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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Mathieu Blanchard finishes third at Marathon Des Sables

It was a 12 months of upsets on the thirty seventh operating of the world’s hardest self-sufficient desert extremely, Marathon Des Sables (MDS) in Morocco. Mohamed El Morabity of Morocco gained the 250 km stage race after his brother, nine-time MDS champion Rachid, withdrew after the fourth stage, which introduced a chance for Montreal’s Mathieu Blanchard to land on the rostrum. 

Mathieu Blanchard trailing Morocco’s Rachid El Morabity (left) at MDS 2023. Photograph: Jonathon Bromley (@jonbromleyphotography)

Blanchard was in fourth place after the primary of 5 levels, however discovered himself between fourth and fifth place getting into the fourth stage. The drama started to unfold on stage 4 when temperatures hit 40 C. Rachid was main the race when he was given a three-hour penalty for exterior help.

The three-hour penalty moved Rachid again to fourth, heading into the fifth and remaining marathon stage. He ended up withdrawing from the race, and Morocco’s Aziz Yachou moved as much as second place within the total classification. Blanchard, who ran his personal race behind the leaders, moved up right into a podium place.

Mohamed closed issues out on the ultimate stage to win his first MDS title in 19:19:54, ending his brother’s reign of eight straight wins. Yachou completed second, 10 minutes behind Mohamed in 19:29:09, and Blanchard, 35, who was fifth on the MDS in 2021, upgraded to a third-place lead to 2023, (21:21:27).

“I’m so unhappy for my brother,” Mohamed stated to Africa Information after his win. “He ought to have gained, however that’s how it’s–subsequent 12 months.”

Mathieu Blanchard in a pack of runners at MDS 2023. Photograph: Jonathon Bromley (@jonbromleyphotography)

Blanchard’s end continues his run of wonderful performances after back-to-back podium finishes at UTMB. The 35-year-old ultra-trail specialist plans to make his Western States debut in June.

Within the girls’s race, 2019 MDS champion Ragna Debats of the Netherlands broke down on the lengthy 90 km fourth stage. Debats was main, however fell again just a few hours after struggling digestive points 20 kilometres in. She continued the race, however France’s Maryline Nakache took benefit of the chance and surged forward on stage 4. This was Nakache’s first MDS title.

Morocco’s Aziza El Amrany was the highest Moroccan athlete, ending second in 27:53:37. Japan’s Tomomi Bitoh was third (29:29:51).

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