Run the Sahara

Run the Sahara 2014 will take place on February 24, 2014. Watch this space for updates about exact trip dates!

Photo montage by Amanda Seymour

Run the Sahara is Sandblast’s annual awareness and fund-raising event. It promotes the Sahara Marathon, a unique and inspiring international running event that takes place in aid of the Saharawi refugees. You can choose to run a full marathon, a half marathon, 10km or 5km. If you don’t like to run, but would like to join, you are welcome to walk instead.

As the official UK facilitator, Sandblast’s role is to take the headache out of organizing the week- long trip to participate in the Sahara Marathon. Along with providing logistical support, we organize a special educational/cultural programme to enrich your experience during your stay. Click here to download our INFO PACK 2014.

When you register to join the Sahara Marathon through Sandblast, it helps support our projects in the camps to empower the refugees through the arts. Over the next few years, your participation will help us raise money for our exciting Studio-Live project. This music initiative aims to facilitate the creation of a local music industry from scratch in the camps and give the wonderful voices and talent there a chance to reach international audiences. Since 2009, close to 50 people have run for Sandblast and helped raised over £35,000.

2014: OUR  GOAL

For the 2014 event we hope to get at least 20 participants to join us to help raise £20,000 towards assembling 5 mobile sound recording studios, one for each of the five refugee camps, to enable us to expand the scope and impact of Studio-Live’s mission. We are also raising money to hold music talent competitions in the camps. Running for us will make a vital difference to achieving this goal!

Photo montage by Amanda Seymour

Sahara Marathon

Not to be confused with the Marathon des Sables, in Morocco, the Sahara Marathon takes place in the Algerian Sahara in the Saharawi refugee camps near Tindouf. It is organized by the refugees and volunteers from around the world. The event was born out of a desire to find a way to help raise the visibility of the Saharawi plight as well as funds for projects to improve the lives of the long-term refugees.

The first Sahara Marathon took place in 2001 and every year has been attracting growing numbers of participants from around the globe. Since 2009, over 50 UK runners have registered through Sandblast to participate in the Sahara Marathon. The UK runners are joined by runners from all over the world from over 20 countries. Generally up to 400 or  so runners join internationally. An equal number of Saharawis also usually participate.

The story of a freedom runner

Salah Amaidan, a Saharawi who grew up under the Moroccan occupation, is the local star who annually competes in the 5km and 10km races.  He won 3 gold medals for Morocco but in 2003 became a political refugee in France and has been running for the freedom of his homeland ever since. A film about his life called THE RUNNER will soon be released by UK based filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky.

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