MARATHON DES SABLES is no unknown country to Touda DIDI –on the contrary! It's her sixth participation this year, but most importantly, as of today she's the only Moroccan to have won the race. She's even done so twice: in 2008 and 2009. Observers started to think that those two consecutive victories could be the beginning of a nice series, but medical issues forced her to withdraw from the 2010 and 2011 editions.
She then decided to make the best of it by staying away from the MDS during five long years, devoting herself entirely to her new profession, that of educator at the 'Centre Eveil Académie' in Ouarzazate. This institution was established in 2010 by the 'SOLIDARITÉ MARATHON DES SABLES' association to serve 250 children aged 6-11 by teaching them psychomotor education and introducing them to athletics.
To fulfil her mission as an instructor at the centre, DIDI attended two practical training sessions at the French Athletics Federation, focusing on methods intended to follow up and assist young athletes.
However, once you've taken part in this showpiece event, it's very difficult to move definitely away from it. So today, at the age of 48, the “desert lioness” is back! She explains that Mohamad Ahansal himself (5-time winner of the MDS) phoned her a few months ago to tell her that a company wanted to sponsor Moroccan female runners. “I accepted immediately, though I knew I would not have enough time to train adequately for such a demanding race. No matter: I wanted to return to MARATHON DES SABLES, which I have dearly missed during those years of absence!”
Rest assured we missed you too!