Does competing in MdS mean being cut off from your loved ones or sponsors? No. Satellite phone facilities (and the occasional mobile reception) mean you can stay in touch – by phone or email – directly from the desert.
Satphone calls cost approximately €3 a minute, using cash or a credit card.
Emails are free but limited to one per day up to 1,000 words, text only to a single recipient.
However, friends and family can SEND messages TO you during the race, via the dedicated page on the organisers’ website. These must contain your runner’s name and number. This service is only available from the Saturday before the race starts until midday on the penultimate day.
Another option is to buy a Moroccan SIM card with pay-as-you-go credit. Maroc Telecom, Meditel and Inwi are the main brands. Maroc Telecom usually has the best coverage. 100dhs (around £8) will buy you enough data for the race. The pay-as-you-go cards are scratch cards – message 555 and enter the number on the card. If you want data ONLY, put *3 after the number. If you want calls and messages too, just enter the number.
Be aware that the signal is intermittent and there are NO charging facilities. Want to use a solar charger? Here are some good options.
Please note that mobile phones may NOT be used on the course or in the bivouac, out of consideration for others. You must walk away from the camp or step off the course if you want to make or receive a call.
You should also warn your friends and family that there are normally two or three days during the race when there is no mobile reception and they will be unable to contact you in this way during that time.