Happiness and feeling of accomplishment burst out at the finish line of the 'Solidarité Marathon Des Sables' stage that concludes this incredible week of desert crossing. Blisters, sore muscles, tiredness and hunger disappear in a flash.
STAGE OF THE DAY: STAGE 6 – CHARITY STAGE
Distance: 7.7 km
Start time: 8:30 AM
Max. Time: No time limit
Description: A very simple stage, consisting of a straight course crossing the impressive Merzouga dunes
934 competitors on the start line
The 6th stage, called 'Solidarité MDS', is compulsory but has no impact on the overall classification. It crosses the astonishing Merzouga dunes. Competitors – all wearing the blue T-shirts given by the organisation this morning – crossed a plain before stepping into these dunes. The highest of these incredible natural pyramids carved by the wind peak at 150 metres above the plain. The soft sand was holding back their steps...as if to show that the desert had accepted its visitors and wanted to make them stay longer.
But these final kilometres of the 33rd Marathon Des Sables were the very last that the 934 competitors who completed the event (i.e. 95.6% of Finishers) had to cover in the desert...for today. So, without any timing pressure, everyone enjoyed this final immersion in the desert, alongside those companions who were mere strangers eight days ago and have now become friends.
Friendship, solidarity: these values have always been at the heart of the event...since the very beginning. More than ever, mutual assistance is guiding the steps of both MDS competitors and organisation staff. Tomorrow, a guided visit will be organised at the solidarity centre supported by the organisation thanks to the donations of competitors, partners and sponsors touched by the spirit that emanates from the MDS. Here, at the heart of the desert, the Marathon Des Sables is exerting a positive influence on the destiny of dozens of women and children, year after year. Not to mention the destiny of competitors themselves, who sometimes make radical changes in their life after this very special break from their daily routine.
• 6 April: Competitors arrive in Morocco
• 7 April: Inspections day
• 8, 9 and 10 April: First, second and third stages
• 11 and 12 April: Long stage (4th stage)
• 13 April: Marathon stage, last competitive stage
• 14 April: 'SOLIDARITÉ MARATHON DES SABLES' stage
• 15 April: Free day
• 16 April: Competitors return to their home countries