Whisky Magazine Issue 128
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The challenge of the Marathon Des Sables (World's Toughest Race)
Known simply as the MdS, this race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world's most inhospitable climates – the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, to carry with you on your back everything except water that you need to survive. You are given a place in a tent to sleep at night, but any other equipment and food must be carried.
Started in 1986 by Patrick Bauer, places are much sought after, but those who do make it to the start line are richly rewarded. Under the scorching Moroccan sun, life-long friendships are fostered through a shared experience of unforgettable days spent running across saltpans, up desert-mountains, through ruined towns and through the occasional sand storm.
This year there were 1,350 competitors from all over the world and most people were taking on the event solo but others in teams. Sir Ranulph Fiennes was competing this year hoping to be the oldest Britain to complete this race so this does put in perspective how tough this race is. There was a good percentage of competitors raising money for charities including James who was raising money for Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital and a total of £3,500 was raised.
Not only is it a 6 stage event but the event is completely self-sufficient meaning you have to carry everything you need for eating, sleeping, running and protecting yourself from the sun, so the idea is to get your pack as light as possible. Competitors really take this...