Someone forgot to explain to Rachid El Morabity and his younger brother Mohamed that you’re supposed to survive the Marathon des Sables (MDS), not race it. For much of the week it was 30-year-old Mohamed, a four-time runner up at the MDS, and 29-year-old countryman Aziz Yachou who were in the overall lead of the MDS, seemingly ready to signal that it was time for a changing of the guard – eight-time champion Rachid, now 40, might have taken the first stage of the race, but after the second stage found himself trailing his brother and Yachou.
The MDS is a five-stage race, though (OK, technically six stages, but the sixth is a “charity stage” that doesn’t count towards the overall standings) and the race is truly decided after the long fourth stage, which this year featured an 86 km suffer-fest across the desert. Rachid took that stage as Yachou struggled to keep up with the El Morabity brothers, but Mohammed was still 37 seconds behind his younger brother heading into today’s fifth stage, a true marathon distance of 42.2 km.
Today it was Mohamed’s turn to struggle to keep up, as Rachid took the day in 3:07:25, 21 seconds ahead of Yachou and 1:43 up on Mohamed. To give you an idea of just how dominant the three Moroccans have been all week, France’s Julien Chorier took fourth in 3:30:33, while American Jordan Tropf was fifth in 3:30:56.
Men’s Stage 5 results:
|1)||1||Rachid EL MORABITY||MAROC TGCC TEAM MEN||V1 H||1||03:07:25||00:00:00||MAR (Morocco)|
|2)||15||Aziz YACHOU||SE H||1||03:07:46||00:00:21||MAR (Morocco)|
|3)||2||Mohamed EL MORABITY||MAROC TGCC TEAM MEN||SE H||2||03:09:08||00:01:43||MAR (Morocco)|
|4)||126||Julien CHORIER||TEAM FENNEC FOXES||V1 H||2||03:30:33||00:23:08||FRA (France)|
|5)||819||Jordan TROPF||SE H||3||03:30:56||00:23:31||USA (Etats-Unis)|
Men’s overall results:
|1)||1||Rachid EL MORABITY||V1 H||MA||18:33:28|
|2)||2||Mohamed EL MORABITY||SE H||MA||18:34:34|
|3)||15||Aziz YACHOU||SE H||MA||18:37:46|
|4)||59||Merile ROBERT||V2 H||FR||21:12:33|
|5)||819||Jordan TROPF||SE H||US||21:19:37|
Comet takes all five stages
There was no touching Spain’s Anna Comet, who made her MDS debut a memorable one by winning every stage of the race, finishing today in 4:09:48. For the first time all week, France’s Sylvaine Cussot wasn’t second – she would end up seventh – as Great Britain’s Bethany Rainbow appeared near the front for the first time all week, taking second in the stage in 4:14:18. Morocco’s Aziza El Amrany took third in 4:16:13, ahead of the defending women’s champion, her countrywoman Aziza Raji. Rounding out the top five was Great Britain’s Amelia Culshaw.
Women’s Stage 5 results:
|1)||906||Anna COMET PASCUA||LAST MINUTE TEAM||SE F||1||04:09:48||00:00:00||ESP (Espagne)|
|SE F||2||04:14:18||00:04:30||GBR (Royaume-Uni)|
Aziza EL AMRANY
|MAROC TGCC TEAM WOMEN||SE F||3||04:16:13||00:06:25||MAR (Morocco)|
|4)||5||Aziza RAJI||MAROC TGCC TEAM WOMEN||SE F||4||04:27:46||00:17:58||MAR (Morocco)|
|V1 F||1||04:28:28||00:18:40||GBR (Royaume-Uni)|
Women’s overall results:
|1||906||Anna COMET PASCUA||SE F||ES||24:18:33|
|2||129||Sylvaine CUSSOT||V1 F||FR||25:32:34|
|3||6||Aziza EL AMRANY||SE F||MA||26:31:52|
|4||5||Aziza RAJI||SE F||MA||27:29:35|
|5||900||Manuela VILASECA||V1 F||ES||29:38:27|
David Lim, a Canadian who lives in Jersey, was the top Canadian finisher of the MDS – the 34-year-old was 51st overall and 23rd in his age group. Montreal’s Marie Eve Garneau, 44, was the top Canadian woman – she was 39th overall in the women’s category and 18th in her age group.
|4||411||Yvan L HEUREUX||40:20:08|
|5||777||Marie Eve GARNEAU||41:43:20|