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IN PLAIN SIGHT

Each day, those participating in the 30th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES discover a whole range of new landscapes. The emotions experienced throughout the leg mirror the scale of the effort…extreme.

Gaining Height

1,322 starters – 8 retirements since the start
At 14:00 GMT. Temperature: 33.7° ; Hygrometry: 14.7%

etape2-campagnie-mds2015-copyright-10 800x600A few minutes before the start, all conversations in the bivouac are geared around the same subject: the El Otfal jebel. In temperatures upward of 30°, the second leg of the 30th SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES offered the 1,322 runners taking today’s start (8 retirements after the first leg) a 31.1km course linking the Tijekht wadi and the El Otfal jebel.

The El Otfal jebel in the SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES is somewhat reminiscent of the Alpe d’Huez section of the Tour de France: a now unmissable stage. Discovered a few years back by the trackers, this jebel passage is covered in a golden tongue of sand for a large part of its ascent and has since become a virtually obligatory passage. At the summit though, the 360° panorama, with its views stretching across the entire region, erase the troubles and suffering.

Before reaching this stage, the runners will have traversed two less impressive but still testing jebels in a heat such as this. Their route will have taken them past mountains in the form of ruins, mountain crests and the Rhéris wadi, which is unusually lush and green this year and even brimming over in places.

Leading the race is Moroccan Rachid El Morabity, reigning champion, who has once again put up a highly creditable performance 3 minutes ahead of compatriot Abdelkader El Mouaziz with Jordanian Salameh Al Aqra some 5 minutes back. Among the women, Swede Elisabet Barnes, victorious in yesterday’s leg, once again finished a few seconds ahead of American Elizabeth Howard.

On Tuesday, the runners will set off at 08:30 GMT to make for the Zireg jebel some 36.7km away. One thing for sure is that it will be another great day.