January 22, 2015
To adventure-seekers and surfing enthusiasts, Dakhla is best known as a premier kite- and wind-surfing destination, having hosted the 2013 Kite Boarding World Cup. Next month, though, the desert beach town in southern Morocco will serve as the backdrop of a different kind of competition: La Saharienne.
No, it’s not a Project Runway episode themed after Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic women’s utility jacket.
La Saharienne is a grueling 6-day race where women will canoe, bike and run against the clock in groups of two— encountering surprise challenges along the way. When not camping under the stars, they will be staying at Dakhla Attitude—the former home of the Kite Boarding World Cup. The race will benefit the nonprofit K’D’Urgences, which provides support and services to single mothers. Four additional nonprofits of the race participants’ choosing will also receive proceeds from the event.
When veteran marathoner Bruno Pomart organized the Raid Solid’Air in 2007—a race from Senegal to Paris—the goal was to bring school supplies to Moroccan students along the way, and introduce them to the value of sports, hard work and community. A portion of that trip brought the racers through Western Sahara, and amazed by the beauty of the landscape, he decided to plan a similar race in Dakhla.
That Dakhla continues to attract international races, rallies and championships—the 2015 Kite Boarding World Cup will again be held at Dakhla Attitude—is a testament not just to the region’s natural beauty, but to Morocco’s commitment to developing the port town as a tourist destination. Both rugged and humanitarian-minded, La Saharienne is a perfect fit.