Endurance Adventure: Morocco is a multi-day running adventure in which you will be pushed by mileage, challenged by terrain, immersed in culture and enchanted by a diversely beautiful country.
Test your endurance as you cover 130km in 5 days through surreal desertscapes, idyllic meadows and snow-capped peaks. High-five local kids and be cheered on by shepherds as you navigate rugged High Atlas mule trails and villages that are only accessible on foot.
Get your hands dirty as you learn about the the daily tasks required of life in a traditional Berber village, where time seems to stand still. Go hard every day, knowing that a delicious Moroccan feast and comfortable, unique accommodation await you each night so that you can recover and go hard again tomorrow. And of course, prizes are awarded to those who complete it all.
ENDURANCE ADVENTURE: MOROCCO is co-produced by FUEGO Y AGUA ENDURANCE and Rogue Expeditions. Rogue Expeditions is a unique Austin, Texas -based adventure travel company that creates run-centric vacations around the world. Itineraries are designed to combine unique, authentic travel experiences with organized, supported daily runs in unforgettable places.
A $500 deposit secures your spot, and the total cost depends upon signup date. *Balances due by November 26, 2016. Registrations after that date will be required to be paid in full.
Standard Pricing (through November 26, 2016): $2,395 USD
Late Pricing (After November 26, 2016): $2,550 USD
Early Arrival package: $150 USD
Arrive a day early for extra time to sleep off the jet lag and explore Marrakech! Includes airport pickup, accommodation, and breakfast the following morning.
Private room upgrade: $325 USD
Gives you your own room for all six nights. Note that one night is tent camping, in which case you will have your own tent.
Climb Jebel Toubkal: $400 USD
Extend your trip with a climb up Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa (4167m), beginning on the final day of the standard trip. Price includes all meals, snacks & water, one night accommodation in mountain refuge, one night accommodation in 4-star guesthouse, experienced local mountain guide, a mule + mule driver to transport your gear & airport transfer.
There will be a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 18 runners. Spots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so early deposits are recommended!
An ultra-running background is not necessarily required, but strong distance running abilities, at least some experience on trail and a sense of adventure is a must!
All participants must arrive in Marrakech no later than Sunday, March 26, 2016 (there is no time requirement, though an earlier arrival allows more time to explore Marrakech) and depart no earlier than 10:00am on Saturday, April 1, 2016.
American Airlines & Iberia Airlines are the main operators for participants flying from the US. Flights generally route through Dallas (DFW), Chicago (ORD) or JFK to Madrid (MAD), then on to Marrakech (RAK).
NOTE: A night in Madrid on the return is a nice way to break up the journey!
Participants will need a passport with at least 6 months of validity left. No visas or vaccinations are required for US or EU citizens in Morocco, though you may want to consider some standard vaccinations if you are a first-time traveler.
DAY 1: Arrive in Marrakech, where we will pick you up from the airport and take you to a beautiful riad in the city center. Spend the afternoon experiencing the sensory overload of this ancient city: explore the maze-like medina, test your bargaining skills in the souks and check out the performers & snake charmers of the D’jemma el Fna. Wrap it up with a big welcome dinner and a good night of sleep - you’ve got a big week ahead. No running
DAY 2: After breakfast we’ll hit the road, heading out of the city and towards the towering High Atlas mountains. Soon we’ll begin the first run, which follows a dirt road that connects Berber mountain villages; take in dramatic views and get a firsthand look at village life as you pass through. Finish with a picnic lunch and a drive to Ait ben Haddou, home of a UNESCO World Heritage Site kasbah that has served as a set for many films. Climb up to the watchtower for sunset then enjoy a big dinner at a family-run guesthouse. 30km, dirt road
DAY 3: Pack up and continue south through the Rose Valley and into a beautiful canyon whose bright green gardens contrast sharply with the barren rock formations above. The run begins in a small village and takes us though a surreal, other-wordly landscape where you’ll glimpse caves that many Berber nomads still call home. Eventually we’ll drop into the cool, lush Dades Valley for stunning views and a final climb to our guesthouse, where big views and a big meal await. 20km, 4x4 track with last 5K on pavement
DAY 4: Beginning at a dramatic mountain pass, the run takes us along a gorgeous singletrack trail towards the Zat Valley. Pass through small villages that are only accessible on foot, and cover everything from rocky ridgeline and pristine meadows to canyon descents and river crossings. After a hard final climb, meet our crew in a tiny village that will be home for the night. Gear will be brought by mule, dinner will be served by our chef and everyone will be able to gather and relax inside the gite (a basic but cozy travelers shelter) before heading right outside to sleep under the stars in tents. 30km, single track trail & 4x4 track
DAY 5: Wake up to a stunning view outside your tent, then set out for a magical run into the Ourika Valley. Get ready for idyllic meadows filled with sheep, waterfalls, dramatic mountain views and no other people save for a few shepherds. At the finish you’ll find a village, a river, a rather wobbly bridge and our transport. We then transfer to Imlil, a beautiful mountain town full of apple orchards and sparkling rivers that serves as a base for many High Atlas trekkers. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon and evening spent at a gorgeous riad with huge views of the surrounding peaks. 21km, single track trail
DAY 6: Wake up in Imlil for our final run, packed with sweeping views of rivers, orchards, towering peaks and terraced farmland. Once complete, the rest of the day is free for relaxing, icing the legs in the river or browsing the village shops. The days ends with our final dinner and awards for those who have completed everything that we’ve put in front of them. 30km, trail & 4x4 track
DAY 7: After breakfast, pack up and head to Marrakech to catch flights home, or begin your ascent of Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4167m
DAY 7: Run or hike from Imlil to the mountain refuge where you will sleep for the night. You gear will be transported by mule and lunch & dinner will be waiting. 12km, singletrack trail
DAY 8: Wake up around 3:30 for a light breakfast, then begin the summit hike through rock and snow fields with an experienced local mountain guide. After a sunrise summit, begin your descent back to Imlil. Stop at the refuge for a snack and rest, then continue hiking or running all the way back the riad in Imlil for a meal and a well-deserved nap. 18km. Summit is at 4167m; no technical climbing required but some experience with technical footing at altitude is needed.
DAY 9: Breakfast then transfer to Marrakech for flights home.
NOTE: Packing light is strongly encouraged! Durable luggage (backpacks, duffles) is best; remember that it will be strapped on top of vehicles and traveling over sometimes dusty roads. Many people prefer to bring an extra empty bag to take Marrakech market finds back home.
Morocco is a little-known running paradise. Sweeping views, towering peaks, dramatic desertscapes, stunningly green palm oases and enough trails to keep you exploring for a lifetime. The culture is exotic and the hospitality overwhelming, the food is fresh, local, organic and delicious. Time seems to stand still in Morocco: you will see, learn and experience more than you ever imagined, and come away with not only physical accomplishments, but also memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
How far do I have to be able to run?
Endurance Adventure participants will cover 130km in 5 days on challenging terrain and at altitude (expect 12-20 miles each day). Though an ultra running background is not necessarily required, you will want to ensure that you have strong distance running abilities and at least some experience on trail. Experienced marathoners should be able to handle the volume.
What sort of terrain will we be running on?
The terrain will vary, but the footing will largely be dirt road and single track trail. You’ll find sublime meadows, rocky descents, some big climbs and probably a small river crossing or two.
What’s included in the trip cost?
The trip price includes pre-trip communication & guidance, airport transfers, all accommodation, all meals/snacks, coffee/tea/juice with breakfasts, water, transportation, drivers, experienced guides, organized, supported runs, cultural immersion experiences, a shirt and awards for those who complete everything. In short, just about everything is covered from the moment you land until the moment you leave!
What isn’t included in the trip cost?
The cost does not include flight, alcohol, tips or personal purchases (and trust us, you will find things to buy in Morocco!)
What time of day will be be running?
The time of day will vary depending on where we are and where we’re headed. Most days will involve some amount of drive time; and start times will vary between first thing in the morning and early afternoon. Meals and snacks are planned accordingly.
What will we do when we aren’t running?
These are full days: When we aren’t running, you’ll learn firsthand about Berber mountain culture, pitch in on village tasks, explore the markets, indulge in huge traditional meals and will be able to squeeze in just enough time for relaxation and recovery before your next big day.
What will the hotels be like?
Five nights will be spent in 3 and 4-star guesthouses, riads or restored kasbahs. You can expect clean, comfortable rooms, private bathrooms with hot showers, gorgeous Moroccan decor, phenomenal hospitality, tons of character and big views. These are family-run establishments and we will often fill the entire place. One night will be spent at a gite (traveler shelter) in a remote High Atlas village. There is a large, cozy indoor space for gathering and eating with fireplace and toilet, and participants will sleep right outside in comfortable tents (all gear provided).
What is the weather like?
Beautiful! In the mountains you can expect cooler temps (70s F/ 20s C during the day, 40-50 F/4-10 C at night) and dry air. The first two days will likely be warmer as we’ll be at lower elevations.
Can I have my own room at hotels?
Yep! The trip cost is based on double occupancy, but you are welcome to upgrade to a private room. Just select “Private Room Upgrade” during the signup process and enjoy your own room (or tent) each night. If you are a solo traveler who doesn’t mind sharing a room, we will arrange roommates prior to the trip (you’ll have separate beds).
What sort of food will we be eating?
Food is one of the biggest highlights when visiting Morocco! Our own Moroccan chef team travels with us and will provide healthy, fresh, traditional meals throughout the trip. A typical breakfast will include a spread of just-baked, clay-oven bread, pastries, local fruit jam, butter, cheese, eggs, coffee, mint tea and (literally) fresh-squeezed OJ. Lunches will typically be pre- and post-run spreads of fresh fruit, nuts, dates, bread, salads and grilled meat. Dinner is likely to feature couscous or a tajine – chicken, beef and lamb simmered in a clay vessel with an assortment of vegetables and spices – along with fresh bread, olives, light soup and fresh fruit. You won’t go hungry! Vegetarian/vegan meals can be accommodated.
What sort of vehicles will we be traveling in?
We will be traveling in well-maintained 4×4 vehicles.
Is it safe?
Very. Morocco is an extremely welcoming and friendly place, and one of the most laid-back and accepting Islamic countries in the world. Crime rates are much, much lower than in the US and as long as you exercise the same common sense you’d use at amywhere (ie don’t flash lots of cash or expensive items in tourist areas), you’ll be fine.
What should I pack?
Packing light will make everything easier for you, but there are some key things to bring along, Several sets of running clothes, trail running shoes, a few sets of non-running clothes, flipflops, one warm jacket, sunglasses, sunblock, reading material and a CAMERA are all recommended. A hydration pack is required. Conservative dress for both men and women is respectful and encouraged; a detailed packing list will be provided after you sign up!
Is alcohol allowed?
Yes, alcohol is allowed. Though most Moroccans do not drink alcohol and it can be difficult to find outside of the cities, it is by no means a banned substance and it is plenty acceptable for foreigners to imbibe at guesthouses. You will have the opportunity to ‘stock up’ before we depart Marrakech – the supermarkets have a great selection of liquor, beer and wine.
What are the tipping customs?
We will provide country-specific guidance and take a group collection when it comes to the local team (ie drivers, cooks, etc) involved with your trip. Tips for Rogue Expeditions & Fuego y Agua lead guides are always appreciated, and at your discretion.
If I change my mind or something comes up, can I cancel?
We know that life happens, and on occasion a participant will have to back out of a trip. As most of our costs are paid well in advance, we have set a cancellation policy that applies to all trips. Travel insurance is highly recommended to cover potential cancellations on your part.
If you cancel:
Is this a Rogue Expeditions trip, or a Fuego y Agua event?
It’s both! Endurance Adventure developed as a partnership between the two businesses, and is positioned somewhere between the “holiday” style of a typical Rogue Expeditions trip and the “brutality” style of FYAE events. Endurance Adventure is not designed for failure, but it is designed to be physically challenging and to offer a much more in depth immersion experience than a single day event can provide.