013, she didn’t go unnoticed in a short, purple dress alongside her Senegalese friends and their then coach. Since then, the former inhabitant of Dakar has returned to Abidjan in her native Ivory Coast and she’s managed to convince her husband to accompany her on the 30th edition. “It was a certainty for me, it was important I came back.” More familiar with road races and marathons, Karim Konaté admits that he’s “not usually attracted by this type of event in stages”, which he finds “too much”. However, it didn’t take long for him to be seduced by the idea of a sporting experience as a couple. This fact was backed up by seeing them returning in 2013 and they were so euphoric that I regretted not having followed them”, he admitted on Sunday, before discovering the harshness of the desert. “It was very difficult, but the scenery is really fabulous! In fact you don’t think about it often enough during the effort, but we really need to think about lifting your head more often and taking it all in, because it’s a real consolation when you’re suffering.” For now, they have decided to walk side by side for mutual support. “However, I may let her have her freedom as I’m afraid of slowing her down, afraid of being a millstone around her neck”, smiles Karim after having completed the first stage in a little over seven hours. Unless the roles are reversed mid-race…? Indeed Isabelle admitted to having started the race with blisters and pain in the left knee. Hopefully her fondness for the race will carry her through as it’s out of the question for the duo to miss out on this “fine adventures as a couple”.