Editor’s Note – CNN’s series often carry sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However, CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Our sponsorship policy. When Greek messenger (CNN) – Pheidippides burst into Athens in 490 BC, having run the first marathon, he probably never imagined his superhuman effort would one day be considered passé.
Race manager Ole Brom oversaw of the health and wellbeing of the athletes. Running these distances across energy-sapping sand amounts to an extreme sport, the Norwegian told CNN, and “not something that is taken on lightly.”
“On the first day after about 40 km, about 12 km from the end, (one athlete) collapsed unconscious,” says Brom. “He ignored the signs of dehydration and he suffered the consequences. “Stretches of the race, including one 100-kilometer leg, were only accessible by air for first responders, explained event director Ruth Dickinson. Athletes wore tracking devices and distress beacons and carried anti-venom pumps in case of snake bites.