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Morocco 1-2-3. Photo credit: Marathon des Sables.

Marathon Des Sables 2016 Stage 3

12-Apr-16

By Alice Morrison

Today marks the half way point in the race. First day nerves seem a long time ago and runners who have made it through are now looking to the long stage tomorrow.

37.5 km today, with the start over stony ground made for a fast stage. Of course there were some dunes and a jebel (hill) to contend with too. 

Moroccan dominance of the men’s race continued. Rachid El Morabity has been running impeccably and secured another stage victory. The Moroccans set off fast and maintained that pace pretty well throughout. Running in two pairs at the beginning, they made it hard for anyone else to keep with them. Manuel (Chema) Martínez from Spain and Erik Clavery were the only two that stayed the course. Clavery had a good race today and was pleased with the result. “It was much better today, I managed my race better” he said at the finish. Martínez is now lying at third place overall.

At the end of the stage it was a Morocco one two three: Rachid El Morabity (3.03), Aziz El Akad (3.04)and Abdelkader El Mouaziz (3.05).

The women’s race was dominated again by the super-strong Russian, Natalie Sedykh (3.49) who has been putting in stonking performances every day. She was followed in by Nathalie Mauclair (3.53) of France and then Fernanda Maciel (3.56) of Brazil.

Honourable mention must be made however of the young female Moroccan runner Aziza Raji who was lying in third place at the first check point. A great showing.

Thoughts now turn to the long stage tomorrow. It is the real crux of the race and tests the mettle of each and every competitor. The elites start later than the rest of the field and run through, giving every one a chance to cheer them on. Some runners will have very long days. Some will stop and sleep for a while in the respite tents, while others will just keep on going to the end. Whichever they choose to do, it will be a stage to remember.

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