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RUN247 / Running News / Trail Running News / Marathon des Sables 2024 stage five: Drama as Mohamed El Morabity limps over finish line

Marathon des Sables 2024 stage five: Drama as Mohamed El Morabity limps over finish line

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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There was a dramatic twist on the fifth and penultimate stage of the Marathon des Sables as Mohamed El Morabity‘s commanding overall lead all but evaporated to set up a thrilling finale on Saturday.

The Moroccan, who won for the first time last year, started the day nearly 53 minutes clear of his nearest rival – his brother Rachid, the nine-time winner.

But by the time he crossed the finish line on Friday’s 31.4km stage his advantage had – as the race’s official media put it – “melted like snow in the sun”.

And there was also a novelty in the women’s race as Aziza El Amrany didn’t win the stage, the first time that has happened this year.

However she was only eight seconds behind Aziza Raji and has nearly two hours to play with in the overall classification!

Read on to find out how the day unfolded in both the men’s and women’s races…

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Men’s race – Suddenly all to play for

It was to be a stage all about management for the El Morabity brothers: Mohamed had a huge lead so surely plenty of room for manoeuvre, while Rachid in second place started one minute and 36 seconds ahead of Aziz Yachou so just had to keep him in check in what was an all-Moroccan top three.

But around the 10th kilometre of the rolling stage, Mohamed slowed his pace and then at the 20-kilometre mark he really began to struggle.Β 

He then stopped at the third checkpoint, had his left thigh bandaged and finished the stage in slow motion. He limped across the finish line in 35th place, 52 minutes 23 seconds behind his brother who won for the second day running.

Rachid accelerated sharply in the middle of the stage, hitting the rolling sections at over 16 kph and crossed the finish line at an average speed of 14.3 km/h, 40 seconds ahead of Aziz.

In the general standings, the order of the three Moroccans remains the same, but the gaps are now extremely tight – Mohamed is 35 seconds ahead of Rachid, who has just over two minutes to spare on Aziz and it’s then two hours and more back to the rest.

The sixth and final stage is a half marathon and Friday’s developments have shown once again why this event is billed as the ‘world’s toughest foot race’.

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Women’s race – ‘Consolation’ win for Aziza Raja

Friday saw Aziza El Amrany join forces with Aziza Raji for the first time since the start of the race.

With her comfortable lead, there was no point in her running to the maximum of her abilities, even more so after her bout of heatstroke on Thursday.

And at the end of Friday’s fifth stage it was Aziza Raji who came out on top, a first for this 38th edition of the race.

She remains nearly two hours behind but as Mohamed El Morabity has shown, nothing is decided until the final stage banner has been crossed.

Gemma Game (GBR) looks booked for third, with Rajaa Hamdaoua (FRA) 19 minutes adrift in fourth.

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.Β Β 

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