Full of Magic: The 2013 Marathon des Sables

On May 11, 2013, in Racing, by Meghan

The 2013 Marathon des Sables was my fourth time at this race. In 2009, I ran to a surprising second place. In 2010, I turned up not-so-fit and over-raced my abilities. After spending time in a medical tent during the long stage, some medical penalties, and slowing my pace, I finished in about the middle of the pack. In 2012, I ran to fifth place.

And this year, in 2013, I won!

The 2013 Marathon des Sables (MdS) was, for me, a dream turned reality. This might sound sickeningly cliché, but I mean it in its most literal interpretation. Being on the podium of the world’s most famous, formidable, and competitive expedition-length stage race in 2009–but still a step below the top–made me want to win this race more than I wanted many other things in life. Thing is, I didn’t know if I could do it. The MdS requires the most exquisite combination of raw talent, honed fitness, and the skill to work through its unending logistical challenges. Over the years, I’ve thought that this dream might be a bit too much of a reach for me.

I have so many reasons why I wanted to win this race, but my desires stem largely from my love of the Sahara Desert, Morocco, and my friends there. Since 2009, I’ve now spent several months of my life in Morocco. I’ve chased beetles over the wind ripples of sand dunes. I’ve drank gallons of mint tea poured by the fastest runners in the country. My Moroccan friends have shared with me their homes and families. I’ve seen the full moon slingshot itself above the Sahara horizon. I’ve seen pissed-off vipers. I’ve slept with my head on the Sahara’s hard Earth more than 30 times.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” -Y.B. Yeats

Every time I visit Morocco, I find there is more to learn, and more to love. My eyes grow wider and my heart bigger for this place, this race, this one, random place. And, of course, my Moroccan friends. This year’s race was overfilled with magic.

I’ve already written many words about the Marathon des Sables, and many media outlets have covered my race. Because of this, this blog post serves as a collection point for that which I and others have captured about the 2013 MdS. Below you’ll find:

  • my race reports composed for media outlets,
  • interviews I have done about the race,
  • what other media outlets have said about this year’s edition,
  • video footage from the race,
  • a collection of photographs from my race,
  • the official race video,
  • and a list of all that I’ve previously written about the MdS on my personal website.

This is not an undertaking a person can do without a support network. And, mine is huge. Family, friends, acquaintances, and the perfect strangers of the trail and ultrarunning world who have sent your energies my way over the years, I am grateful for and buoyed by you.


Race Reports On Believing: Meghan Hicks’s Marathon des Sables Race Report

Runner’s World: How I Won the Marathon des Sables



Outdoor Journal: Q&A with Meghan Hicks, the first woman to cross the finish line at MDS, 2013

KPCW: Park City Runner Wins Ultra Marathon in Morocco

Mountain Bike Radio/Get Outside Radio: Meghan Hicks Wins the 2013 Marathon des Sables

Talk Ultra: Episode 34 – Hollon, Hicks, Davies & Stephenson

Pace Per Mile:

The Park Record: Parkite Meghan Hicks conquers Morocco ultramarathon

Other Media Coverage

Fox News:

CNN: Winners survive ‘toughest race on Earth’

UltraRunning Magazine: Meghan Hicks Wins Marathon des Sables

7M Sports: Ahansal and Hicks win 2013 Marathon des Sables

Generation Trail: Marathon des Sables

Revista Trail: El rey y la princesa de Sables: Ahansal y Hicks

Run 247: Danny Kendall and Jo Meek excel at the 28th edition of the Sultan Marathon des Sables

Ikkosports: SHOWDOWN IN THE DUNES – 28th Sultan Marathon Des Sables

Video Footage

AOL: Stage 1

AOL: Stage 2

AOL: Stage 3

AOL: Stage 4

AOL: Stage 5


Finishing Stage 1. Photo cedit: Mark Gillett

Finishing Stage 1. Photo cedit: Mark Gillett


About 1,500 feet above the Sahara in Stage 2. Photo credit: Mark Gillett

About 1,500 feet above the Sahara in Stage 2. Photo credit: Mark Gillett


Stage 3. Photo credit: Mark Gillett

Stage 3. Photo credit: Mark Gillett


Stage 4. Photo credit: Mark Gillett

Stage 4. Photo credit: Mark Gillett


photo credit Cimbaly/E. Sampers

At the finish line. Photo credit: Cimbaly/E. Sampers


photo credit: Kirsten Kortebein

At the finish line. Photo credit: Kirsten Kortebein


With 2012 men's champion and 2013 men's runner-up, Salameh Al Aqra, at the finish line. Photo credit: Mark Gillett

With 2012 men’s champion and 2013 men’s runner-up, Salameh Al Aqra, at the finish line. Photo credit: Mark Gillett


Official 2013 Race Video

My Previous Writings about the Marathon des Sables


2012 Marathon des Sables Training Update #1

2012 Marathon des Sables Training Update #2

Into the Sahara for the 2012 Marathon des Sables

2012 Marathon des Sables: What It’s Like


Off (Again!) To The Marathon des Sables

Indurare: The 2010 Marathon des Sables


Off to the Marathon des Sables

The MdS Backpack

Saharan Rain

MdS Stage 1: Erg Chebbi Meanderings

MdS Stage 2: A Desert Loop

MdS Intermission: Ode to Tent 100

MdS Stage 3: Sun, Wind, Sand, And the Thoughtful Appearance of Sean Meissner in the Desert

MdS Stage 4: The Desert Changes You

MdS Photos: A Race Tour

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7 Responses to “Full of Magic: The 2013 Marathon des Sables”

  1. Sara says:

    Great stuff compiled here, Meghan. Congratulations again, I couldn’t be happier for you!!

  2. All this stuff is awesome!! What an amazing accomplishment 🙂

  3. Danni says:

    OMG I could spend a month just reading all these links. You are so awesome and amazing.

  4. JeffO says:

    Wow, Princesa del Sahara, “nice job” doesn’t begin to say it. Even with my obnoxious mouth, I’m speechless. You’re so phenomenal. Your accomplishments bring so much happiness to your friends.

  5. Phil Hanson says:

    Very well done, when I saw you go through at CP4 on the long day & hadn’t seen Laurence Klein, I said to my friend, “Meghan Hicks is going to win it this year”. And yep, you did it, so very well done, so deserved. Did shout to you “go on Meghan” as you went through CP4, think I might of startled you, so apologies if I did.
    The thousand dollar question you have been asked a hundred time, will you defend it? (Don’t need to answer that one). Enjoy your running and sorry to read about your pet dog Junebug on FB.

  6. […] a bit of running on the spot – if it worked for this year’s women’s winner (Meghan Hicks) it can work for me […]

  7. […] a final note, I’d like to say a really big thank you to Meghan Hicks! I wrote Meghan an e-mail on Wednesday just to say thank you for writing such informative and […]

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