Lehsen Sidahmed repeats victory in the Sahara Marathon, the solidarity test in the Tindouf refugee camps that turns 20

Lehsen Sidahmedm, from Western Sahara, the winner of the test.

Twenty years have passed since a group of volunteers from several countries launched one of the most exciting sports initiatives of how many are celebrated in the world. The inhospitable Algerian desert became once a year the scene of a magical race in which all runners participate in a solidarity cause and where emotional experience ignores the sporting aspect. The Sahara Marathon has turned twenty years of claim and I support the Saharawi people who have lived far from their land for 44 years.

There, in the settlements that the exiled Saharawi people have in southwestern Algeria, this quiet edition of the Sahara Marathon is celebrated and, in harsh weather conditions, under a sun of justice that left many runners on the edge of the KO, the local runner Lehsen Sidahmed once again demonstrated his ability to adapt to the terrain and imposed himself with great authority.

It was the second consecutive victory of the Saharawi settled in Velada (Toledo), who imposed a very strong pace from the beginning to try to get rid of his two main rivals, two other former winners of this test, the Basque Jon Salvador and the Austrian Rainer Predl. Salvador gave up soon with an injury in the first kilometer that forced him to continue to the end with much suffering. Predl, the ultra-marathoner, sold the triumph more expensive; He defended himself attacking during the first half of the race and after crossing the Auserd camp he felt unwell and left Lehsen Sidahmed free.

The local runner showed his enthusiasm after crossing the finish line: “For me this is the maximum, come to meet with my people and be able to show my support and love to the mos with a victory. I knew I had to avoid reaching the last part of race with the Austrian nearby and that's why I pulled hard to leave him behind. ” After Lehsen entered, after a great comeback, the burgals Joel Aubeso, son of Jorge Aubeso, another historical winner of this event. Third was Predl.

Moa Kjellstrand, from Sweden, winner of the women's event
Moa Kjellstrand, from Sweden, winner of the women's event

In the women's event history had much less travel, Sweden's Moa Kjellstrand scored an impressive pace from the beginning and achieved a resounding victory with more than twenty minutes over the German Pusch and the Basque Ainhoa ​​Lendinez. The other distances that are celebrated in this event also had exciting outcomes.

In the half marathon Luis Francisco Lahoz won his son Luis Lahoz while in women, Meritxell Bonet won. In 10 km the triumph was to stop once again at the hands of the local hero Amaidan Salah and the Austrian Katrin Schmiderer. Finally, in 5 km, Najem Brahim and Mara Ascensin Olcina won.

They starred in the sporting part, but the emotional one shone with stories like that of the Belgian Daniel Dekkers, who with tears in his eyes is forced to leave because of the strong heat and because his 85 years already weigh a lot to do half marathon in the desert. Or at the other extreme, the Saharawi children who, barefoot, started the test in El Aaiun following all the runners and ended up traveling the 42 kilometers with surprising freshness.

Or the hundreds of popular solidarity corridors who go to the Saharawi camps year after year with their suitcases loaded with help, smiles and support for local families who with their hospitality make this sporting solidarity experience unforgettable for all who live it .

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