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Kingston runner 477th in Sahara ultramarathon

April 9, 2013

Kingston’s Martin Mack climbed 35 places Monday in the second stage of the 28th annual Marathon des Sables, a six-day ultramarathon across the Moroccan Saraha Desert.

Though he described the day as “insanely hard,” Mack covered 30.7-kilometre stage from Oued Tijekht to Jebel el Otfal better than most, finishing 477th in the field of 1,198.

The second leg of the race contained three mountain climbs, each more difficult than the one before.

“The last mountain was a 25 per cent incline and required a lot of hands and knees,” Mack wrote in an email to family and supporters. “One section there was nothing but sand. (It) was so steep … there was a rope for assistance up.

“And, again, it was very hot.”

Mack wrote that he ran for most of the morning to the first checkpoint. “It got hot quickly,” he continued, “and (since) I did not take the extra bottle of water, I had to slow down as I was running low on water and used most of it on the climb.

“After (the second checkpoint) we only received one bottle of water but by then I was already baked by the sun and thirsty.”

Mack described the stage’s last climb as insane — “and that is saying a lot by my standards.”

“After the climb it was only four kilometres to the finish but it was all sand dunes, and not the flat kind, all up and down.

“All and all,” he wrote, “(it was) a decent day in the desert.”

The entire race will cover about 250 kilometres by Saturday, with each stage roughly the distance of an Olympic marathon. Today’s stage, from Jebel el Otfal to Jebel Mouchanne, is 38 kilometres in length.

(for a map of the course, go to:


From → Amateur sport

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