Merrell Team | April 16, 2019

Merrell Ambassadors Ragna Debats and Mirna Valerio compete in Marathon De Sables, a 6-stage ultra race through the Sahara Desert

In her debut at the event, Merrell Ambassador and ultrarunner Ragna Debats placed 1st for women’s and 12th overall in the 34th Marathon De Sables (MDS) last week. Additionally, Merrell Ambassador Mirna Valerio completed Stage 1 of the ultra race and was invited to attend the event as media.
Both women were wearing a special, desert-approved shoe that Merrell created specifically for them and this race. The MTL Long Sky is a trail runner launching in Spring 2020. This specific shoe was all white (to repel sun) and made of a material that keeps sand out.
MDS is a 6-stage ultra race through Morocco’s Sahara Desert. This multiday race is 251km (156mi) long; runners traverse approximately 6 marathons over the course of 6 days. Known for its rocky & sandy terrain, expansive rolling dunes, and wild temperature shifts, it has been called “the toughest foot race on Earth.”
Last year, International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) awarded Ragna the highest skyrunning accolade one can receive: the title of female World Champion in both Sky and Overall categories. After consistently stellar performances in the Skyrunning® World Series, ISF’s official race circuit, Ragna earned this title alongside Kilian Jornet, who received the honor for men’s.
“I’m very happy and proud and grateful for this incredibly beautiful experience,” Ragna reflected after the win.
What’s next for Ragna? She’s got a hefty race schedule this year which includes Transvulcania, Mont Blanc Marathon, Pike’s Peak Marathon, ISF World Championship, and many more.