Sidi's MDS Challenge 2014
After the death of my father, I started running. It has become a way for me to spend time in my day talking to him. Telling him about what is going on in my life and how much I miss him.
The actual act of running is hard and not that pleasurable but he gives me strength to push my limits and cross that finish line
I wanted to do something in his memory, so I decided to set myself a big challenge: to run the Marathon des Sables, the toughest footrace in the world. 250km, self-sufficient, over 6 days in the South Moroccan Sahara.
And so here it is our first sporting challenge: I am taking part in the 29th Edition of the Marathon des Sables which will take place from the 4th to the 14th April 2014!
And for that I need your help and support, I am counting on you and your generous donations and wish me luck!
In memory of my father Abdelkader Rahhaoui.
And in his name help to raise funds & awareness about Prostate Cancer in Morocco in collaboration with the AMU (Moroccan Urology Association).
Back to my roots
Being a French Moroccan originally from Ouarzazate, this race will allow me to honour and rediscover my native region that I know so well: a real homecoming.
To prove to myself that I can exceed my limits.
And after all why not?!....
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About the Marathon des Sables
A mythical race
The Marathon des Sables (aka MDS) is entering into its 29th edition with more than 14,000 participants (men, women, between 16 and 80 years old and from around the planet) since its creation in 1986. The MDS is renowned as the toughest footrace on earth. It is a race through the Sahara desert in the south of Morocco, each participant is self-sufficient and runs the equivalent of five and a half marathons in five stages, a total distance of some 251 km plus a sixth Charity stage.
The route takes all sorts of terrain: dunes, rocky plateaus, slopes, wadis, dry, palm groves, small mountains on six stages from 20 to 80 km, a stage of 42 km and a non-stop stage about 80 km through the night.
The encounters with others and oneself coupled with the fascinating beauty of the landscape of the Saharan desert are what makes this race unique.
The Marathon des Sables is a tactical race that lasts over one week, each participant must manage their stress, and carry their food, equipment and water needs for the whole week (water is the only thing supplied by the organisation on a daily basis). This is a difficult sport event that takes place at a temperature that can approach 50 degrees
« to manage one's race is to win ones race».
Operation keep the desert clean
If you love nature, the least you can do is respect it. For almost 28 years, the MARATHON DES SABLES has been totally committed to this principle. As well as informing participants that they will get a penalty if they throw bottles or packaging on the route, ATLANTIDE ORGANISATION Internationale also looks for different ways to preserve the environment.
Ever since the third MDS, all water bottles have been numbered, so that anyone who abandons a bottle on the route, going from the start line, through the checkpoints to the finish line, incurs a penalty.
In its concern to precisely measure the greenhouse gas emissions produced by organizing the MARATHON DES SABLES, four years ago AOI generated its carbon footprint. The aim is to reduce these emissions using alternative energies, like solar, and compensate for them, for example by planting trees.
ILAND: Let’s save natural resources!
ILAND products are turnkey solutions for producing electricity using the sun. The SULTAN MARATHON DES SABLES caravan consumes electricity for lighting, charging laptop computers for the organization and journalists, managing checkpoints on the route, charging mobile phones, etc. In a sun-soaked country like Morocco, and for an event of this kind that promotes ecological and human values, it made sense to move away from non-renewable energy and use the sun. The aim is two-fold: firstly, MDS makes a minimum negative impact on the environment, and secondly, it shows that this type of race can be exemplary in the short term and educate future generations in the long term.
Reduce the volume of waste for runners and organizers
We ask, runners and organizers alike, to compress mineral water bottles to reduce the volume they take up in the bins. This socially responsible, ecological gesture is very simple, yet it can divide by three the number of bin bags that need to be picked up.
“The Earth doesn’t belong to us, it’s the heritage we leave our children.”
The MDS organisation team encourages running for a cause and has always worked on setting up projects in partnership with other associations:
- eight solar pumps have been installed,
- distribution of school materials in isolated villages,
- development of a school in Taright, with a toilet block and solar heated showers,
- construction of an artisanal complex for women in Jdaid, with a workshop, school, kindergarten, meeting room, kitchen, toilet block and dispensary.
MDS has recently created the association SOLIDARITE MARATHON DES SABLES...
Its welcome structure in Ouarzazate was officially inaugurated after the finish of the 25th SULTAN MDS, in the presence of Mr Abdeslem Bikrate,
Governor of the Province and Mr M’Jid, President of the M.J.I.D. Foundation (Moroccan Foundation for Young People, Initiative and Development), official sponsor of the project, as well as several partners and financial supporters.
The centre aims to promote the teaching of fundamental and universal values through sport from the youngest age, raise awareness of hygiene and safety among mothers and provide literacy classes.
SPORT EVEIL ACADEMIE: (SPORTS INITIATION ACADEMY)
- 180 children : from 3 - 5 years EVEIL CORPOREL (BODY AWARENESS) and from 6 - 11 years INITIATION ATHLETISME (ATHLETICS INITIATION) ,
- 900 hours’ sports teaching, an original programme for each age group,
- thousands of snacks (fresh fruit, cake, dairy product) served after shower time,
- 3 summer coach trips into the Dadès Valley, with 50 chidren per trip.
FEMMISSIMA, welcome centre for women
Support classes: child education, hygiene and health:
- 60 women members,
- 400 hours of literacy lessons,
- 95% regular attendance,
- Basic maths skills (addition, subtraction, etc.),
- Preparation of micro projects.