In previous years we have arranged packages for friends and family members to travel to Morocco and stay in Ouarzazate over the weekend of the finish of the race. We have helped with flights, transfers and accommodation, but those wanting to go to the finish line arranged their own taxis or hire cars to get there.
For the MdS 2012 we decided we would like to do more to help, so we put together a package including a return air-conditioned mini bus from Ouarzazate to the finish line.
The location of the finish line is not made public until the race starts, so we had just a few days notice to make final arrangements with the mini bus company and let our passengers have their final itinerary.
The 2012 MdS was set to finish in Merzouga – a good 6 hour drive from Ouarzazate! We kept a careful watch on the progression of the race, and soon realised that several of the competitors our friends and family members were supporting were well into the top 200 runners, with one of them being in the British number one spot and 25th overall which was fantastic!! This meant that we needed to get our passengers to the finish line by 11am which was when the fastest runners were expected to start crossing. We decided that the buses should leave Ouarzazate at 4am to give them time for rest stops if necessary, and allowing them 7 hours to get to Merzouga.
With final itineraries sent to all passengers, two air-conditioned mini-buses with excellent English speaking drivers booked to pick up our 22 passengers from Ouarzazate at 4am on the 14th April, packed lunches arranged for all and cool boxes aboard the buses with complimentary iced water, all was set to go. The drivers arrived on time (as did the passengers!), and the buses set off on their 6 hour drive to Merzouga.
The final leg of the race was 16kms, and was due to start at 10am with the slower runners getting a head start. We were back in the office eagerly awaiting the start of the race so that we could watch the live feed on the organisers website (www.darbaroud.com) to see how our competitors were doing. Imagine our utter horror when we realised the race had started 50 minutes earlier than scheduled and our 1st competitor was due to cross the finish line at about 10.15 am!! A quick phone call to one of the mini-bus drivers allayed our worst fears as he told us they were already there – PHEW!!!
All 22 of our passengers were able to watch their loved ones cross the finish line – an amazing and emotional experience for everyone. We can only imagine how it must have felt to the competitors to see their friends and family cheering them on at the end of the most gruelling race they will probably ever compete in – total elation for sure!
We have received some lovely feedback from our friends and family members – thank you all for taking the time to write! We are thrilled that all went well, and are looking forward to next years race. (link to feedback)
Our huge congratulations to all of the competitors of the MdS 2012 for competing in this extraordinary race, and to our friends and family members for making it extra special by being at the finish line for their loved ones.
Booking for the MdS 2013 friends and family packages
At the start of the race on the 8th April 2012 we had 12 friends and family members confirmed, but as the race progress we picked up another 10 passengers once word had got around that we were offering this service.
Unfortunately at this late stage flights were very expensive and hotel accommodation scarce in Ouarzazate, so late comers easily paid twice as much as those who had booked several month in advance.
We strongly recommend those wishing to travel to the finish line of the 2013 MdS book in plenty of time to ensure reasonably priced flights and to secure your accommodation at the Berbere Palace hotel in Ouarzazate.
Feedback from 2012 Family and Friends
I just wanted to send a quick email to thank you for your fantastic organisation in arranging the mini bus to get Lisa to the finish. I know you have asked her for specific feedback and she will email but I just wanted to say that you’ve been great and I only wish I’d known about you to have booked her whole trip through you – Best of Morocco were somewhat disappointing in their communication, organisation and pick ups.
I had the most amazing time – far exceeded my expectations. It’s a truly incredible event and it was the spirit of it that really got to me. But, a once in a lifetime event – I hope! it was the best thing I’ve ever done but I wouldn’t want to repeat it, far too daunting. But I am sure we will go back to Morocco and you will be our first point of call for booking.
Quite a few of the competitors were interested as to how Lisa had managed to get to the finish line and I think would have been interested in getting friends and family out there so do make sure through next year’s organisers that people know about your service.
A quick note to let you know everything went well last weekend at the MDS. You did an amazing job in organising it! The mini bus was impeccable and the driver was great. The road to the finish line was of ravishing beauty. My partner finished in the 147th position and he enjoyed the marathon very much. The finish line was packed with emotion, in such a magical setting. The next day there was a ceremony which rewarded many categories. Also the Riad Salam is a very pittoresque hotel that I very much liked!
Thank you so much, it wouldn’t have been the same without your amazing talent!
With my best regards
Great to go to the finish line with other supporters and it was a bonus not to have to drive ourselves. Our driver was brilliant.