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“Desert Hell” hits the Marathon des Sables for stage 2

A mountain to climb and a sandstorm make for a tough second day of racing at the Marathon Des Sables

Photo by: Franck Oddoux/CIMBALY/MDS 2022

After a near-perfect day to start the first stage of the Marathon des Sables (MDS), Monday’s second stage turned into “desert hell” according to organizers. Lots of heat, coupled with high wind gusts that blew sand during the race and afterwards in the bivouac. (The media team struggled to get a report out last night as the sand was blowing so hard it was impossible to keep a computer open for longer than a few minutes.) As if all that wasn’t enough, today’s second stage included a climb up and down a “djebel,” or mountain.

The women’s leader Anna Comet of Spain descending the desert mountain on stage two of MDS. Photo: Franck Oddoux/CIMBALY/MDS-2022

The challenging conditions also set the stage for an interesting development in the men’s race as Morocco’s Mohamed El Morabity, who has finished second to his older brother and eight-time MDS champion Rachid, took the 38.5 km stage in impressive style in a time of 3:07:40. Fellow Moroccan Aziz Yachou, who was second to Rachid on the first stage, took second again in a time of 3:08:52. Rachid tried to limit his losses but still ended up well back in third in a time of 3:16:22. That means Yachou now leads the overall standings in the race (5:13:29), with Mohammed in second (5:17:56) and Rachid sitting in third (5:20:38).

Day 2 in the desert at MDS. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

In the women’s race, Spain’s Anna Comet increased her lead with another win in the women’s category. Competing in her first MDS, Comet didn’t hold back in the second stage as she had in the first, moving to the front from the start and eventually finishing 14th overall in a time of 4:06:17. Behind her, France’s Sylvaine Cussot took second in 4:18:46, with Aziza Elamrany rounding out the top three in 4:39:38.

Anna Comet is leading the MDS after two stages. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Comet (6:58:37) now leads France’s Cussot (7:15:11) by almost 17 minutes, with Morocco’s Aziza Raji in third (7:45:03) after a fourth-place finish in the stage.

You can find results from the 2022 MDS here.

Read our recap from Stage 1 here.