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RUN247 / Race Previews / Marathon des Sables 2024: How the ‘toughest foot race on earth’ unfolded stage by stage
12-22 Apr 2024
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Morocco

Marathon des Sables 2024: How the ‘toughest foot race on earth’ unfolded stage by stage

Here's what happened in the 38th edition...
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Race Guide

The 2024 version of the Marathon des Sables is a 252.8km (157-mile) six-day ultra marathon which took place in the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco.

It started on Sunday, April 14 and finished on Saturday, April 20.

Marathon des Sables live tracking

Marathan des Sables runs a race tracking website to follow competitions. They do so by tracking the geolocation through ‘spot’ tags – click here to follow live.

The tracking devices allow the race organiser to ensure no competitors get lost on the course.

NOTE - the X (Twitter) timeline functionality doesn't appear to be working on mobile but is ok on desktop / laptop devices. This appears to be an issue with X itself

20 April 2024 10:30 am
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Aziza El Amrany takes women's title
Thanks to an imperious performance from start to finish, Aziza El Amrany becomes the third Moroccan woman to prevail - winning by more than two hours.
20 April 2024 10:00 am
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Record-equalling win for Rachid!
The men's race went right down to the wire on the final stage of the Marathon des Sables as Rachid El Morabity just overtook his brother for a 10th overall win.
19 April 2024 2:00 pm
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Drama in the desert!
It's suddenly all to play for in the battle for the overall title heading into the final stage of the 'world's toughest foot race' after Mohamed El Morabity's overall lead "melts like snow in the sun".
18 April 2024 2:00 pm
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Rachid bounces back but concedes title
Nine-time winner Rachid El Morabity won the fourth stage of the Marathon des Sables but admitted the overall title will again go to his younger brother Mohamed.
16 April 2024 3:30 pm
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Mohamed makes major move
It always looked like being the race-defining stage and defending champion Mohamed El Morabity could hardly have made a more decisive statement on day three
15 April 2024 1:30 pm
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Calm ahead of the 'storm'
There was a sense of deja vu on the second stage as Aziza El Amrany went further clear in the women's race, while the big favourites in the men's conserved energy for Tuesday's race-defining challenge.
14 April 2024 5:00 pm
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Big names make fast start
Moroccan stars Aziza El Amrany and the Morabity brothers make an early statement on stage one of the Marathon des Sables.

Marathon des Sables

start list

Click here for the full start list.

Notable runners

Route

The start of the 2022 Marathon des Sables[Photo credit CIMBALY/MDS2022]

The exact route of the race is always unknown but the distance this year is exactly 252.8km and is split up into six stages over seven days as follows

Sunday April 14
Stage 1 – 31.1km

Monday April 15
Stage 2 – 40.8km

Tuesday April 16 / Wednesday April 17
Stage 3 – 85.3km

Thursday April 18
Stage 4 – 43.1km

Friday April 19
Stage 5 – 31.4km

Saturday April 20
Stage 6 – 21.1km

In addition to the distance, competitors must also combat the rough Saharan terrain, plenty of elevation, debilitating heat as well as carrying their supplies.

This year, there’s an increased amount of checkpoints, so the competitors can refill their water more frequently, allowing them to carry less weight on the stages. CPs will be spaced on average between 7km and 12km apart.

Analysis

Many eyes will once again be on Rachid El Morabity as he looks to equal fellow Moroccan Lahcen Ahansal’s all-time record of 10 victories.

Last year ended in controversy when he pulled out of the race in “protest” against a three-hour time penalty.

The legendary Moroccan runner, who was in contention, was sanctioned due to an “anomaly” discovered during a bag check after the third stage but he claimed he was “punished unfairly for a mistake I did not commit”.

Mohamed El Morabity, Rachid’s brother, would go on to clinch victory at the Marathon des Sables for the first time having finished runner-up behind his elder sibling on five occasions.

Both return this year and it will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.

Marathon des Sables winners

Men’s Past winners

    • 10 – Lahcen Ahansal (Morocco) – 1997, 1999-2007

    • 9 – Rachid El Morabity (Morocco) – 2011, 2014-2019, 2021-22

    • 5 – Mohamad Ahansal (Morocco) – 1998, 2008-2010, 2013

    • 4 – Hassan Sebtaoui (France) – 1987, 1989-1991

    • 3 – André Derksen (Russia) – 1994-1996

    • 2 – Mohamed Bensalah (Morocco) – 1992-93

    • 2 – Bernard Gaudin (France) – 1986, 1988

    • 1 – Salameh Al Aqra (Jordan) – 2012

Record Time: Bernard Gaudin (France) – 1988 (14:39:44)

Women’s Past Winners

    • 3 – Laurence Fricotteaux-Klein (France) – 2007, 2011-12

    • 3 – Simone Kayser (Luxembourg) 2002, 2004-05

    • 2 – Elisabet Barnes (Sweden) – 2015, 2017

    • 2 – Touda Didi (Morocco) – 2008-09

    • 2 – Rossana Pellizzari (Italy) – 1997-98

    • 2 – Moniqúe Frussote (France) – 1991-92

    • 2 – Marie-Ange Malcuit (France) – 1987-88

    • 1 – Anna Comet (Spain) – 2022

    • 1 – Aziza Raji (Morocco) – 2021

    • 1 – Ragna Debats (Netherlands) – 2019

    • 1 – Magdalena Boulet (USA) – 2018

    • 1 – Natalia Sedykh (Russia) – 2016

    • 1 – Nikki Kimball (USA) – 2014

    • 1 – Meghan Hicks (USA) – 2013

    • 1 – Mònica Aguilera Viladomiu (Spain) – 2010

    • 1 – Géraldine Courdesse (France) – 2006

    • 1 – Magali Juvenal (France) – 2003

    • 1 – Franca Fiacconi (Italy) – 2001

    • 1 – Pascal Martin (France) – 2000

    • 1 – Lisa Smith (USA) – 1999

    • 1 – Anke Molkenthin (Germany) – 1996

    • 1 – Béatrice Reymann (France) – 1995

    • 1 – Valentina Liakhova (Russia) – 1994

    • 1 – Irina Petrova (Russia) – 1993

    • 1 – Claire Garnier (France) – 1990

    • 1 – Claude Battistelli (France) 1989

    • 1 – Christiane Plumere (France) – 1986

Record Time: Béatrice Reymann (France) – 1995 (21:25:22)

*No race in 2020.

Rachid El Morabity on stage one of the the 2023 Marathon des Sables
Rachid El Morabity on stage one of the the 2023 Marathon des Sables [Photo credit: Marathon des Sables]

Past winners

2012
Claire Bannwarth
152:23:00

Tab 2 content.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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