Andrew Abela locked a prominent result in the difficult and challenging 35th edition Marathon des Sables as the Maltese ultramarathon runner ranked 34th position overall in the men’s classification.
Andrew wasn’t always an athlete, up for such challenges. The very thought of the marathon seemed unthinkable to him. He heard about the Marathon for the first time through a talk given to him at his workplace.
“Back then the very thought of running more than 5km seemed unimaginable, my knees would hurt, let alone running 240km in the middle of the Sahara in +52°c with a 12kg bag pack for 7 days carrying all your food and equipment.” He said
However, three years ago, Andrew found discipline and confidence after taking part in the lifecycle challenge in Oman, which led him to be up for the challenge of Marathon des Sables.
“I’ll make it clear, I do not consider myself to be an athlete or anything of the sort, I do consider myself as a person who loves a challenge.” Andrew expressed.
Andrew, finished the renowned ultramarathon race categorising among the top ranks of elite runners. Andrew completed the race with an official time of 35 hours, 25 minutes and 21 seconds and placed 34th in the male overall classification.
Marathon Des Sables is held yearly, in the Moroccan Sahara Desert, which takes place for seven days.
The marathon is considered both dangerous and challenging, especially withstanding the climatic conditions, which often succeed 50 degrees Celsius for long periods.
Generally, the race takes place in the spring period of April in the Sahara desert when temperatures are more slightly more desirable
Throughout the marathon, participants are asked to carry their supplies of food, water, sleeping kit and first aid with them for the duration of the race.
This year, apart from experiencing such heat temperatures, some participants contracted a stomach virus.
Around 40% ended up dropping out from the race in this year’s edition, unable to participate – one of whom even died during the journey.
Together with Andrew Abela, was participant Thomas Cremona whose race had to come to a halt, after having food intake difficulties.
The winners of this year’s edition were Rachid El Morabity of Morocco, who has won the Marathon des Sables seven times, followed by his brother Mohamed in second place.
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