Run the Sahara 2016

Race date: Feb 23, 2016 (Leave London Feb 21-return Feb 28)

Was it what I expected? Would I go back? Would I recommend it? More. Yes. Unreservedly! Mar Garvey, 2011 participant

Run the Sahara is Sandblast’s annual awareness and fundraising 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 coordinator, 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.

When you register to join the Sahara Marathon through Sandblast, it helps support our exciting Studio-Live project. This music initiative is providing skills training, resources and expertise 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 70 people have run for Sandblast and helped raised over £35,000.

2016: OUR  GOAL

To raise £20.000 to expand Studio-Live training facilities to the other camps and to set up sustainably run recording studios.

Our goal in 2016 is to create three studio spaces and equip them with donated materials from the London College of Music, and launch our two year training program. 

We will create a small training centre in the camp of Boujdour next to the Saharawi National Music School and build other studio spaces in the other camps of Auserd and Al-Auin where we are partnering with local groups interested in developing professional music skills. Each studio center will cost  £5.000 and the rest of funds will be used to provide training by our locally trained sound engineers.

In sum the funds raised will enable us to:

a) Build three studio spaces from scratch (£5.000 each)

b) Transport equipment donated by the London College of Music to the camps

c) Provide salaries for a locally trained sound engineer to provide training for new students

So as you can see, running for us will make a vital difference to us achieving this goal!


Photo montage by Amanda Seymour

Sahara Marathon

The Sahara Marathon takes place in the Algerian Sahara in the Saharawi refugee camps near Tindouf. 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. Not to be confused with the Marathon des Sables, in Morocco, the Sahara Marathon is organized by the Saharawi refugees and volunteers from around the world. 

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 70 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 30 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 and was Africa’s junior champion, 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 by UK- based filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky can be obtained for screening  on request.

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