The Marathon of the Sands
Atlantide Organisation International
BP 20098 - 10002 TROYES Cedex - FRANCE
Tel: + 33 3 25 76 57 77 Fax : + 33 3 25 76 87 75
The Marathon des Sables - Marathon of the Sands must be one the most well know global ultra runs, and it is now in its 31st year.
The event takes place in April each year and tracks a course of about 250km over 6 days of running. It has grown from 23 competitors in 1986 to over 1000 each year, and the support teams and organisation has grown to match this as well.
Participating in such an iconic event means that places are sought after and can be hard to come by. There are charity places available, but to even consider entering, you will need to plan and train for such an extreme environment. The registration opens over a year in advance - 2018 is open now but looks to be full, and at a cost of about £3000 just for the race, you may also need to do some saving as well as you'll need to cover flights, kit, more kit, etc...
The good news with the race being so well known is that in addition to comprehensive website information and the event rules, there is a wealth of documentaries, videos and articles available to add to the research and background.
Training will need to factor in managing heat, testing and using equipment for the unique environment, (eg keeping the sand out), as well as getting the miles in to be able to cover the distance alone.
You have to carry a backpack with you, so training with the backback and managing it's weight (6.5-15kg allowed) will become an important part of the training and planning as well. You have to carry your weeks food with you plus mandatory items (e.g. anti-venom kit!!) so you'll need to pay attention to detail as you have a minimum calorie count you must meet (and carry) per day.
Cost: Approx £3000 for race entry solo (2016 price)
Event Level: Advanced