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Itinerary - MdS 2015

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Everything you need to know about the MDS in 2015...

Outbound flights

Friday 3 April 2015

Flights are from London Gatwick, South Terminal.

Check-in opens 2 hours prior to departure and closes strictly 50 minutes prior to departure.

Please allow plenty of time for your connecting journeys to/from Gatwick, just in case of any delays.

You will be met at the terminal check-in by the MDS representatives. You will be given Baggage Identification tags that you will need to fix to your bags. A representative will be on each flight.

The flight Baggage allowance is 20kg plus 7kg hand baggage (size restricted) and a hot meal will be served during the flight.


Baggage gets lost at airports - it happens! Take your running shoes and your race backpack with essential contents as hand luggage on the aircraft, but you must not exceed your hand luggage allowance.

In the unlikely event that your baggage goes astray, a whole kit can usually be put together with the generosity and help of other competitors, but shoes are not something that you would want to, or may easily be able to borrow.


On arrival at Ouarzazate 3 April:

Approximately 5 hour coach transfer to the first bivouac (camp), where you will be spending your first night in pre-erected tents.

A packed meal will be provided along the route - please note that the organisers do not cater specifically for vegetarians etc. You may wish to supplement this meal as we will arrive on the bivouac after dinner. Water will be available on the coach and at camp.

You will be given the “Roadbook” - the bible that describes and directs you through the event - when on the coach. Please look after it as it is not replaceable.

Tents will be allocated on an informal basis, on arrival at the bivouac – if you know who you want to share with, stick together. It may be dark on arrival, so make sure you have your head torch to hand.


You should have 1 suitcase and 1 backpack.

On Friday 3 April you can wear ordinary clothing.

On Saturday 4 April (at the bivouac, when the medical and equipment inspection day takes place) your suitcase with your travelling clothes and personal belongings will be collected and sent by truck to Ouarzazate, where it will be stored in a locked room until you arrive in Ouarzazate on Saturday 11 April.

Please use the Baggage Identification tags provided to identify your bags. We suggest you use a suitcase that can be locked either with a padlock or a combination and has some easily identifiable colour strap on it.

Your passport and any credit cards etc MUST be with you throughout the race and should NOT be put in your suitcase for storage. It is worth bringing a photocopy of your passport – if you lose it during the event, it makes the departure process easier.

The race starts on Sunday 5 April (when you will prepare your own breakfast) and finishes for competitive purposes on Friday 10 April.

The presentations will take place on the Friday night at the final bivouac. The event finishes with the Charity stage on Saturday 11.

At the end of the MdS you will be transported by coach to Ouarzazate (possibly up to 6 hours drive). Your case will be waiting for you at your hotel.

Please be patient when checking into your hotel – there will be many of you trying to check in at the same time. You will be allocated either a twin or triple sharing room - you will be tired and it won’t be a quick process!

If you haven’t already specified the person(s) with whom you’d like to share, please find someone to share a room with and check in together. When checking out, if you have booked anything to your room, please make sure that you settle your account BEFORE leaving.

The hotel will not let the coaches depart until every room bill is settled. Do not forget to leave your room key at reception before getting on the buses, as this also causes delays every year.

Sunday 12 April

Leisure day – the “Boutique – Marathon des Sables” will be open all day – where you can collect your winners T-shirts and buy any gifts/souvenirs.


On 3 April a meal is provided during the flights and a packed meal on the journey to the bivouac.

On 4 April all meals are provided at the bivouac. Please note that the organisers do not cater for special diets.

On Sunday 5 April, self-sufficiency begins from (and includes) breakfast through until lunch on Saturday 11 April – please note that you will still need to show 2000 calories for that day at the admin checks.

A packed lunch will be provided on the coach journey back to the hotel, after the finish on Saturday. After checking-in to your room at the end of the event, you will be free till dinner that evening, which will be provided at your hotel. Drinks & mineral water are not included.

Lunch on Sunday 12 April is NOT INCLUDED. You can either buy lunch at your hotel or go to one of the restaurants in the town, which are within walking distance. Most restaurants and hotels accept credit cards.

Monday 13 APRIL - Return flight

Breakfast will be served in the main dining room of the hotel in plenty of time for your flight, exact times will be advised.Transfer by coach, hotel to airport – time to be advised, and will be advertised in the hotel. Check in at Ouarzazate Airport

At camp:


DO NOT FORGET to bring your Medical certificate and ECG (electrocardiogram).

These MUST be the originals and not photocopies, and both should be signed, dated and stamped. The earliest acceptable date for this will be 5 March. The organisers could prevent you from starting the Marathon if you do not have these 2 essential pieces of paper.


In line with International Athletics Federation (IAAF) norms, random tests for doping will be carried out. As a result, each competitor taking medication will have to provide details of his/her treatment and the relevant prescription. For competitors registered with a national federation, the results will be transmitted to national and international authorities with possible sanctions if the candidate tests positive. In the event of a competitor testing positive the MARATHON DES SABLES anti-doping commission will make all decisions ranging from warning to immediate disqualification according to the severity of the “products” found to have been used.


The rules dictate that you must take a minimum of 2,000 calories per day, for 7 days. If you are including gels or powdered drink additives, they must be in original packaging.

However, you should consider allowing 2500 to 4000 calories per day (this varies between individuals).

On 4 April, when you go through the various kit inspections, the officials will check that you have enough calories for the whole event. Do not forget any of the obligatory items on the kit list (see below) as you could be penalised for any or all items missing.

Your HEXAMINE ORDERS will be distributed at the 1st Bivouac. AOI have requested that you print out and bring with you the confirmation of purchase that you received when placing your order.

ID Race numbers

Please note that the organisation is very strict about the placement of the ID markers. They are 18 x 16 cm in size and must be worn on the upper chest and NOT the stomach. They must not be covered by anything (including the shoulder straps of your rucksack) or creased and must be visible at all times.


If you decide during the race that you want to abandon some of the belongings you have brought with you because of a weight factor (cameras, spare pair of sunglasses etc) BE WARNED that the organisers WILL NOT transport them to the finish and that they will be discarded. Please take this into account when packing.


If you are forced to drop out of the race, and your physical condition is satisfactory, you will be driven to Ouarzazate by the organisers, within 48 hours, after signing an official disclaimer supplied by AOI. While awaiting transfer to Ouarzazate, you will be taken care of, and must hand over your food to the organisation. In these circumstances, it’s not always possible for you to take leave of tent mates/running partners, before being returned to Ouarzazate.In Ouarzazate, the organisation will return your personal bag and provide assistance to reserve a hotel if necessary. Accommodation and food shall be paid for by the competitor. It is your choice whether to stay in Ouarzazate and fly back with the rest of the group after the race, or you can arrange to fly home earlier at your own expense.


AOI has a website so that your friends loved ones, sponsors and admirers can follow your progress each day.

The address for this is

Each day, the organisers list the day’s results with times and positions.

Messages can be sent to you via the organisers' website from 5 April until 10 April, but delivery cannot always be guaranteed.

In order to send a message, your friends/family will need to go to the website and click on 'Ecrire aux Concurrents' (Write to Competitors). There is a form for emails - name, surname and running (DOS) number will be required - without these, it will be impossible to locate you or deliver your emails! We also advise you to ask your senders to include your name and running number (and tent number if known) in the message itself.

PLEASE NOTE – this facility does not go live until you are out in the desert. Messages are printed and distributed each evening for all competitors and there is no charge for receiving messages.

IMPORTANT: You will be asked to complete a number of forms with your name, running number and tent number on the Saturday before the race – these will appear to duplicate each other, but is essential that you complete all of them – we may not be able to locate you without this information, and you may miss out on your emails!


Fax /Phone costs Euro 3 (£2.90) per min. Payment on the spot in Euros €, US$, or by credit card (Visa & Mastercard only).

You can also send messages by email from the communications tent, which is set up each day from 8 April. Emails will be free, but you can only send to ONE address, ONE per day, per competitor, so if you have more than one person to send contact, arrange for your message to be forwarded.

Sun glasses, buffs and other items are on sale at the bivouac before the start. T-shirts, baseball caps, MdS badges etc are normally on sale after the event on Sunday in Ouarzazate (MdS Boutique).


Mobile phones will only work intermittently whilst you are out in the desert. There are NO facilities for charging them (you would need a solar charger). If you do get a signal, you must leave the bivouac to use your phone – use of mobiles on the bivouac or on the course is not allowed. Friends and family should be aware that they will be completely unable to contact you direct for at least two or three days during the week.


Video-recorders such as DVCAM or mini DV are strictly forbidden during the race unless you have special authorisation and official accreditation from the organisation.To request special authorisation or official accreditation, please email Only digital or regular cameras are permitted and are authorised exclusively for private use by participants and support staff on the 28th MARATHON DES SABLES. The only way for competitors to recharge batteries during the race is with their own solar chargers – there are no other facilities.

Certificates and official MdS Film

We normally receive the certificates around July/August, as pdfs The results and film will be made available as downloads only. Photos will be available to purchase direct from the organisers after the event, but you may still wish to take your own camera. Steve and Debbie will be there with you throughout the race, happy to answer your questions and help where possible. Please note that once we are in Morocco, they each have official duties (Debbie will be with you in camp and Steve will be on the course).

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