2012 Marathon des Sables Endurance Race October 31, 2013 By Admin Since 1986, some 12,000 people from around the world have gathered in the Sahara to compete in what is often called the hardest foot race on Earth. “Race is a silly word for this. It’s not a race, it’s a war. But everyday is a battle against yourself.” —Luke Tyburski, Australi At 18, Michael De Oliveira was this year’s youngest finisher. He ran the race with his father, Marcus, to commemorate his graduation from high school. “I definitely know mentally a lot of these guys have a lot on me. Everyone says, ‘Oh you’re so young, you’ve got an advantage.’ But when we start, I get caught up and regret my speed later.” —Michael De Oliveira, United States “In a 100-mile race at home, you’d run through the blisters. Here, if you leave one and it is going to grow and grow and grow. You have to deal with it.” —Meghan Hicks, United States With the exception of water and tents, runners must carry all of their gear. his year, France’s Christian Ginter completed his 25th Marathon des Sables. “The marathon, it’s another world. You meet people, you make new friends. I prefer this marathon because I love the desert and I meet with other athletes, other champions. We live the passion of athleticism, of the race.” —Rachid el Morabity, 2011 Marathon des Sables champion. For the second year in a row, Laurence Klein of France was the first female finisher. Her time was 26 hours, 15 minutes and 40 seconds. She also won the race in 2007. After placing in the top three in each of the past four years, Jordan’s Salameh Al Aqra won the 2012 race, ending a 15-year streak of Moroccan victories. By KIRSTEN KORTEBEIN These photos appeared in appeared in Outside Magazine and Runner’s World.