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Sahara Marathon

Sports Action, third prize stories



Participants in the Sahara Marathon run past the sole tree to be found along the many kilometers of their route. The marathon is an international sports event organized to show support and raise funds for the Sahrawi people. The Sahrawis have been living in refugee camps in southwestern Algeria for 30 years, following post-colonial conflict in the region. The marathon has been run annually since 2000 along a route between three of the camps, and attracts hundreds of participants from all over the world. In addition to a standard-distance marathon there are shorter races and one for children. Runners sometimes have to battle against sandstorms of up to 120km per hour, and at times cannot easily see where they are going.


Commissioned by: El Mundo / Sahara Marathon

Photo Credit: Benito Pajares

Benito Pajares is a Spanish photojournalist (born in Palencia, lives in Valencia) who has been involved in numerous documentary works around the world.

Benito Pajares Alonso was born in Palencia, but for many years resident in Valencia. Self-taught training his beginnings in photography were freelance but for more than 15 years he has been working in the edition of the newspaper El Mundo in the Valencian Community.

For several years he has traveled all over the world trying to make photo reports, especially of social type, wanting to transmit in them the needs of the most disadvantaged countries, such as India, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, Madagascar, Bolivia, Niger, Indonesia, etc., having collaborated in some of them with some NGOs of the Valencian Community

In 2006, he won a third prize in the prestigious World Press Photo with a series of photographs taken in the Saharawi territories of Tindouf in Algeria during a desert marathon. He has made numerous exhibitions and has published his photos in different Spanish magazines.


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