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Marathon des Sables 2024 stage three: Mohamed El Morabity makes decisive move

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Mohamed El Morabity took a giant step towards defending his men’s title when he powered to an emphatic win on the longest – and often race-defining – stage of the Marathon des Sables.

And in the women’s race Aziza El Amrany extended her already-significant advantage over fellow Moroccan and namesake Aziza Raji, the 2021 winner.

After the opening two stages Mohamed held a slender 26 seconds lead over his brother Rachid, who is seeking a record-equalling 10th win.

That pair and Aziz Yachou had largely marked each other in a relatively neutral first two days, with the Moroccan trio even finishing hand-in-hand on Monday.

But all had warned that things would change on Tuesday’s 85.3km third stage and so it proved.

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Men’s race – Mohamed in a league of his own

The third stage not only covered the equivalent of more than two marathons, but also over 1,000 metres of climbing.

And it looks like being a pivotal one for Mohamed El Morabity as he seeks to defend his title.

Rachid took the lead early on, followed by Mohamed and Aziz. After the first hurdles – a string of dunes, the climb up the rocky face of Jebel El Oftal and the descent down the sandy face – the trio arrived at the first checkpoint neck and neck.

It was on the great plain after the first checkpoint that Mohamed began to make his effort. Up to km 25, the difference in pace remained very moderate, but from then on, Mohamed accelerated by 2 or even 3 km/h depending on the technical nature of the sections.

Extremely concentrated, at over 14 km/h on the rolling sections, Mohamed stretched his advantage to a massive 10 km in the final stretch. He reached the finish line shortly after 3pm local time in a time of seven hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds, an incredible average speed of 11.2 km/h.

For their part, Rachid and Aziz couldn’t decide between themselves. One after the other, the two men took the lead in the pursuit, ending up together 200 meters from the finish line. Rachid then launched the sprint, but Aziz’s speed enabled him to win the battle for second in 8:31:52.

However both are now nearly an hour behind Mohamed in the overall standings.

Mohamed El Morabity Marathon des Sables stage three win 2024
Mohamed El Morabity [Photo credit: Marathon des Sables]

Last year Mohamed’s victory had been closely fought and came after his brother’s controversial exit but he’s now put himself in a perfect position.

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Women’s race – El Amrany almost doubles her lead

Aziza El Amrany, as she has been all race, was a class apart in the women’s race.

She finished in 10:46:10, over 38 minutes in front of Aziza Raji which means her overall lead is now approaching an hour and a half.

The 1-2-3 matched the first two stages as Adriana Moser (NED) rounded out the podium.

Please note that two days are set aside for the third stage so the elites now get a well-deserved rest day before battle resumes on Thursday.

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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