Marco Olmo is a legend in so many ways but he is held in particular reverence by the Marathon Des Sables community. He has run the race, the toughest footrace on earth, six marathons in six days across the Sahara desert over twenty times. He continues, in his late sixties to maintain an elite pace and to finish at the forefront of the rankings.
As his fellow team mate, Harvey Lewis said about him, “Marco Olmo is very special. He has run this race 21 times. I want to be like him in 28 years! He is 68 years young and can out run anyone from my home town!”
In this year’s MdS, he came second in the team competition with Team I Run 4 Ultra and 30th in the overall rankings with a time of 29h 32 for the 258 km covered in the race.
We caught up with him just days after it had finished.
Q: How was the race for you? Can you give us a general overview of how it went?
A: This MdS has been very difficult for me due to the intense heat, the wind and the very demanding route. However there was a wonderful team spirit both in the tent and in the team.
Q: Were there any particularly tough moments and how did you overcome them?
A: The most difficult day was the longest one. I found it really tough both mentally and physically. In order to reach the end, I thought about my team and how I didn’t want to disappoint my fans. That is what helped me finish.
Q: Were you happy with your final position? (Marco came 30th out of a field of 1200 competitors) and how was it running with the team.
A: At the end of the race I was a bit disappointed with my final position, but now taking into consideration my age and the high level of competitors I am happy with it. Our team was very united and the atmosphere was wonderful.
Q: I know that on the last marathon stage, Harvey Lewis used you as his mentor and guide and followed everything you did. How was that for you?
A: Yes during the last stage, Harvey followed me like a shadow and was very loyal towards me. He never bothered me by running too close or by overtaking me. It was an honor to run with a great champion like Harvey.
Q: What were your feelings as you crossed the finish line?
A: It was very liberating finishing the race but above all I was just so incredibly happy to have finished for my team and all that it represents.
Thank you to Marco Olmo for his wonderful effort as part of Team I Run 4 Ultra and their efforts to raise awareness of ADHD.
Photographs by Dino Bonelli.