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Marathon des Sables, Stages & Race Reports

April 8 – Race Day 5– 42.2km


Rich Merzoug to Takkourt N'Takouit

..........the Marathon Day

This stage recalled from a post stage email home, it tells it like it was:

Some steep climbs early in the stage spread the field to single file.

I was getting hit with rotor wash from the helo swooping in, thatguy really is a cowboy!

I started with a taped right knee but was losing power through vastus lat, so took the strapping off at CP 1.

I managed my food and water well - but by CP 3 my kneee couldn't produce more than a walk. I expect that I've slipped from 125th in the general classification.


51deg C as we crossed the very open 2km to the finish.

I'll be crossing the line tomorrow with a smile and a tear, the desert has handed me my arse on a platter twice now...very humbling experience.


Prime mission is still a go, to complete this devious event - the tricks it plays on the mind are only surpassed by those the environment delivers to the body!


I'll crawl back to my tent now- could so go a cold beer or 6!

Will send more from Ozz tomorrow, post race! Thanks for the emails you've sent Bron, they really helped keep me on the run course and my hands away from my flare ;-) 

From the competitor's roadbook:


08/04/2011 - STAGE N°5:


  • Km 0 : Go W/NW (course 284°) until Km 8.9.

  • Km 2,2 : Ruins of old mines.

  • Km 5 : Sandy pass on small hill.

  • Km 8,1 : Small hill. Cross a valley.

  • Km 8,9 : Small hill, then abrupt rise.

  • Km 9,3 : Follow crest line to avoid faults located on the slope of Bou Lalhirh djebel.

  • Km 11,1 : Go back down into the valley.

  • Km 11,4 : Valley.

  • Km 12,3 : CP1. Follow markings to go up and down the djebel.

  • Km 12,9 : Djebel summit. Technical descent for 200 m.Until CP2: go W/NW (general course 285°). Variable stony plateau.

  • Km 15,6 : End of plateau. Sandy oued bed, follow small dunes to the right.

  • Km 18 : Palm trees to the left in the oued. Same direction. Sand and stones.

  • Km 20,5 : At the end of stony passage, follow oued branch to go round crops and keep the hills to the left.

  • Km 22,3 : CP2 close to palm trees on left bank of oued. Follow sandy oued bed W/NW (general course 297°).

  • Km 23,1 : Ruins of Aït Kherdi to the right.

  • Km 23,9 : Go past palm grove and Ahandar ruins taking right bank of oued.

  • Km 26,2 : Hill peak to the left. Sandy. Go W/NW (course 294°) until Km 28.6.

  • Km 27,7 : Cross a track, (concrete bridge to the right), stay in oued.

  • Km 28,1 : Village of Aït Haddou to the left.

  • Km 28,6 : Palm grove and small dunes. Follow markings carefully.

  • Km 29,6 : After ruins on the left, palm grove ends at a well. Cross Khing oued.

  • Km 30,6 : Enter Khing palm grove. CAUTION! Imperatively follow markings to avoid crops.

  • Km 30,9 : CP3 in palm grove. Imperatively follow markings and run along sand defence barriers on the left. General direction West (course 259°) until Km 39.8.

  • Km 32,6 : Two rocky peaks to the left. Slightly stony terrain.

  • Km 34 : Sandy peak to the left. Slightly stony.

  • Km 38 : Cross oued with vegetation for 700 m.

  • Km 39,8 : Hill peak to the left. Go W/SW (course 239°). Slightly stony. Km 42,2 : B6 finish line.


Tim's time: 5:43:38
Leader's time: 3:10:45

Overall Tim's time: 34:17:33
Overall Leader's time: 19:36:18

Tim's position: 134th/821 finishers (38 DNFs)
3rd Australian out of 16 (4 DNFs)

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