Rachid El Morabity won the 2011 Marathon des Sables and led the 2012 MdS until breaking his femur during the long stage. In the following interview, he talks about breaking his leg in last year’s race, his recovery, and how he’ll approach this year’s race.
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Rachid El Morabity Pre-2013 Marathon des Sables Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Good afternoon from the Sahara Desert. This is Meghan of iRunFar. I’m here with Rachid El Morabity. He is the 2011 champion of the Marathon des Sables. Bonsoir.
Rachid El Morabity: You are welcome. Bonsoir.
iRF: Thank you. And we are here with Lhoucine Akhdar. How are you?
Lhoucine Akhdar: Hello Meghan. I’m not bad. And you?
iRF: I’m well. Lhoucine is playing translator for us today to translate between English and Arabic. Thank you for being our translator.
Akhdar: You’re welcome, Meghan.
iRF: So it’s a nice afternoon here in the Sahara. We’re at a farm of Lhoucine’s and Rachid’s friend. It’s kind of been a windy day, so you might hear the wind blowing through our interview.
My first question for you, Rachid, the last time I saw you was last year at the Marathon des Sables and you were in first place, leading in the 2012 race. Then you became injured and you fractured your femur. I want to go back to that day and I want to hear about what happened. How did you become injured?
El Morabity: Thank you for coming to Zagora. Last year, I was in the first place. I felt good but had a problem with my legs in the long stage. Two kilometers before the end of the long stage, I felt a problem with my legs. I felt that I must stop the race. This year, I feel good for my legs.
iRF: During the long stage, how many kilometers did you have pain before he decided it was too much and you had to stop?
El Morabity: I felt my problem when I started the long stage last year.
iRF: No problems before?
El Morabity: No problems before. I started my long stage last year, but at 81k I knew I must stop the race. I was very ill with lots of pain.
iRF: As it turned out, your femur was fractured in the shaft. You were evacuated from the course and brought to medical at the finish line. The next day, you were evacuated from the whole race to Casablanca. I understand you had an operation and then some rehabilitation. I’d love to know what happened when he got to Casablanca.
El Morabity: In Casablanca, I stayed for one week in a clinic. I want to say thanks to all the doctors who helped me.
iRF: I understand you had a metal rod put in your femur?
El Morabity: I had an operation for my femur. Now, I have a metal rod in my femur.
iRF: I understand it took from April to November to rehabilitate your leg. After November you were able to run again?
El Morabity: I didn’t run from April to November. I started running in December.
iRF: Your training has been good without pain or issues from your leg?
El Morabity: I’m happy with my training since December. I slowly started to train and I try to pretend nothing happened. I feel good now.
iRF: Are you feeling bothered that I’m asking you about your leg then since you’re trying to forget?
El Morabity: I feel good now. I just try to forget.
iRF: Let’s forget the injury because we’re moving onto the 2013 race. You’re competing as an individual and as a team with three Frenchmen: Equip Transpole. Talk about your team and how you’re feeling about this year’s race.
El Morabity: I thank my French team and my friend, Fabian [Debaucheron], and I hope to have a good race this year.
iRF: My last question, we’re now five days from the start of the race. We’ll be starting on Sunday. In one and a half weeks, the race will be over. Who do you think will win this year’s race?
El Morabity: I think I’ll get to the start and feel good and I want to have a good race.
iRF: So you’re not calling a winner?
El Morabity: I hope to win this year. I trained hard for this. Inshallah.
iRF: Inshallah and with good health. I want to thank you for this interview and wish you good luck at the 2013 Marathon des Sables.
El Morabity: Thank you and good fortune to you!
iRF: Merci beaucoup. Thank you, Lhoucine, for the translation.