The MdS is a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’ or ‘ultra’ run in six days over a course of between 150 and 156 (254km) miles.
Which by the way is the equivalent of
Running from London to Dover
deciding not to go to France after all
and running back again
in 120 degree heat.
with a backpack on
and voices in your head talking about cold beer!
As an example of what lies beyond the starting line, the longest single stage in 2012 was 51 miles (81.5km). Typical distances are 156 miles (251 km) broken down as follows:
Day 1 - 33.8 km
Day 2 - 38.5 km
Day 3 - 35 km
Day 4 - 81.5 km
Day 5 - 42.2 km
Day 6 - 15.5 km
The actual routes and formats change every year. The Race Director and his team spend a month meticulously planning routes that are held secret until the day before the event starts.
There is a rest day after the longest stage, but it may well take you into that day before you get to the finish.
Competitors stay overnight in a bivouac village, comprised of tents that sleep about 8 competitors per tent. Once you get your 'bivvy' your bivvy team become your family, your support team, your nursing team and invariably they become long-term friends. The most memorable sound of an evening is the rumble of weary laughter that echoes around the village.
The organisation comprises of:
100 Volunteers on the course itself
400 Support staff overall
120,000 Liters of mineral water
270 Berber and Saharan tents
100 All-terrain vehicles
2 'Ecureuil' helicopter
1 Cessna plane
3 Mountain bikes
6 'MdS Special' commercial planes
1 Incinerator lorry for burning waste
4 Quads to ensure environment and safety on race
52 Members of medical team
6.5 km Elastoplast
150 Liters of disinfectant
1 Editing bus
1 Satellite image station
6 Satellite telephones
15 Computers, fax and internet
30 % Previous MdS competitors
25 % UK & Ireland entrants
30 % French entrants
14 % Women
45 % Veterans
30 % In teams of three or more
10 % Walkers
90 % Alternate walking and running
14 km / hr : average maximum speed
3 km / hr : average minimum speed
Age of youngest competitor : 16
Age of oldest competitor : 78
The MdS is a six day race.
There is only one rest day.
The distance is about 254 km - that's 156 miles!
The longest stage is about 91 km - that's 55 miles!
You may struggle to explain to people why you would want to do this!