Lunar landscapes on the second day of the marathon

Leg 4

Although far from the bivouac, the Gazelles didn’t sleep in, preferring to wake up early and leave at the first light of day. Their objective is to make up for lost time yesterday and reach all of today’s checkpoints. Most teams slept between checkpoints 4 and 5, and they have no time to waste to cover the remaining 180 km today. “We’re a bit disappointed about missing CP5 yesterday evening”, admit the Gazelles of Team 118 (Najate AHBABACH / Lineda ET-TAMIMI), who are still determined to “have a good day”. “We had a good night’s sleep, so it’s going even better than yesterday”, laughs Catherine of Team 124 (Catherine CHAUVIN / Anne ESTOUDRE), before explaining: “Today, we’re really sticking to our headings, and we’re doing exactly the right number of kilometres each time”. “And it’s even more motivating because we’re going pretty fast. And being with other Gazelles, that really helps”, emphasizes her teammate, Anne.

While some are in a hurry, that doesn’t stop Sophie and Stéphanie of Team 203 (Sophie LIOUST-BARDY / Stéphanie GOURLOO) from taking a coffee break at CP6. Several teams stop at this checkpoint to plot their points for the day and to chat about their night in the desert, which was more or less lively depending on where they camped. At the end of the leg, Claire of Team 186 (Claire SOLOGNY / Barbara BONNION), prefers not to go straight because “we want to avoid the mountain”. “It will work”, reassures Stéphanie of Team 203 (Sophie LIOUST-BARDY / Stéphanie GOURLOO). The advice of experienced Gazelles is often precious.

The second marathon day also offers a variety of scenery.We went from bare rock to an oasis just by crossing a mountain. It’s impressive! And I thought the desert was just sand”, marvels Agnès of Team 600 (Marie BELINGARD / Agnès MOSSINA), delighted to be driving through these landscapes in an electric vehicle. Kristell of Team 161 (Andréa BEEL / Kristell PERRIGOT)shares her amazement : “This leg was like being on the moon!

A day with its share of difficulties for the Gazelles

Yes, there was rock, but also sand… We wouldn’t want them to lose their good habits before the leg in Chegaga!We missed the small dunes”, jokes Lineda of Team 118 (Najate AHBABACH / Lineda ET-TAMIMI)who takes her daily mishap in the sand as a “booster shot” “We’re pros now”, adds Najate, her teammate. A sand latter, a bit of shovelling, put it in reverse, and off they go! There are still a lot of kilometres to go before the end of the leg, which hasn’t finished making the Gazelles’ lives difficult. They will have to stay focused until the end. “It was going great until now, but we went to the wrong CP8, so we did 8 extra km”, bemoans Elina of Team 229 (Emilie KUHNI / Elina FAYE).

By CP10, the heat begins to weigh heavily on the teams. Some stop to take a break in the shade near their vehicles and plot the last points leading to the new bivouac. “We’re taking good care of the third member of our team, the car”, says Cécile and Florence of Team 168 (Florence LECLERC / Cécile LECLERC). The vehicle will need to be in good shape to drive through the incredible Tafenna cirque. No such luck for Team 302 (Laetitia LALET / Karen CHRISTEL)who don’t get to enjoy the view as they change a wheel on a narrow incline.

After two days of marathon, the teams reach the new bivouac in Oulad Driss (a little further south), where a reward awaits them!

A Gelato Art ice cream stand has set up shop at the entrance to the restaurant: welcome news for the teams after two days of sweltering heat! Susan of Team 269 (Helen TAIT WRIGHT / Susan ALEMANN)even takes a photo. Anne-Sophie of Team 244 (Adélaïde COTTAIS / Anne-Sophie CHEREL)enjoys her ice cream, which she “really didn’t expect, at all, in the desert”. We told you this 30th anniversary edition would be full of surprises!