Tag Archives: Aziz El Akad

Marathon des Sables

Event preview

Marathon Des Sables – Kirsten Kortebein

The 32nd edition of the fabled Marathon Des Sables is due to start in several days. The circus will be back in the desert corralling over thirteen hundred participants to cover roughly 250km over six days. MDS is a foot race where participants have to be totally self-sufficient carrying all food and mandatory equipment. But the whole event would be nothing without the support staff, one for every two participants, the 2 helicopters and 1 light aircraft, 25 buses, 4 camels and 57 medical staff, the list goes on…….  It’s a logistics exercise comparable with an army brigade making sure that there is ample water, tents and manned check-points etc.

Race preview

We are in line for some very exciting multi day desert racing at this year’s Marathon des Sables. The men’s race could be summarised as potentially a repeat performance of previous year’s but El Morabity’s gap last year was reduced to only a few minutes so it could lead to a shake up on the podium. The women’s race has all the ingredients for some very exciting racing.  There are probably five or six fighting it out for the top spot which could make every day a challenge and any slip up absolutely crucial.

The Men’s race

Top Moroccans

2016

2015 2014 2013

2012

Rachid El Morabity

1st

1st

1st

Abdelkader El Mouaziz

2nd

2nd

7th

Aziz El Akad

3rd

3rd

5th

3rd

Samir Akdar

6th

4th

8th

Salemeh Al Aqra

5th

2nd

2nd

1st

Mohamed Ahansal

11th

3rd

1st

2nd

The table above shows the top Moroccans performances over the last five years. The podium has been dominated by these guys and it would come as a huge surprise if it wasn’t the same this year.

The following guys are confirmed for this year.

Rachid El Morabity – El Morabity has got to be the one to beat having won the last three editions of the race.  Morabity’s winning gap last year was only four minutes compared to fourteen minutes the previous year, both times to El Mouaziz.  He also came second at OCC in 2016 and is entered for CCC this year.

Abdelkader El Mouaziz – El Mouaziz has a deep marathon pedigree with a 2:06 PB and having raced some of the most competitive road marathons over a decade or more, mainly London & Chicago.  He has translated that marathon speed to the rough terrain of the desert and multi day racing.  The last two years placing second to El Morabity but having a healthy gap to a third placed El Akad.

Aziz El Akad – El Akad has placed third in the last two years but will he have enough to challenge the likes of El Morabity and El Mouaziz?  The one hour gap to second at this level is substantial amount to bridge.

Samir Akhdar – A solid top five finisher but Akdar will be looking to make the podium for the first time.

Andy Symonds – Symonds has got to be the top non Moroccan at this year’s event. He has lots of talent, fast and excels on mountain courses. How will he fare in the desert against some of the best multi day racers in the world?  It certainly will be interesting to track his progress.

Tsuyoshi Kaburaki – Kaburaki has tons of mountain racing pedigree earned at UTMB, Hardrock, & Western States, although a few years ago. He placed second last year at Ultra Fiord Patagonia.  A top ten finish would be a good result.

Marco Olmo – Olmo has raced MDS many times and has won the various age categories from M55, M60 and now M65 for the last three years.  Who else can beat the Italian Olmo?

 

Women’s Race

Nathalie Mauclair – Second at last year’s MDS, Mauclair will undoubtedly be seeking the top spot this year, especially as last year’s winner Sedykh is not competing. Her closest rivals are likely to be 2015 winner Elisabet Barnes and Brazilian Fernanda Maciel. Mauclair has won Diagonal des Fous twice and UTMB during 2013 to 2015, by comparison 2016 was a much quieter racing year for her.

Elisabet Barnes – Winner of MDS in 2015, last year’s race did not go to plan and she missed out on the podium. Since then she has placed second at the Grand to Grand ultra and a fourth place at this year’s The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.  Barnes will be looking to regain that top spot for sure!

Fernanda Maciel – A tough competitor who regularly places top five or podium at some of the world’s toughest mountain races.  Last year placed third at MDS.  Maciel will surely be looking to move further up the podium this year.

Emilie Lecomte – In 2016 Lecomte raced the Grand to Grand ultra a similar multi stage race in the US and won. She also placed third at the Madeira Island Ultra Trail.  Lecomte seems to excel on the tough gnarly courses like Diagonal des Fous and UTMB. How will she perform on the fabled dunes at MDS?

Melanie Rousset – A recent third place at Transgrancanaria will surely boost Rousset’s confidence coming into MDS.  She has placed sixth, fifth and fourth at Diagonal des Fous in recent year’s.  It will be interesting how she tackles multi day desert racing.

Ester Alves – Alves has recent experience of multi day racing at The Coastal Challenge placing third. She won the Madeira Island Ultra Trail in 2015

Federica Boifava – Italian Boifava has won a lot of races many of them in the marathon to 80km range. It will be exciting to see how she performs in multi day desert racing. Likely to place highly if she doesn’t go off to fast in the early stages.

Moroccans

Aziza Raji – Top Moroccan in 2016 placing fifth.

Meryem Mahfoud – Second at Nomads Run 60km 2017.

Houda Taoufiq Mabileau – Third at Nomads Run 60km 2017.

Touda Didi – Tenth at MDS in 2011.

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ULTRA RUNNING NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

In this month’s column we bring you news from the Sky Running World Series, the Ultra Trail World Tour and latest UTWT standings, Thames Path 100, as well as a selection of news from the blogs.

Transvulcania

Since 2012 only three guys have broken seven hours for the Transvulcania course, Dakota Jones, Kilian Jornet and Luis Alberto Hernando. Hernando has an awesome record at Transvulcania, second to Jornet in 2013, and winner in 2014 and 2015. He was the red-hot favourite in this year’s edition and he didn’t disappoint. Hernando took his third successive win in just over seven hours. American Sage Canaday who led the race all the IMG_0673way to Roque de los Muchachos took a third place podium finish after Frenchmen Nicolas Martin reeled him on that long descent for second place.

Sweden’s Ida Nilsson surprised everyone with a terrific performance that demonstrated total dominance of the field, the tough course and hot conditions. Her lead grew as the race progressed, finishing seventeen minutes ahead of Anne-Lise Rousset of France. Ruth Croft completed the podium only two minutes behind.

Transvulcania

Men Time
1 Luis Alberto Hernando 07:04:44
2 Nicolas Martin 07:10:40
3 Sage Canaday 07:14:16

 

Women Time
1 Ida Nilsson 08:14:18
2 Anne-Lise Rousset 08:31:53
3 Ruth Croft 08:33:32

 

Marathon des Sables

Rachid El Morabity of Morocco celebrated the win after a dominating display of running in the 32nd edition of this classic multi day race across the Saharan sands of Morroco. The podium was an all Moroccan affair with compatriots Abdelkader El Mouaziz and Aziz El Akad taking second and third spots.

Russian Natalia Sedykh won four of the five stages and had an incredible forty five minutes lead over second place Nathalie Mauclair of France. Mauclair won the long stage on day four to cement her second place. Brazilian Fernanda Maciel demonstrated her tenacity over these demanding desert multi day races by finishing strongly in third place.

Marathon des Sables

Men Time
1 Rachid El Morabity 21:01:21
2 Abdelkader El Mouaziz 21:05:38
3 Aziz El Akad 22:07:30

 

Women Time
1 Natalia Sedykh 24:45:26
2 Nathalie Mauclair 25:30:55
3 Fernanda Maciel 27:58:43

 

Thames Path 100

The Thames Path 100 is the first race of the Centurion Running grand slam. With minimal elevation gain or loss and run on the tow path it is a fast course. Craig Holgate held the course record (15:11:15) from 2012 and proceeded to crush that time by over an hour and completely dominated the field. His winning time and course record is even more impressive given that he went off course and lost over an hour and a half. Sam Pullan and Mark Greyner completed the podium for the men.

Sam Amend in her first 100 miler ran an extremely impressive 16:00:09, was second overall, and had a margin of three hours over Norwegians Mari Mauland in second and Hilde Ackenhausen in third.

Thames Path 100

Men Time
1 Craig Holgate 14:09:54
2 Sam Pullan 17:01:15
3 Mark Greyner 17:11:54

 

Women Time
1 Samantha Amend 16:00:09
2 Mari Mauland 19:11:25
3 Hilde Ackenhausen 19:34:57

Yading Skyrun

The Skyrunner World Series opened the season with a first race in China. A 30km route reached altitudes of 4,664M and the finishing point was at a temple was at 4,000M. This is Sky Running following its ethos of ‘Less cloud. More Sky’.

The race was won by Nepalese Bhin Gurung in a fast time and a small cushion of less than two minutes ahead of Italian Tadei Pivk.

American Megan Kimmel certainly made her trip to China worthwhile with a solid win ahead of Chinese Wenrong Zhen by thirty six minutes and picking up a $3000 winners prize.

Bryon Powell of irunfar.com completed the race in 4:18 for fourteenth place as part of his Hardrock 100 training.

Yading Skyrun

Men Time
1 Bhin Gurung (Nepal) 03:08:30
2 Tadei Pivk (Italy) 03:10:18
3 Marc Casal Mir (And) 03:11:28

 

Women Time
1 Megan Kimmel (USA 03:20:39
2 Wenrong Zhen (China) 03:56:17
3 Ragna Debats 03:57:39

 

News from the blogs

Dakota Jones

DJ has been travelling to Europe and has taken the unusual option to cross the pond by cargo ship in an effort to be ecologically friendly. Read his article on iRunFar as he debates with himself and the reader with the realities of this chosen method and whether it is indeed saving the planet.   http://www.irunfar.com/2016/05/dakota-on-the-dalian.html

During his trip to Ireland  DJ hooked up with legends Scott Jurek & Rickey Gates before heading across to Wales and then the Lake District for Salomon Advanced week. Check out his athlete Facebook page for the updates.

http://thatdakotajones.com/

Ellie Greenwood

In preparation for Comrades Ellie raced Chuckanut 50k for yet another win. then it was off to the UK and the Lake District for Salomon Advanced Week. The athletes generally have a great time taking the opportunity to train together but more importantly testing out new kit and giving feedback. The results of which go back into the end product that we see as the consumer.  To round the week off many of the team tried out a fell race, The Coledale Horseshoe – check out the results The Coledale Horsehoe Results 2016 .

Watch out for Ellie as she takes on the Russian twins on the Comrades down run at the end of this month.

http://elliegreenwood.blogspot.co.uk/

Sage Canaday

Sage Canaday has a great You Tube channel V02max Productions and you will find a wealth of information as he chronicles the various stages of his training and racing. Towards the latter part of last year and early this year he was focussed on making the US Olympic Trials, narrowly missing qualification by 12 seconds.  His times over four marathons were between 2:19:12 and 2:20:32, very consistent but as Sage opens up in his review he was perhaps overcautious and should stepped up his mileage from an average 80 miles a week to an average 120-130 miles a week. Its an interesting read and provides a useful process emphasizing the importance of having a good training diary and post event analysis to improve future training.

http://sagecanaday.com/

Jason Schlarb

Skiing the Hardrock 100 course has never been done before. Jason and friends took on the mighty course in a counterclockwise direction over four days and nights in March. Hear all about it on this podcast from the US  Ultra Runner.

http://www.jasonschlarb.com/

Sondre Amdahl

Fresh from Marathon des Sables Sondre Amdahl tells all about his experience of racing in probably the most iconic desert multi day stage race where he finished ninth overall.  His report provides some great explanation of his approach to the race including gear and nutrition and mistakes he made. Great reading!

Hjem

Meghan Arbogast

Meghan Arbogast is a 53 year old ultra runner and she live in Cool California. that is Cool!  She is a mum, massage therapist and coach. How on earth she fits in high quality training into what looks like an incredibly busy schedule I’ve no idea but read her blog and you will out more. Recently running the Moab 55k in 5:21 – 4th female and 1st master.

About Meghan Arbogast

 

UTWT standings after five races

Men Points
1 Jordi Gamito 447
2 Gediminas Grinius 402
3 Cyril Cointre 389

 

Women Points
1 Caroline Chaverot 405
2 Andrea Huser 360
3 Silvia Trigueros Garrote 333

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The next event on the UTWT calendar is the Ultra Trail Australia on May 14th. The race is 100km with 4,200M of vertical ascent held in the magnificent Blue Mountain National Park in New South Wales, Australia. Update : The race was won by Pau Capell & Beth Cardelli

Up and coming races

Zegama – May 22nd

Grand Union Canal Race 145 miles– May 24th

Comrades 89 kms – May 29th

Ultra Madeira – June 4th

South Downs Way 100 – June 11th

 

MARATHON DES SABLES – DAY 5 RESULTS

Day 5 Results & Headlines

Stage 5 – 42.2kms

  • Morabity is the King of MDS and tops the overall leader board after a solid fifth stage coming in third place and only nine seconds after stage winner El Mouaziz crossed the line, Mouaziz is second overall.  Spain’s Martinez was beaten by El Akad for third place in the stage and now on the overall standings losing his podium position to the Moroccan, making it a 1-2-3 for Morocco.  Frenchmen Clavery has been solid all week and finishes fifth overall. 
  • Sedykh is the Queen of MDS. She continued her winning ways by taking this fifth stage and tops the overall leader board by a clear forty five minutes.  After winning yesterdays long stage Mauclair came third today but finishes second overall with over two hours to third place Brazilian Maciel, who came in fifth in today’s stage.  Defending champion Barnes fails to make top five in the stage today but finishes in fourth overall. Completing the top five overall is Moroccos Raji with another solid performance today.
  • Top Brits are David Hellard finished in 17th place overall followed by Alastair King in 19th overall. Selina McCole is top Brit female finishing in 10th place on the women’s leader board and 101st place overall.

 

Men’s Race

1  Abdelkader El Moaziz 03:11:32
2  Aziz El Akad  03:11:34
3 Rachid El Morabity 03:11:41
4 Samir Akdar 03:18:54
5  Erik Clavery 03:27:24

 

Women’s Race

1  Natalia Sedykh  03:45:12
2  Pui Yan Chow 03:50:23
3 Nathalie Mauclair 04:07:08
4 Aziza Raji 04:32;07
5  Fernanda Maciel 04:43:00

 

Leaderboard

Men’s Race – Cumulative Standings

1  Rachid El Morabity  21:01:21
2  Abdelkader El Mouaziz  21:05:38
3  Aziz El Akad 22:07:30
4  Jose Manuel Martinez  22:27:50
5  Erik Clavery  23:00:18

Akhdar 6th, Sa 8th, Amdahl 9th, Schlarb 12th

Women’s Race – Cumulative Standings

1  Natalia Sedykh (11th Overall)  24:45:26
2  Nathalie Mauclair (13th overall)  25:30:55
3  Fernanda Maciel (25th overall) 27:58:43
4  Elisabet Barnes (33rd overall)  30:02:26
5  Aziza Raji (36th overall) 30:41:31

 

Top Brit’s

1  David Hellard (17th overall) 26:01:07
2  Alastair King (19th overall) 26:34:20
3  Kristian Morgan (22nd overall) 27:09:10
4  Greg Dunning (26th overall) 28:37:36
5  Gary Evans (28th overall) 28:48:10tops

 

MARATHON DES SABLES – DAY 4 RESULTS

Day 4 Results & Headlines

Stage 4 – 84.3kms

  • Morabity takes the long stage for his fourth stage win.  He extends his lead over second place El Mouaziz by 3 minutes to 4min 26. Spanish runner Martinez holds third place and increases margin over fourth place El Akad to 7 minutes.  Clavery of France displaces Akhdar to take the fifth spot. (Note : unsure what has happened to Akhdar- UPDATE Akhdar is now in 8th place overall)
  • Sedykh continues to lead the women’s race overall but was unable to take her fourth stage win. Mauclair makes up ground to take stage win and reduce the deficit to 23 minutes to Sedykh.  Maciel stays strong and for a solid third place overall, now 1hour and 6 mins ahead of defending champion Barnes.
  • Top Brits are David Hellard drops one place to 16th place overall and Alastair King moving up to 19th overall. Selina McCole is top Brit female in 8th place on the women’s leader board and 76th place overall.

 

Men’s Race

1  Rachid El Morabity  08:11:24
2  Abdelkader El Mouaziz  08:14:28
3  Jose Manuel Martinez  08:25:55
4  Aziz El Akad  08:28:04
5  Erik Clavery  08:41:20

 

Women’s Race

1  Nathalie Mauclair  09:07:59
2  Natalia Sedykh  09:19:53
3  Fernanda Maciel  10:30:12
4  Elisabet Barnes 11:36:11
5  Sophie Laversanne  12:00:25

 

Leaderboard

Men’s Race – Cumulative Standings

1  Rachid El Morabity  17:49:40
2  Abdelkader El Mouaziz  17:54:06
3  Jose Manuel Martinez  18:48:26
4  Aziz El Akad  18:55:56
5  Erik Clavery  19:32:54

Sa 7th, Amdahl 9th, Schlarb 12th

Women’s Race – Cumulative Standings

1  Natalia Sedykh  21:00:14
2  Nathalie Mauclair  21:23:47
3  Fernanda Maciel  23:15:43
4  Elisabet Barnes  25:16:23
5  Aziza Raji  26:09:24

 

Top Brit’s

1  David Hellard (16th overall)  21:55:14
2  Alastair King (19th overall)  22:33:19
3  Kristian Morgan (21st overall)  22:53:14
4  Greg Dunning (26th overall)  24:04:30
5  Gary Evans (28th overall)  24:41:38

 

MARATHON DES SABLES – DAY 3 RESULTS

Day 3 Results & Headlines

Stage 3 – 37.5kms

  • Morabity wins third successive stage, leading overall by 1min 22 over second place El Mouaziz.  Spain’s Martinez remains in third with a five minute lead over Moroccans El Akad and Akhdar.
  • Sedykh takes the third stage and extends her lead to thirty five minutes over Mauclair.  Brazil’s Maciel holds third place with defending champion Barnes dropping over forty minutes to third place with Moroccan Raji having an excellent stage displacing American Lisa Howard for fifth place.   
  • Top Brits are David Hellard holding fifteenth place overall with Alastair King moving up to two places to twentieth. Top Brit female is Selina McCole who is in 9th place on the women’s leader board and 91st overall.   

 

Men’s Race – Stage 3

1  Rachid El Morabity  03:03:41
2  Abdelkader El Mouaziz  03:04:02
3  Aziz El Akad  03:05:40
4  Jose Manuel Martinez  03:18:55
5  Samir Akhdar  03:25:22

 

Women’s Race – Stage 3

1  Natalia Sedykh  03:49:15
2  Nathalie Mauclair  03:53:34
3  Fernanda Maciel  03:55:53
4  Aziza Raji  04:16:41
5  Elisabet Barnes  04:37:28

 

Leaderboard

Men’s Race – Cumulative Standings

1  Rachid El Morabity 09:38:16
2  Abdelkader El Mouaziz  09:39:38
3  Jose Manuel Martinez  10:22:31
4  Aziz Akad  10:27:52
5  Samir Akhdar  10:46:40

Clavery 6th, Sa 7th, Amdahl 8th, Schlarb 12th

Women’s Race – Cumulative Standings

1  Natalia Sedykh  11:40:21
2  Nathalie Mauclair  12:15:48
3  Fernanda Maciel 12:45:31
4  Elisabet Barnes 13:40:12
5  Aziza Raji  13:56:47

 Arbogast – Unknown may have dropped

Top Brit’s

1  David Hellard (15th overall) 12:06:11
2  Alastair King (20th overall) 12:16:27
3  Kristian Morgan (23rd overall) 12:36:40
4  Greg Dunning (28th overall) 13:11:54
5  Michael Smith (32nd overall)  13:35:55

 

MARATHON DES SABLES – DAY 2 RESULTS

Day 2 Results & Headlines

Stage 2 – 41.3km

  • Moroccan El Morabity keeps the lead extending it by several seconds over second place El Mouaziz.  Spains Martinez moves up to third.  Fellow Moroccans Akhdar and El Akad step up to fourth and fifth respectively.   
  • Russia’s Sedykh remains in the lead increasing it to 31 minutes over France’s Mauclair. Brazilian Maciel jumps up two places to third. Defending champion Barnes drops to fourth and American Howard in fifth. 
  • Top Brits – David Hellard is still the leading Brit moving up seven places to 15th overall. Alastair King remains in second and 22nd place overall. Top female Brit is Selina McCole in 82nd place overall.

 

Men’s Race – Overall Leaderboard

1 Rachid El Morabity  06:34:33
2  Abdelkader El Mouaziz  06:35:35
3  Jose Manuel Martinez  07:03:36
4 Samir Akhdar  07:21:16
5  Aziz El Akad  07:22:11

 Clavery 6th, Amdahl 7th, Sa 9th Schlarb 12th

Women’s Race – Overall Leaderboard

1  Natalia Sedykh  07:51:06
2  Nathalie Mauclair  08:22:13
3  Fernanda Maciel  08:49:36
4  Elisabet Barnes  09:02:43
5  Lisa Howard  09:15:40

Raji 6th,  Arbogast 7th 

Top Brit’s

1  David Hellard (15th overall)  08:15:04
2  Alastair King (22nd overall)  08:22:34
3  Kristian Morgan (26th overall)  08:38:59
4  Greg Dunning (32nd overall)  08:56:24
5  Michael Smith (34th overall)  09:03:52

 

 

MARATHON DES SABLES – RACE PREVIEW

Marathon Des Sables in Morocco from April 10th to 15th.  This will be the 31st edition of this challenging multi-stage event covering over 250km.  A whole host of quality North African athletes, including several past winners will be taking it out from the front. These include Rachid El Morabity, Abdelkader El Mouaziz, Aziz El Akad and Samir Akhdar. Those were the top four in 2015 in that order with an overall time difference of 1:20 between first and fourth place. Surely its these four fighting for the three podium slots again?

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Marathon Des Sables 2015           Credit : Kirsten Kortebein 

In the women’s race we have an exciting challenge. Can Elisabet Barnes retain her crown? Can another American win MDS (Meghan Arbogast and Lisa Howard)? Can newcomers Fernanda Maciel or Nathalie Mauclair upset the specialist stage racers? Will Laurence Klein reclaim her form and her crown? Or will Natalia Sedykhs improve on her 2015 performance to rise up the rankings?

What’s for sure is that whilst the men’s race might be about the Moroccans and possibly who can break the Moroccan stranglehold on the podium, the women’s race is potentially a wide open affair with a number of contenders challenging for the top spot. And that makes for exciting racing!

Men’s Race

Rachid El MorabityThe winner of MDS in 2015, 2014 and 2011. So, must surely be the man to beat!

Adbelkader El MouazizSecond place at MDS in 2015 and seventh in 2014. Podium spot.

Aziz El AkadThird place at MDS in 2015 and fifth in 2013. Podium spot

Samir AkhdarFourth place at MDS in 2015 and eighth in 2013. Podium spot.

Top International Men

The question is can any of the four Moroccans above be beaten – here are the main International contenders.

Erik ClaveryThis will be a new experience for Clavery. He has grit and form over a number of distances. Can he sustain multiple days of fast racing over sand, rocks, dunes and the blisteringly heat? Second place at Lavaredo Ultra Trail in 2015, seventh at UTMB in 2015 and sixth at Transvulcania in 2012.

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Erik Clavery – UTMB

Jason SchlarbTop American contender and out for an adventure. Schlarb thrives on difficult conditions so he has come to the right place. Sixth place at Tarawera in 2016, second at Eiger Ultra in 2015, tenth at Diagonal des Fous and fourth at UTMB in 2014.

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Jason Schlarb – UTMB

Sondre AmdahlAmdahl has been a revelation over the last two years. Seemingly out of nowhere he has become a permanent fixture at UTWT events and usually placing top ten. 2015 – fourth at TransGrancanaria, fourth UTMF and second at Vibram 100k. 2014 – sixth Transgrancanaria and seventh UTMB.

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Sondre Amdahl – Transgrancanaria

Carlos SaSeventh and fourth places at MDS in 2013 and 2012 respectively. Recent form at Costa Rica Challenge (third place) must be great preparation for the heat. A good bet for top ten.

Marco Olmo – Not really top ten but this 68 year-old Italian will be fighting it out for another great MDS finish.

Women’s Race

Elisabet Barnes – Winner of MDS in 2015. Winner of Oman stage race in 2015. Second place at this years Costa Rica challenge. Fast becoming a specialist in stage races and the one to beat at this years MDS.

Meghan ArbogastHas Western States pedigree and therefore speed – can she replicate it among the sand dunes and rocks of the Saharan desert.  – Recent Western States form – eighth in 2014, fourth in 2013 and tenth in 2012. Fifth place at Tarawera in 2014.

Nathalie MauclairNo stranger to tough races. Winner of Diagonal des Fous in 2014 and fourth place in 2015. Winner of UTMB in 2015 and third in 2014. Western States third place in 2014.

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Nathalie Mauclair – UTMB

Fernanda MacielSecond at UTMF and third place at Lavaredo last year. Followed by an extended period in South America set a FKT on Aconcagua. Previous years racing has seen her tough it out on mountainous courses such as UTMB (fourth place in 2014) and Transgrancanaria (third place in 2014). 

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Fernanda Maciel – Lavaredo

Lisa Howard – Sixteenth place in her first MDS last year. Back for some more action and will have learnt much from last year’s experience. She has speed on her side

Laurence KleinPast winner of MDS but recent years form has suffered due to heat issues. Second at MDS in 2014 and tenth in 2015. Can she pull it out of the bag this year?  

Pui-Yan Chow – Has some recent race performances that stand out – Winner of Vibram HK and tenth place at TNF 100 in 2015. Second place at Vibram HK in 2014. The question is can she translate this running with a pack over five key stages.

Natalia Sedykhs – Third place at MDS last year including a time penalty. Surely she will be back to rectify that?

All images copyright – Ian Campbell Photography