Our Work

Influencing positive change

Sahara Marathon

An inspiring international solidarity running event taking place in the Algerian Sahara, in aid of the Saharawi refugees that vitally helps Sandblast raise funds for its camp-based projects.
Race date: February 28, 2024

Not to be confused with the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, the Sahara Marathon has been taking place in the Saharawi refugee camps in southwest Algeria every February since 2001. The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted this annual solidarity sports event for 3 years, but we are happy to announce that the race was held in 2023 and was a huge success with runners and supporters traveling from all over the world to participate! Runners have the choice of joining the 42km, 21km, 10km, 0r 5km races, in support of projects benefitting the Saharawi children living in the refugee camps.

Register early and start your training!

There is an option to run for a charity, so why not run for Sandblast and raise life-changing funds in aid of our Desert Voicebox project. Email us at to register early and join our running team!
Anyone registering to run with Sandblast before September 1st, 2024, will receive a free Sandblast T-shirt, a photography book, and a CD with the amazing album Sandtracks by Tiris!
The race offers an incredible opportunity to visit the camps, make a real connection with the Saharawis and raise sponsorship money to improve lives. Runners stay with Saharawi host families and spend a week in the camps experiencing their unforgettable desert hospitality and culture. What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for? Send us an email to register now and start training for the marathon of the year!

What We Need from Our Runners
For the Sahara Marathon to be successful, runners are asked to fundraise before the race and raise a certain amount, which will then be redistributed to support the Saharawi community in the camps!
the minimum amount runners are asked to fundraise
Sandblast will cover the runner's registration and accomodation fees
Sandblast will cover all of the runner's costs!
"Unforgettable mentally and physically. I would recommend this journey to anyone as it changes your point of view."
- Tomasz Laczny, Sahara Marathon participant
Who is behind the race?

The Sahara Marathon is organised by the Saharawi camp authorities in partnership with international volunteers. Over the years the race has continuously attracted growing numbers of participants from around the globe. 

Since 2009, Sandblast has been the main UK promotional partner for the Saharamarathon and has helped recruit 10 to 25 runners to join the race each year, along with hundreds of other runners from up to 20 countries around the world.
"Was it what I expected? Would I go back? Would I recommend it?
More. Yes. Unreservedly!"
- Mar Garvey, Sahara Marathon participant 2011
If you can't join the Sahara Marathon... do a challenge!
We recognise that it might not be possible for everyone to travel to the camps to participate in the race due to either increasing costs of travel or anxieties about COVID.

Since the pandemic, we have been finding more creative ways of engaging with this solidarity event, to raise money for Sandblast, without having to get on a plane. In the past few years, supporters have taken on fundraising challenges such as running their own marathon on the homefront, writing an album in 24 hours or setting out to learn basic conversational Hassiniye - the Arabic dialect spoken by Saharawis- in a month!

If you'd like to do a challenge to raise money for us – however whacky and wonderful – please be in touch to let us know. Also, let us know if you need any promotional support. We hope to hear from you soon!
Read more about fundraising ideas!

Film: 'The Runner'

The story of Salah Ameidan, a valiant Saharawi athlete who runs in the Sahara Marathon every year
The Runner (directed by Saeed Taji Farouky, 2012) is a film about endurance. It is the story of Salah Ameidan, a champion runner who grew up in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, whose journey transformed him from an athlete into the symbol of national liberation.
Forced to join Morocco's Junior Athletics team at 14, he was soon an international champion. But while he won gold medals for Morocco, he and his family were being arrested, detained and tortured in prisons by Morocco for their independence activism.

In 2003, as he won a crucial race in France, he pulled out the Sahrawi flag – illegal in Morocco. He immediately applied for political asylum and became both a refugee and a hero to his people. But even in France, he suffers attacks, and his family back in Western Sahara are regularly harassed, detained, tortured and even killed by the Moroccan regime.
The Runner follows Salah over three critical years in his life. As he turns 30, the Arab Spring is born in a protest camp in Western Sahara. The film looks at the burden of being a hero and asks "How long, before you stop running"? (Source: British Council).
Visit our FacebookVisit our InstagramVisit our TwitterVisit our YouTube channel
Registered Charity (England and Wales) :1115288 | Companies House Registration number : 05397223
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram