Amidst shoving, thirsty athletes, and a failing organization, the Rabat International Marathon turned into a scandal.

Chaos unworthy of an international event

Morocco: The Rabat International Marathon, which took place on April 30, 2023, was supposed to be a prestigious sporting event showcasing Moroccan athletics. However, this sixth edition was marred by surreal and humiliating scenes: exhausted Moroccan athletes fighting to get a few mini-water bottles. The Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation, the event’s organizer, had promised massive participation, with 40,000 participants from over 40 countries.

It seems that the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation failed to fulfill its commitments, particularly in terms of organization and logistics. Videos shared on social media show athletes in distress, struggling to get one or two mini-water bottles, highlighting a glaring lack of preparation.

Organization adrift

While the athletes answered the call, the organization left much to be desired, causing deep indignation among local sportspeople. A Moroccan athlete spoke about his deplorable experience: “I paid 100 dirhams for a bib and ran 40 km, only to find myself at the finish line alone, without a drop of water or even a banana or apple. It’s a humiliation for the Moroccan flag.” Faced with this chaotic situation, the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation continues to boast about the marathon’s “success”, ignoring the growing protests on social media.

The organization clearly failed to provide the minimum conditions to ensure the safety and comfort of participants, especially in terms of hydration and supplies. Numerous accounts from Moroccan and foreign runners report a total absence of water points along the route, even though supplies are crucial for the success and safety of a marathon.

Consequences for Moroccan athletics

This organizational failure raises questions about the competence of the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation and, more broadly, the management of sports in Morocco. Although the country has produced world-class athletes, this kind of event tarnishes the image of Moroccan athletics and may discourage future talents.

The consequences for the organizers could be significant, particularly in terms of credibility and financial support. Sponsors and partners may be reluctant to support future events organized by the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation, fearing their image will be associated with similar scandals. It is therefore crucial for the federation to learn from this debacle and implement measures to prevent such a disaster from happening again.

Silence from the Royal Palace

The Rabat International Marathon was held under the high patronage of King Mohammed VI, raising questions about the Royal Palace’s reaction to this sports scandal. So far, no statement has been made, leaving room for doubt about a possible stance. Criticism continues to grow, and it is increasingly difficult for authorities to turn a deaf ear.

The Royal Palace’s silence could be interpreted as a sign of support for the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation or, on the contrary, as a mark of distance from a scandalous event. In any case, the Royal Palace’s reaction will be closely watched, as it could influence subsequent events and how the country will approach organizing international sports competitions in the future.

In conclusion, this sixth edition of the Rabat International Marathon will go down in history as an example of what not to do when organizing sporting events. Moroccans and international athletes deserve better, and it’s time for organizers to take responsibility and learn from their mistakes. It is essential that the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation and Moroccan authorities take concrete steps to restore confidence and improve the image of Moroccan athletics, so the country can continue to shine on the international sports stage.