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Jean-Claude Raymond (D1331, FRA)

Two new knees in the desert

“Every time it’s the same thing. You tell yourself that it’s your last participation and then a few months later you’re signed up for the next edition!”  Jean-Claude Marasse smiles. At 76 years of age, this retired runner from Bordeaux has amassed a fine array of long-distance races: 30 marathons, around fifty adventure challenges and ten participations in the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES. The first one dates back to 2001 and since that time he’s hardly missed one. Even though he’s had both knees operated on (in 2008 and 2009), he continues to return to the event, sticks in his hands, so as to take the pressure off the two new knees, which replace his joints. “I no longer have any form of meniscus or cartilage. Instead I have steel and plastic inserts so that it glides! As such I am less sensitive to cushioning and I have to be much more vigilant in the downhill sections so as to avoid falling, which could cause my replacement knees to come free in the downhill sections.” It’s certainly not going to prevent him from continuing to rekindle his links with the bivouac and his desert friends though. “The Marathon des Sables really is an exceptional race. I even think that it scores a lot more than all the other races I’ve been able to participate in,” he says before explaining that he’s received a number of emails of encouragement from runners encountered in previous editions, even though he’d never seen them again since. This is sure to help him go all the way with the adventure once again.


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