For the 2023 Marathon des Sables, victory goes to Mohamed El Morabity of Morocco and Maryline Nakache of France.
Going down within the Sahara Desert in Morocco, the 2023 version of the 250-kilometer (150 miles), seven-day, five-stage race kicked off on Sunday, April 23, with the ultimate aggressive stage closing on Friday, April 28.
Annually, greater than 1,000 runners compete within the occasion’s 5 aggressive levels, sleep at night time in campsites, and function with meals and equipment self-sufficiency. The race group offers a shade tent within the camp, loads of water, and medical and emergency help, when wanted.
Given it takes place within the Sahara Desert, the occasion is understood for its warmth, in addition to its sandy and rocky terrain. Official climate sources pointed to temperatures tipping over the 100 levels Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) mark throughout a number of days of this 12 months’s occasion, and thermometers on the bottom pitched up above 115 levels Fahrenheit (46 Celsius).
There have been huge upsets within the latter levels of each the lads’s and ladies’s races, with nine-time champion Rachid El Morabity of Morocco withdrawing after receiving a penalty for an infringement following the fourth stage, whereas in second place within the general classification.
On the ladies’s aspect, 2019 champion, race chief for the primary three levels, and Dutch runner and agency favourite Ragna Debats struggled with digestive points through the lengthy Stage 4, and fell again out of competition for the win.
Though Mohamed El Morabity’s victory is likely to be considerably tainted by the controversy surrounding his older brother’s withdrawal, Mohamed ran a stormer of a race, had already completed first in three of the 4 levels, and was within the lead general on the time of the incident. Whereas he’s completed in second place a exceptional 5 occasions at this occasion – every time behind his brother — that is his first victory of the Marathon des Sables.
Ladies’s champion Maryline Nakache had additionally run a gradual and constant race from the beginning, ending second in every of the primary 4 levels earlier than in the end shifting into the general ladies’s lead throughout Stage 4. This was her debut Marathon des Sables.
2023 Marathon des Sables Males’s Race
It was a speedy begin to the week, with the primary stage being about 36 kilometers lengthy, that includes a climb to the summit of this occasion’s notorious Jebel El Otfal. Stormy and windy situations within the afternoon made issues troublesome for the latter runners, however the entrance finish of the race was largely unaffected by the storm.
Stage 1 went alongside predicted traces, with Rachid El Morabity taking the lead and ending the stage in a time of two:46. His youthful brother, Mohamed El Morabity, and fellow Moroccan, Aziz Yachou, adopted only a minute again in 2:47. The 2022 UTMB second-place man, Mathieu Blanchard, of France, was the primary abroad runner to complete the stage, in fourth place in a time of two:51.
Stage 2 was a bit shorter at just below 32k, nevertheless it moved into extra technical terrain with elevated elevation change. Rachid once more took off in entrance, however within the latter a part of the stage and on a clean run into the end, he was overtaken by his brother Mohamed, who gained the stage in a time of two:29, lower than a minute forward of Rachid in second and Yachou in third. Rachid nonetheless held the general lead by a slender margin on the finish of the stage, adopted by Mohamed and Yachou. Blanchard, who had completed fifth within the second stage behind Russia’s Vasilii Korytkin, held on to fourth place general.
Within the third stage of round 34k, Mohamed asserted his dominance, profitable the stage in 2:30 to Rachid and Yachou’s 2:33, and increasing his general result in three minutes. Blanchard continued to carry his personal in fourth place.
The boys’s podium race for Stage 4 was so tight, particularly provided that it was the one lengthy stage within the week in racing, this 12 months clocked at 90k. Mohamed once more crossed the road first, in 8:14:39. Yachou completed the stage in second place, simply six seconds behind the lead, and Rachid arrived in third, solely 19 seconds behind the winner. This tight race saved Mohamed within the lead within the general classification, Rachid in second, and Yachou in third, however with an expansion of just a few minutes.
Controversy ensued following this fourth stage, when Rachid was issued a three-hour time penalty for receiving outdoors help and withdrew from the race, which we’ve got extra on in a separate information piece. After Rachid withdrew from the race, Yachou moved as much as second place within the general classification. Blanchard, who was steadily working his personal race behind the leaders, now discovered himself in podium place.
On the marathon-distance Stage 5, the final aggressive stage, Mohamed continued his present of power to complete in 3:18, 5 minutes away from Yachou in second. In a complete time of 19:19:54 for the 5 aggressive levels, Mohamed El Morabity was topped the 2023 Marathon des Sables males’s champion.
A battle ensued behind, with Vasilii Korytkin finally beating Blanchard to the road, to take third place in Stage 5. Nonetheless, Blanchard held on to 3rd place general in a time of 21:21:27.
2023 Marathon des Sables Males’s Outcomes
- Mohamed El Morabity (Morocco) — 19:19:54
- Aziz Yachou (Morocco) — 19:29:09
- Mathieu Blanchard (France) — 21:21:27
- Vasilii Korytkin (Russia) — 22:36:26
- Il Yass Zouhry (France) — 23:08:06
2023 Marathon des Sables Ladies’s Race
The quick first stage was dominated as anticipated by 2019 winner Ragna Debats, who completed in 3:26, nearly 10 minutes away from Maryline Nakache in second. The highest native was Aziza El Amrany of Morocco, who adopted in third in 3:53. Whereas this was Nakache’s first look at this race, El Amrany was returning following a 3rd place on the 2022 version.
The extra mountainous terrain on Stage 2 performed to Debats’s strengths, and he or she romped house in 3:19 to Nakache’s 3:36, thus extending her general result in round 28 minutes. El Amrany continued to run regular in third place.
Into the third stage, Debats completed 11 minutes forward of Nakache, for the stage win. However Debats’s end time and place doesn’t reveal the complete story, that she lagged for a interval throughout Stage 3, was handed and misplaced the lead, earlier than regaining it to win the stage. As we might quickly see, this was a harbinger of issues to return for Debats. El Armany once more completed the stage in third, however this time solely a minute again from Nakache and showing very comfy.
As all of us now know, all the pieces modified within the fourth day — the infamous lengthy stage, which was 90k for 2023. Debats led at first, however then fell again a number of hours after the beginning, reportedly struggling digestive points. Admirably, though not in competition for a podium spot, she powered on to complete the stage in 21:34, 9 hours and 49 minutes again of the lead. El Amrany, who seemed to be getting stronger because the week went on, gained the stage in 11:44. Nakache once more took second, this time trailing a special chief, and moved into pole place within the race general, nonetheless nearly 33 minutes forward of El Armany within the general classification.
For Stage 5, the race’s ultimate aggressive stage, Nakache sailed easily to the stage victory, ending the day’s marathon distance in 4:18. This sealed Maryline Nakache’s victory on the 2023 Marathon des Sables with a complete time of 27:02:17.
On this ultimate day, Tomomi Bitoh, of Japan, was throughout the road in second in 4:33, and El Amrany crossed just some minutes later in 4:36 in third place. El Amrany had a big lead in second place, over Bitoh in third within the general classification, so a quick end was not wanted. Following up on her third place final 12 months, Aziza El Amrany improves to take second within the 2023 Marathon des Sables ladies’s race in 27:53:37, and Tomomi Bitoh took third in 29:39:51.
Early chief Debats completed in eighth place within the general classification for the ladies.
2023 Marathon des Sables Ladies’s Race
- Maryline Nakache (France) — 27:02:17
- Aziza El Amrany (Morocco) — 27:53:37
- Tomomi Bitoh (Japan) — 29:39:51
- Corina Sommer (Switzerland) — 31:35:13
- Elise Delannoy (France) — 33:32:01