Battle of the Body and the Mind: Marathon Des Sables

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They call it “the toughest race on earth”, but what is the Marathon Des Sables?

Organised by Atlantide Organisation Internationale, Marathon Des Sables is an ultramarathon that lasts for a week and covers a distance of 250 km. That’s quite far, but that’s not all. Participants run the distance across the Sahara Desert in Southern Morocco! If that isn’t tough, we don’t know what is. This year it took place from April 6 to April 16, and had over 1,000 participants.

An ultramarathon is any footrace that is longer than the marathon, which is 42 km. This particular ultramarathon is like doing 6 marathons in 10 days, and that too, in the blazing heat and extremes of the desert.

Here’s how it works:

  • Participants have to complete the race in 10 days.
  • They have to carry all the food and clothes that they will need along the way. Yes, they have to run or walk with it on their backs!
  • The longest stretch of it is 52 kilometers between checkpoints.
  • Water along the way is rationed.
  • They walk or run across all kinds of sand and all kinds of conditions.

So why do people want to do this ultramarathon if it’s so exhausting?

No pain, no gain! The satisfaction you get from meeting a challenge is unbeatable. So push yourself out of your comfort zone, find something that really interests you, train and work hard for it and test yourself! You will likely be surprised at what you can achieve!

In the meantime, check this out – of course your challenge doesn’t have to be as crazy as this, but it’s worth a look!


Written by: Sanam Panjwani. Sanam is half-blind, full-hearted, and quite the gifted gabber. She feigns interest in public policy and global affairs to earn a living, but her real areas of interests involve eating well-prepared food, winning pointless arguments, and destroying people at board games.

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