One killed and almost half had to break the “toughest race in the world” – NRK Sport – Sports news, results and broadcast schedule

This week kicked off more than 672 men and women in the first of six tough stages in the Sahara desert in Morocco. Only 353 completed.

Participants will cover a full 250 kilometers – about six regular full marathons – in the sand and with temperatures over 40 degrees. There’s a reason the Marathon des Sables is often referred to as the world’s toughest race on foot.

– This is a race for those who are very interested, and is known as one of the toughest stage races. Not because of the length, but the condition. Everyone who has run 250 meters on the beach understands that 250 kilometers in the desert is not easy, says NRK athletics commentator Jann Post.

FIGHTING: High speed for the best participant in desert race. Here’s the fifth of the six stages.


You’ll need to carry all the food, clothing, and other supplies you’ll need for the week, and the backpack must weigh at least six pounds.

– There are many races in the tempting world, but these are very few tempting. It acts as a sticky torment, and requires extreme mental qualities to be able to endure it. I think you’ll feel pretty alone out there when the sun shines, you don’t see the humans either in front of you or behind you, and there’s four more days, the Post thought.

This year it is said that the race is tighter than ever, and it shows in the statistics. Already in the second stage, the worst of which happened, a French man in his early 50s had a heart attack and died. It was the race’s third death since its start in 1986.

Marathon des Sables

LENGTH: Stage 4 is the longest, covering a full 82.5 kilometers. The fastest time was 08.46.16, but some participants spent more than 30 hours to cover the distance.


Marathon des Sables

A LITTLE FRIENDLY: Temperatures will be high in the Sahara also in October. The race is normally held in April, but the coroner’s restrictions were postponed.


Higher number

Nearly 50 percent failed the race, which is more than ever, the organizers wrote, pointing to several reasons. Higher than usual temperature, high humidity and no wind. In addition, there are also those who experience gastric disorders, both participants and volunteers.

353 men finished, and the men’s class was won by Rachid El Morabity of Morocco, who had won the race seven times previously. That record time of 250 kilometers is an impressive 21 hours 17 minutes and 32 seconds. Brother Mohamed ran into second place 15 minutes later. Aziza Raji, also a local from Morocco, is the best woman in 30.5 hours.

Marathon des Sables

DOUBLES: Brothers Rachid (right) and Mohamed El-Morabity from Morocco occupy the first two places.


Two Norwegians made the list earlier this year, and several have participated before.

– They say it’s the heaviest in the world, but it’s not. It’s a good stage race, in a good area and well organised. It’s sad that a man died this year, but it can also happen in a half-marathon. If you have done your homework and prepared well, it is a great experience to run. “Absolutely incredible, and something I will remember for the rest of my life,” said ultra runner Sondre Amdahl.

He impressed with 9th place when he participated in 2016.

– My level at that time, was a running competition at a speed you thought was impossible. It’s exciting to see the best, and it’s no coincidence that it’s the people of the area who do so well. Running at a shiny six-speed on soft sand is really raw, says Amdahl.

Marathon des Sables

ACCOMMODATION: A simple tent is set up for the athletes between the stages.


Crying at the finish line

He points out some of the things that make racing special. Both the generous deadlines, which mean that you can leave quickly and completely, the sleeping conditions are pathetic, and that you have to carry everything in a backpack. There, Amdahl has 1.5 kilograms with the obligatory, such as food and a sleeping bag, while the rest is food. The organizer requires participants to bring 2000 calories per day.

– You’re mostly hungry all the time. This is not “fat cure”, he points out.

Marathon des Sables

TENTS ILLNESS: A number of athletes received treatment after the longest 4th stage.


This ultra-experienced runner remembers well the feelings he felt during the ride and when he reached the finish line.

– After the first stage, I wasn’t really sure if I would be at the starting line the next day, or if I could finish it. But it is very interesting how the body reacts after getting food and time in the ear. I cried several times at the finish line. it was hard, thank you, but I was tougher, explained Amdahl.

Britney Kirk

"Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student."

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