Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What kind of people run the MDS???

For those of you wondering who and what kind of people run a race like the Marathon des Sables in the next 2 weeks you will get a really good idea:)

Bottom line is this: people from all walks of life. People of all shapes and sizes!!

This year Dreamchaser's has over 80 running in the 23rd year of the MDS. Two sisters (twins) from NYC both lawyers who will walk the entire race. Kay from Thailand who took this challenge on because I put the carrot in front of her to do something adventurous for her 50th Birthday.
The stories will all unfold in the next 2 weeks.

On Monday most going over to run the MDS boarded a plane to Ouarzazate, Morocco, they are all there safe and sound. The weather in Ouarzazate is going to be high 80 this week. Once the runners reach the desert it could get as hot as 110-120!!!!

Below is an overview of the race!

The Marathon Des Sables (or MDS) is a 145 mile, seven-day stage race conceived and organized by Frenchman Patrick Bauer and Atlantide Organisation Internationale.

While the event can be very demanding if you are racing, the daily time cut-offs are generous enough to allow someone to power-walk the entire 145 miles.

Consequently, it is not necessary to be an elite runner to take part in the Marathon Des Sables.
During the event, competitors run on foot through some of the most beautiful, remote sections of the Moroccan Sahara while carrying a backpack with essential gear, food, sleeping bag and clothing for the week.

The race organizers provide water (generally 9 liters per day) and a traditional, two-sided Berber tent each night for sleeping during the seven days of racing.

There are six stages over the seven days, with the first three daily stages set around 20 miles each. The fourth stage is around 50 miles; the fifth stage is always a full marathon of 26.2 miles, and the sixth (and last) stage is from 9-12 miles.

Runners are typically given 40 hours to complete the 50 mile stage, with most finishing the stage in one day. This essentially provides most people with a rest day in between the 50 mile stage and the Marathon stage. Each year brings a new course, which is not revealed until two days before the race.

The terrain at the MDS is not all giant sand dunes. In fact, most of the course is run over salt flats, dried up river beds, rocky desert plains, and ancient, dried up lakes. And, it is not uncommon for the course to wander through a remote desert village. The course is usually well marked and all competitors receive a "Road Book" which provides an official course description for each stage.

Temperatures can be extreme, with possible daytime highs reaching 125°F and night-time lows of 38°F. Additionally, the occasional sandstorm can add to the mix. Thus, competitors should be prepared for anything.


There is a full-time staff of professionally trained doctors that follows the race, however, each competitor is required to carry at all times a snake bite kit, emergency blanket, signal mirror and distress flare. The Medical Team is highly trained and is fully equipped to treat heat-related illnesses, blisters and other medical emergencies that might arrive over the course of the seven days. Should the need arise for serious medical treatment during the event, the Race Organization can utilize their helicopter to assist with an emergency evacuation.

I hope you will DANCE..all who will run the MDS sure are:)

Don't put things off that you really want to do...take action. Either find a way or make one!!!

This was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend. The last line says it all.

Dear Bertha,

I'm reading more and dusting less.

I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.

I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure.

I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market.

My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries.

I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.

"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary.

If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted.

I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles.

I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.

I'm guessing; I'll never know. It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited.

Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days.

Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them.

I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special.

Every moment is a gift from God!

Run, walk..what ever it takes....enjoy your journey and your adventure and don't put it off for another day!



Anonymous said...

Wow, Lisa...thanks for the information. Just curious about the taper for a race like this? Will the Dreamchaser's be running at all in the days leading up to the race? And what about those who have been training in cold places like Canada...can they do anything in the next few days (before the race starts) to acclimate to the heat? Good luck to all the Dreamchaser's!!!

Becky said...

Incredible reminder to seize the day, the hour, and even the minute! All the MDS participants are certainly doing this! Best wishes to all of them. Do you know if there's a way to get messages to them during the race? I thought I heard that they could receive emails ... just wanted to send good vibes & cheers to the Death Valley "campers" who are out there living the dream!

Meredith said...

Good luck Dreamchasers!!!! I will be excited to watch the stories unfold. Thank you Lisa for sharing this with us :)

Anonymous said...

I'm very glad to see your father is home again, he
must feel very supported by all your love.

I'm very well and enjoying life in a snowy Chamonix,
still running and training, though this year's main
outdoor goal is to pass my Mountain Leader assessment.
I miss your coaching though, I'll be back in the
future! Still it's great to follow your blog and
newsletters, good luck to all Dreamchasers in the MdS,
one day perhaps I'll be there too.


Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Peopl who have been running in cold places have been running in snow storms and the snow, this is very much like running in a sand storm and the sand:)
Most have been using saunas to train or using more layers of clothing to train.
All of the Dreamchasers will be doing 2-3 short runs before the race, 40 min., 30 min. and then 20 min.!
It is going to be one amazing race this year!

M said...

Hi There!

It's M here in Ouarzazate, and a bunch of us folks were whispering among ourselves that we simply couldn't imagine doing this race without having gone to the Dreamchasers camp or having Lisa coach. I can't stress enough how crucial it is! It almost seems like an unfair advantage to use all of Lisa & Jay's knowledge and encouragment.

I'll report more after the race!

Becky said...

Thanks for the GREAT post, Lisa! Some really good things to think about.

And nice picture, with the circle! I hope it's ok that I am using a copy of that on my and Jeff's blog.

Thanks for all your help getting Jeff to this point. It's been really nice knowing he has guidance from someone so experienced with this event.

leigh said...

hi Lisa, i am reqlly enjoying meeting all of your students here in OZZ! we had a great little run thins morning with so,e really fasr friends of yours. we leave in the morning and i am so nervous and excited all at the same time! i am so glad to be here!!!! bye Leigh

Anonymous said...

All is well here in Morroco. Looks like we have an incredibly fit group this year. Everyday is Groundhog Day - sunny and hot. I have already met many wonderful people from all over the world. That is such a wonderful part of this race. As usual the food is terrific (I am eating a lot now knowing what is to come) and everything has been wonderfully organized by Jay. All the hard work is about to pay off. Cannot wait to have at it. I am so much more prepared this time, there are no unkowns. My next communication will be when I have a medal around my neck.
Ed Kelly