The desert fills with solidarity

With the slogan “We run for the Saharawi children”, over six hundred runners coming from all continents have dotted the Algerian desert of solidarity in an unique sporting event in the world. Those involved in the Sahara Marathon know very well that no other race in the world gives the emotions we had today, during the race between the camps of El Aaiun and Smara. Tears mixed with sweat when participants passed between the tents of refugees and received the encouragement of children and local women.

And in an inhospitable terrain, under a blazing sun and with the sand of the Sahara as an enemy, Algerians and Saharawis participants dominated the men’s events, and is the female category where the international delegation gained his greatest results. Karim Hadj Meliani was the overall winner of this 15th edition of the SaharaMarathon, thanks to an explosive finale in which he passed his countrymen Bentaichi and Bentillib, who had dominated the race during the first 35 kilometers. The Spanish Manuel Morente, winner of this event in 2009, almost gained the podium and was the first non Algerian runner.

On the women’s two Spanish got the podium with an outstanding run. Marta de Diego won ahead of Finnish Laura Brennan and Aragonese Mariluz Wander Baquedano. Thus the Spanish riders continue to enlarge the records in the desert race.

When crossing the finish line all runners received their medal made with ceramic in solidarity workshops, and rested in the tents with Saharawi families to recover and continue this unique experience of living for a week in the camps. After the SaharaMarathon, in the following days other events will take place: Children’s Race, Children’s Olympics, and the launch of countless humanitarian projects.

It is the Sahara Marathon, a race where the less important thing is the timing.

Diego Muñoz