Ultra-runner loses 14 kg in Sahara marathon

By Apoorva Talwalkar 2 December 2013
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Record-breaking Aussie runner faced life-threatening conditions in desert marathon.

SIX DAYS AND 250 km later, Aussie Stuart Gibson has finished in the top 12 of the Marathon des Sables. This incredibly demanding marathon has over 1000 runners from 43 different countries, running across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Competitors are up against not only their own physical boundaries but the demands of the desert as well.

Gibson finished the marathon in a time of 25 hrs, 31 min, 45 sec, placing 11th and becoming the highest placed Australian in the event’s history. Originally a Scot, but now an Australian citizen, Gibson had to carry his own food and equipment during the race, with only water begin supplied. He lost 18 per cent of his body weight during the race.

The 33 year-old is a senior mechanical engineer for AE Smith, who were also his sponsors for the event. Alongside training for the marathon — running between 150 to 180 km per week — Stuart also raised money for AE Smith’s nominated charity, Ronald McDonald House.

Melburnian Gibson took on the heat and hellish conditions of the Sahara, and exceeded even his own expectations to emerge triumphant.

The Sahara race, which had been a dream of Stuart’s since childhood, is known as the world’s toughest footrace. The distance is equivalent to over five regular marathons, and competition takes place in temperatures of up to 48°C. It runs annually, and registration is open to anyone.