Runners ready for Marathon des Sables

One of the world's toughest endurance events kicks off on Friday

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Five-time winner Rachid El Morabity is back to defend his title at the 33rd edition of the Marathon des Sables, which begins on Friday (April 6). 

One of the world's toughest footraces will see more than 1000 participants run mainly self-supported across the Moroccan desert, covering 250km in six stages.

The ultrarunners must carry all their own food plus mandatory safety equipment and sleeping bags.

Rachid El Morabity, the winner in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 is a strong favourite. His younger brother Mohamed El Morabity, who was second last year, plus former double London Marathon winner Abdelkadir El Mouziz are are included a strong home challenge.

On the women's side, Russia's 2016 winner Natalia Sedykh is back and highly tipped to prevail again.