Marathon des Sables 2013 – Moroccan Mohamad Ahansal crosses the line with a cartwheel to be crowned winner of this year's Marathon des Sables (MDS).
Marathon des Sables 2013 – The MDS is a grueling multi-stage running event that covers more than 220 kilometers, and is held each year in the southern Moroccan Sahara.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Known as the world's toughest footrace, runners had to cover the equivalent of five and a half marathons over six stages -- including a non-stop leg of some 75 kilometers.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Attracting both novice and expert runners, the MDS is seen by many as the ultimate ultra-marathon.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – This year's event began last Sunday with the participation of a record 1,024 competitors.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Due to high demand, the race has to be entered several years in advance. This year, participants hailed from nearly 50 different countries.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Participants test both their bodies and minds as they traverse shifting sand dunes and punishing rocky plateaus in extreme heat that can reach 50C.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Competitors are provided with water and a tent but have to carry themselves all their equipment, including their food, in a rucksack.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Runners also have to brave the freezing nights in Sahara, a sharp contrast to the sweltering daytime temperatures.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Race founder and director Patrick Bauer encourages the competitors Sunday before they start the first stage of this year's edition.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Competitors receive treatment for their feet Thursday during the two-day 75.7 kilometer stage.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Putting the race together requires a plethora of resources, including 120,000 liters of mineral water, 6.5 kilometers of Elastoplast, 400 support staff, 270 berber and Saharan tents, 100 all-terrain vehicles, 19,000 compresses and 6,000 painkillers.
Marathon des Sables 2013 – Currently in its 28th consecutive year, the self-sufficient race has grown to become a major endurance event whose model has been copied by several other races.