Press Release – Stage 1

Press release from the official Marathon des Sables website:

Weather conditions at 8.00am: 20,8 °C, 31% hygrometry
Weather conditions at 12.00am: 36,8 °C, 18% hygrometry

1st Stage Men Ranking and General Ranking:
1. Mohamad Ahansal (1) 2h31m
2. Samir Akhdar (2) 2h47m
3. Salameh Al Aqra (71) 2h47m
4. Mustapha Ait Amar (4) 2h47m
5. Jorge Aubeso (622) 2h48

1st Stage Women Ranking and General Ranking
1. Touda Didi (6) 3h36m

801 competitors, amongst which 94 women, set off this morning for an unusually long and difficult opening stage. With hardly more than a kilometre to warm up, our enthusiastic bunch of runners were confronted with the Merzouga dunes. Those 13 kilometres allowed a clear lead to emerge. Unsurprisingly, at CP1, the favourites Ahansal, Aqra and Ait Amar were on each other’s heels. Starting on the long rocky plateau that leads to the second set of dunes, Mohamad Ahansal moved to top speed and left everyone on the spot. In black and yellow settings (rocks and sand), the race got slightly crazy, exploding with young Ahansal’s incredible pace. He reached the finish line way ahead of anybody else, more than fifteen minutes before his direct competitors, slightly shock shelled from Ahansal’s performance: “I’ve been alone from kilometre 7; of course I miss my brother, we had the same pace, but I’m happy with my day”.Jorge Aubeso (Spain) also did a fine race. He himself was pleasantly surprised: “I don’t think I’m 1st place material, but my knee’s getting better by the day and I can be a patient man…”A less pleasant surprise for Jordan Salameh El Aqra’ who found the course harder than expected and also had to deal with tummy trouble.Today the Marathon des Sables was particularly worthy of its name: sand was on the menu, starter, main and pudding. And it’s only the beginning…

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