Meghan Hicks of Park City, Utah took control of the race during the long fourth stage and coasted to victory in the grueling 150-mile six-stage event held in Morocco’s Sahara Desert. Defending women’s champion Laurence Klein of France succumbed to extended nausea and dropped during the 48-mile fourth stage, which competitors are given 48 hours to complete. Hicks cruised to a stage win in 8 hours 45 minutes and took a commanding lead of over an hour heading into the fifth and final counting stage. A short sixth stage is now largely ceremonial.
Mohammad Ahansal of Morocco won the overall race for the fifth time, besting Salameh Al Aqra of Jordan, who was runner-up for the second straight year.
1. Meghan Hicks, Park City, Utah, 24:42:01
2. Joanna Meek, Great Britain, 25:41:01
3. Zoe Salt, Great Britain, 27:03:58
4. Sophie Grant, New Zealand, 28:55:47
5. Amelia Watts, Great Britain, 29:23:28
1. Mohammad Ahansal, Morocco, 18:59:35
2. Salameh Al Aqra, Jordan, 19:41:15
3. Migeul Capo Soler, Spain, 20:19:31
4. Antonio Filippo Salaris, Italy, 20:22:26
5. Aziz El Akad, Morocco, 20:37:02
Photo: Meghan Hicks en route to winning the fourth stage (courtesy Marathon des Sables)