The Inaugural Marathon des Sables X-BIONIC Women’s International Team 2017 is Announced:
Jenny Davis, ex-elite swimmer and triathlete and now adventurer and X-BIONIC endurance athlete has united with three other elite trail runners to form a world first - the inaugural women’s international team taking part in the Marathon des Sables.
“Team X-BIONIC” was put together over the course of this year by Team Captain, Jenny Davis, and is made up of two elite British runners and two elite Moroccan runners.
Jenny is a fierce supporter of encouraging women and girls to participate in sport and adventure, and firmly believes that creating more female role models in sport will help to inspire women all over the world to take on a challenge of their own.
She was inspired to create the team after spending time training in Morocco with Mohamed Ahansal (five times winner of the Marathon des Sables). His brother, Lahcen Ahansal has won the race eleven times and it was the brother’s celebrity status in Morocco that led Jenny to realise the power that lay in having equivalent female role models, not just in Morocco but worldwide:
“Taking part in such a globally recognised and famous race as the Marathon des Sables is an enormous achievement and I’m incredibly proud of the women’s team we’ve formed. There aren’t enough female role models in this sport and by coming together as a team we hope to help change that. We want to engage with as many women and girls as possible in the lead up to the race and get the support we need to help garner change” says Jenny.
The team is fundraising for Free to Run of which Jenny is a proud Ambassador of and their Just Giving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/womensinternationalteam
MEET THE TEAM
Jenny Davis (http://womensrunninguk.co.uk/inspiration/meet-october-cover-star/)
Lawyer-turned-pro-athlete, Jenny has an extensive background in sport and in the last few years has turned her focus to trail running, securing first female at this year’s Iran Silk Road 250km Ultramarathon.
With the help of Moroccan-based adventurer and journalist Alice Hunter Morrison and the Ahansal brothers, Jenny began her search for up and coming female runners in Morocco. The journey wasn’t easy and the difficulties Moroccan women faced in being encouraged or permitted to take part in running races such as this one became clear. She eventually recruited elite runners Aziza Raji and Didi Touda and, with three members in place, the team set about finding their second UK runner.
Hundreds of applications flooded in via www.mds2017.org (the process ended on 31 July), “The amount of applications we received was incredible and the applications inspiring. Every application I read would give me goosebumps and there has to be a way of harnessing all this interest. The team is currently in talks with race organisers and we hope to roll out the Marathon des Sables women’s team for at least the next five editions of the race and we’re on the lookout for future team captains, runners and sponsors who are keen to get involved with the team.” says X-BIONIC athlete Jenny.
Lizzie Wraith (https://lizziewraith.wordpress.com)
Lizzie is a runner with some incredible achievements under her belt - to name but a few, she raced for team GB in last year’s IAU Trail World Championships and was also 3rd female at the Dragon’s Back Race 2015:
“I am really passionate about encouraging women to participate in sport. I know how much sport has enriched and transformed my life and I really want other women to have the same opportunities to play, experiment, challenge themselves, gain confidence and make friends through participating in sport.” says Lizzie.
Aziza is not only taking the multi-day racing scene by storm but is a fantastic role model for Moroccan girls and inspiring so many to become more involved in sport. Aziza won the Trans Atlas Marathon last year, another Moroccan stage race which takes place in the Atlas Mountains. She was also second in the Oman Desert Marathon multi-day stage race after winning it in 2015. A 2h50mins marathon runner, she is a perennial Marathon des Sables favourite and many predict will be crowned the female champion at next year’s race.
Touda has twice been female champion at Marathon des Sables (23rd and 24th edition of therace). A remarkable achievement and after setbacks with injury in the last few years, Didi is back and more determined than ever. Didi has always struggled to carve out the concept of a professional female runner in such a conservative society and makes a fantastic role model for women everywhere.
MARATHON DES SABLES
The Marathon Des Sables (http://www.marathondessables.com) is known worldwide as the Toughest Footrace on Earth. It is six marathons in six days across the Sahara Desert, with a distance of 90-100km covered hallway through the race, known as the “Long Stage”.
Temperatures regularly reach 50 degrees C. The terrain is arduous with endless miles of sand dunes and salt flats, interspersed with rocky trails and high jebels (hills). Competitors are self sufficient and carry all their own food and equipment for the week.
- X-BIONIC https://www.x-bionic.com
- Raidlight http://www.raidlight.com/en/
- Extreme Adventure Foods https://www.extremeadventurefood.com
Please contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org