Marathon des Sables Guide: A finisher’s tips for desert survival

Marathon des Sables guide

It’s been two years since I ran the desert. I can still remember very clearly the fear in the final few weeks as training drew to a close, the vacuum sealer came out, kit was weighed and calories counted. What makes the Marathon des Sables so different from other events is that most people are stepping completely into the unknown. I know I was. But that’s also the magic. Whatever happens in the sand you’re in for one of the best weeks of your life. Here are a few things I learned on my own Marathon des Sables journey.

Many of these links below jump out to Runner’s World where much of my Marathon des Sables guide was first published back in 2015.

What kind of runner takes on the Marathon des Sables

A mixed bag of competers, completers and raggedy bags. Say hello to the characters you’ll tent up and trot along with when you get to the Sahara.

Pro tips for happy feet at the Marathon des Sables

Marathon des Sables feet

You seen the photos of the butchered feet in bandages and believe me you don’t want to be that person. Forget the heat, blisters are enemy No.1 at the Marathon des Sables but thankfully there are ways to avoid the bloody bubbles. Here’s how to keep your feet happy at the Marathon des Sables

100 questions every Marathon des Sables runner asks themselves

Where’s Ozzuzarte? How far are we running? How big are the biggest of the big bloody sand dunes? How far are we running again? And other distinctly Marathon des Sables soul searching questions every desert challenger asks themselves.

Things I never thought the Marathon des Sables would make me do

Running has the capacity to bring out the crazy in everyone but when you’re staring down the barrel of a week trudging through the Sahara, the lengths you’ll go to make it hurt less are pretty impressive. Here a few things I never thought I’d do until I signed up for the MDS.

What you learn running the Marathon des Sables

Because I’ve been there and got a weird lightweight vest-jacket that’s never once come out of the cupboard, there’s no one better placed to tell you exactly how to master the MDS. So here it is. Everything they never tell you about running 156 miles in the western Sahara.

What it’s like 60km into the long day of the Marathon des Sables

Marathon des Sables Guide: How I survived the onslaught in the sand

For those of you reading this about to embark on this amazing adventure, here are the tricks and tactics I used to get me through. What worked for me might not work for you but here are my top Marathon des Sables tips for flourishing in the desert.