08 February 2021, 10am
The Sahara needs us like never before. At a time when Covid19 has hit the whole world, the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf are experiencing an extremely complicated situation in which their precarious living conditions are compounded by the impact of the pandemic and the consequences of the war conflict that has resumed after 30 years of ceasefire.
In these circumstances and given the impossibility of performing the Sahara Marathon in person and with the assistance of runners from all over the world, the organisation of the solidarity race has launched a very special edition with a virtual event. Runners and supporters of the Saharawi cause will be able to participate in the prestigious race through a digital application that will be available once the registration is made (EUR 15 [USD 18]) and that will allow the athletes to run from anywhere in the world.
The Sahara Marathon is a solidarity race organised by the Saharawi Ministry of Youth and Sports and a group of volunteers from different countries. During the last twenty years, the race in the desert has served as a platform to denounce the unjust situation that exists in Western Sahara and to tackle countless solidarity projects in the refugee camps. Thousands of runners from all continents have travelled during this time to the Algerian desert to live the experience provided by this race and to bond with refugee families. In this unique edition of 2021, the objectives of the event remain, although the experience will be different.
Participants will be able to carry out their race during the last week of February. They will be able to choose the most appropriate distance (5, 10, 21 or 42 km) and even run in different distances or repeat the race throughout the week (the best time will be validated). The application also invites runners to upload their videos and messages of solidarity with the Sahara to their social networks. All the money contributed for this solidarity project, as well as the donations or acquisitions of the inscription pack (T-shirt, tubular scarf and bib number), will be used in the Sahara Marathon solidarity project, which on this occasion is about Saharawi families in need of direct help, through the purchase and distribution of a basic food basket bought on site to favour the local economy.
On 26 February, the usual date for holding the marathon in other editions, a race (5, 10 km and children race) will be organised in the Saharawi refugee camps, where Saharawi athletes will participate, with the aim of keeping the spirit of the Sahara Marathon alive . The pandemic has caused significant restrictions to humanitarian aid for the Saharawi refugee camps during the last year, as well as to all the visits of aid workers and people in solidarity with the Saharawi, leading the refugee camps to a humanitarian crisis that is added to the global health crisis,. We therefore invite all regular participants in the Sahara Marathon, as well as all those committed to this cause, to support this alternative project by participating in the virtual race or contributing a small donation via www.saharamarathon.org. As it says on the official race jersey: “The desert wind will spread the Saharawi voice around the world.”