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'TOUGHEST FOOT RACE ON EARTH'

Described by the Discovery Channel as the "toughest foot race on earth", the Marathon des Sables (MdS) is a gruelling event held in the Sahara desert.

Participants have to be self-sufficient, carrying everything - except water - needed to survive one of the world's most inhospitable climates.

The environment that runners will face comprises sand dunes and temperatures of up to 50 deg C.

Participants have to negotiate some 251 km, a distance equivalent to 5½ marathons, in just five to six days.

Started in 1986 by French concert promoter Patrick Bauer, MdS is now in its 29th consecutive year.

The event has attracted more than 1,200 runners this year.

It begins on April 4 in southern Morocco and ends on April 14.

For an idea of what runners will be going through, visit http://marathondessables.co.uk/site/content/stage-1

SOURCE: MARATHON DES SABLES WEBSITE