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SAHARA

MARATHON

An inspiring international solidarity running event taking place in the Algerian Sahara in aid of the refugee children of Western Sahara. Participants running on behalf of Sandblast help raise vitally needed funds for its camp-based projects.
Next race date: 25.02.2025
Trip dates: 22.02-01.03.2025 (tbc)

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 several years, but in 2024 was held with huge success with runners and supporters traveling from all over the world to participate!

Doing the Sahara Marathon is a unique and life-enhancing experience. You will set out from and return to Spain on a chartered flight to travel to the refugee camps in Tindouf. During  your week-long stay, you'll be hosted by a Saharawi refugee family, experience unforgettable desert hospitality and have the chance to learn about their culture and hear their stories first hand.  Participants have the choice of running (or walking) in the 42km, 21km, 10km, or 5km races. 

Register early below and start training!

If you sign up to run on behalf of Sandblast, you will be helping us raise life-changing funds in aid of Desert Voicebox, a pioneering after-school project based in camp Boujdour. Our fundraising goal for 2025 is £45,000.

View or download the Info Pack below to find out everything you need to know about doing the Sahara Marathon in 2025. Also find out how your fundraising efforts will make a difference and how you could participate for free!
View Info Pack
So, what are you waiting for?
Fill out the form below to register, return the form by email, and start training for the race of the year!
Registration Form
BONUS FOR EARLY BIRDS! Anyone registering early to run with Sandblast before June 1st, 2024 will receive a free Sandblast running T-shirt and cap as well as a CD of the amazing Sandblast-produced album Sandtracks by the camp-based Saharawi band Tiris!
"Unforgettable mentally and physically. I would recommend this journey to anyone as it changes your point of view."
- Tomasz Laczny, Sahara Marathon participant
What We Need from Our Runners
If you run on behalf of Sandblast, our hope is that you can raise at least £1000. But, if you raise £2001 or more then we will start covering some of the costs of your trip. And,  if you raise more than £3000, you will basically go for free.  Imagine, if we get 22 people joining the race who raise over £3000 each we will reach our fundraising goal!
£1000
the minimum amount runners are asked to fundraise
£2001
Sandblast will cover the runner's registration fee and £300 towards trip costs
£2501
Sandblast will cover all your trip costs except the return flight to and from Spain
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).
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Registered Charity (England and Wales) :1115288 | Companies House Registration number : 05397223
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