Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lisa on Live TV Thursday May 1st!!!!

A preview of today’s MDS segment is available on ESPN’s Outside the Line’s HOMEPAGE (upper right-hand corner)

I'm off to the taping!!!


Dear Family and Friends...guess I am tooting my own horn but I think you may enjoy this:)

I have been asked to be a guest on ESPN's Outside the Lines. The show is LIVE at 3:30 pm est, 12:30 pm pacific on ESHNHD and ESPN. The show will be this Thursday May 1st!!

They will have a segment on Jay after my interview. The coverage will be about the Marathon Des Sables.
What an honor.

A friend sent this email to me and these were questions I have asked: I will post again if I do find out this information or when.

What terrific coverage!! Talk to the producer of your segment and see if they'll let you give the URL of your web site, if they're going to post the interview online, and/or if they'll do a graphic ("chiron") of your web site URL to run during the interview. Also, see if they'll let you either link to the interview on their web site or post the video on your site (if you have that capability). Yeah! Best/Geri R

I would also would love for you to take a look at the women's Athleta web site when you get a chance. Great clothing and best darn running skorts:)

Happy day and much love Lisa
The Athleta Chi site is now publicly accessible! The direct link is (no login/password required). Feel free to explore, comment, take the polls, and share the link with your family, friends, colleagues, clients, etc. -- anyone who can help us test before we post a link on Post a comment:)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do you want to learn our secrets?

Good morning!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, we sure did. Sunny and over 90 degrees here everyday which makes for good heat training. I have been able to get some real quality runs in the past 2 weeks logging close to 20 hours on my feet. I have to say that I am running better and faster than I have in a few years and I feel it is due more to my cross training exercises that I do 3 days a week. YEAH!!!

Mother's day and father's day is approaching! A great gift to give to mom, dad or anyone for that mater is a gift to come to a training camp and learn all of our secrets!
We now have 3 camp dates set and many more to come very soon.
The 1st camp is in June in the Tetons.

Here is the link to find out details and dates on the camps.

We would love to have you!

Do you want to find the right running shoe?
If you have a low arch you're probably an overpronator ( your arches roll inward too much as you run). Support your arch with "motion control" or "stability" shoes.

If you have a high arch. You're probably an underpronator (your arches don't roll inward enough). Look for flexible shoes described as "cushioning."

If you have a normal arch.
You're a neutral runner (your foot rolls in just enough) and need shoes with basic stability control, usually called a "neutral" shoe.

Dream BIG!!!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Television Coverage of Dreamchasers at MDS – WATCH IT HERE!

Thanks so much to sweet Tess Geddes for making me aware of these links to television clips of Dreamchasers at Marathon des Sables.

Here you go – watch for yourself – so exciting!!!

Segment # 1
Features Marianne “Bunny” DeMarco, Jeff Arricale, Sandy McCallum & my husband Jay Batchen!

Segment # 2
Features Ted Archer (deep thoughts on cheeseburgers), Morgan Murri

Segment # 3
Features Clarissa Ward, ABC’s Moscow news correspondent offering her description of going to Morocco to cover the race.

ENJOY! And leave us some comments about these segments and amazing people!
My road to Badwater training is going ver well:) I will first run a 100 mile race in Florida May 17th. I was able to get 18 hours of running and walking in last week all with very big climbs and temps close to 90 or hotter each day. Things are looking good!
Have a great day

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

MDS Media Coverage Today

UPDATE: Some things for you to tune into today…

On ABC Television

The homepage of ABC News: Nightline features a great article called NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

We have been advised that the MDS segment will most likely air tonight on ABC World News with Charles Gibson , as well as on Nightline.

Check your local listings for the time this program airs in your neck of the world…and enjoy the programs.

Photo above:
Lahcen Ahansal with Jay at the 2008 MDS finish line.
Lahcen has won the race many times, but this year's victory went to his brother Mohammed.

On the airwaves (available online)

Listen to my husband Jay talk about MDS with Kevin at

Posted 23 April 2008 to EndurancePlanet: From Footwear to Friendships (Today on Endurance Planet we hear from *Marathon des Sables* finisher Jay Batchen who is back home without a blister but with some new friendships.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How did you become an ultrarunner?

As I get ready for Badwater, my thoughts always turn to the fact that Badwater was my first ultramarathon – back in 1995. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into…but I can say that after that, I was hooked. Here’s my story about how I started ultrarunning.

What’s yours?
How did you become an ultrarunner?

I’d love to know!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Watch and Listen to Two Mikes!

We have so many Mikes in our lives – we are blessed - here’s a little update about two of them!

MIKE SILTMAN: Last weekend, Mike Siltman finished the 150-mile McNaughton Park Trail Run. Watch this little video – it’s beautiful...his grit, determination, family love and support is what it is all about! Great going Mike!

So…do you want to know what it looks like to cross the finish line of a 150 mile non-stop ultramarathon? Click

MIKE WARDIAN: Mike was interviewed for . I love the intro that offers to the interview they recorded with Mike:
Can you run two marathons in one weekend and finish in the top-3 in both? Can you win the national 50k championship and the national 100k championship in the same year? 34-year-old Michael Wardian can answer "yes" to all the above. Today on Endurance Planet we hear from Wardian about his training and we learn how fast a baby jogger can go.

Listen to the interview with Mike

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ABC News will broadcast Marathon des Sables footage later this month

ABC News will broadcast Marathon des Sables footage later this month

Unfortunately, the Marathon Des Sables coverage has been postponed until sometime next week. The piece scheduled to run this morning on Good Morning America was bumped due to a change in the news coverage schedule and the network would like to air the segments on Good Morning America, ABC World News, and Nightline on the same day. On a positive note, we have been told that ESPN will most likely air one of the pieces, too!

We apologize for the inconvenience - and of course, we thank you for your interest. The new date for airing these segments has been tentatively scheduled for next week.

We'll be posting a note to the Blog as more information becomes available.

Have a great day and stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Watch ABC News Tomorrow!

Watch Our Very Own Dreamchasers on ABC News tomorrow!

As of 1:30 eastern time today, ABC News has advised that they will be airing segments on the 2008 Marathon des Sables tomorrow, Thursday, April 17 on the following programs:

Good Morning America

ABC World News


Dreamchasers is proud to have brought many athletes from countries far and wide - including the US, Canada, and Australia - to Marathon des Sables, a 152 mile running race through the Sahara desert, earlier this month. An ABC film crew followed several people in the Dreamchasers group for the entire week of the race.

We trust the coverage will capture some of the excitement we experienced in the Sahara. Let us know what you think of the segments - post a comment on the Blog.


Jay Batchen & Lisa Smith-Batchen
Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventure Club

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mad City 100k!!!!

Mike Wardian not only won the Mad City 100k on Sat. he broke the course record by 20 minutes!!!! The Mad City was the USA National Championships. Holding the old course record was Greg Crowther with a time of 7:14:31. The new course record set by Mike is 6:56:57!!!!

For results:

Top 5 men:
Mike Wardian: 6:56:57
Steve Stowers: 7:14:34
Adam Lint: 7:19:06
Mark Godale: 7:36:31
Zach Gingerich: 8:19:20

Top 5 women:
Carolyn Smith: 8:25:26
Connie Gardner: 8:52:07
Ann Heaslett: 9:40:37
Mary Gorski: 10;54:08
Serina Seiler: 11:37:47

We got 3 emails last night from Mike and his wife Jenn.
1. said its my Birthday (Mikes) and I just won a trip to Italy!!! It will be so great running for the USA! (this is where the World 100k race will be)
2. Mike said: I had a great race and thank you for the support
3. Mike said: I can not wait to go back and run the Marathon des Sables again in 2009!!!

Congratulations to all who ran races or did anything to get off the couch this weekend:)

My road to Badwater training this weekend:
Friday: 3 hours running and walking on big hills:) Versa climber and rowing machine
Sat. spin on the bike, versa and rowing machine
Sun. 1:40 run. A great deal on the track with pick ups. Stair work for 20 minutes.
Feeling good:)


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Two Women from Different Parts of the World Running for the Same Cause

I will run my ninth official Badwater Ultramarathon* this summer. My goal is to run Badwater ten official times so after this year, I will need to run it one more time. I will then turn over my race number to some very deserving athlete.

Looking back on all the years I have run Badwater, including my first Badwater race in 1995, I know that this summer’s race will be the most special to me.

Why so special? For the first time ever, Sister Mary Beth Lloyd will be able to be on my crew! I have been raising money and working with Sister Mary Beth for many years and we have been friends for nearly 25 years.

Sister Mary Beth and I struck up a friendship when I coached cross-country track at Villa Walsh Academy in Morristown, New Jersey some twenty plus years ago. Sister Mary Beth seemed to do everything at Villa Walsh – she fixed the radiator, taught classes, and was even the cross country track coach before I arrived. I marveled at her strength and continue to admire her beyond words.

Back then, Sister and I used to run through the streets of New Jersey together. Picture me running in my shorts and jog bra with a water bottle and Sister running with her long black robe and habit, as well as her bottle of holy water. Now, can you imagine the looks we got?

I am so honored to have Sister on my crew this year and our goal is to raise a great deal of money as we have in the past and to promote Sister's new book called, Aids Orphans Rising.

Check out Sister's BLOG

And guess what???? Today is Sister Mary Beth’s Birthday!!!
Happy, Happy Birthday Sister Mary Beth from all of us.
We love you!

I will have so much to tell you about our journey to Badwater this year with my training, other races before Badwater and the rest of my crew!

Stay tuned.


* Some of you may have seen the movie Running on the Sun . It was filmed during the 1999 Badwater Ultramarathon and I was lucky enough to be one of the film’s featured athletes. I had to get an IV during this race, and as a result, I was disqualified. For the sake of my students who I coach to run for their own victory, I want to share that I still went back to finish the course. It does not count towards my official Badwater race finishes, but reaching the finish line in 1999 remains one of my most hard earned and cherished running memories.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Great things to celebrate this week & next


How wonderful our good friend Dean has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch.
How deserving. Running with a great purpose.
Dean’s Blog about his role as a torch bearer.


The day you came into our life was one of the best days of our life.
We love you to the heaven, the stars and the moon and back.

We have celebrated with you in so many different places…including your birthday in Morocco.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Favorite Work-Out / Favorite Food

It was really great to hear about everyone’s high mileage weeks and the **hot** temperatures you have braved. Let’s hear more…

This week’s questions…

What is your favorite workout?

What do you love to eat before, during and after your hardest workout?

Share your answers!!!

Happy Feet!!!


Welcome Home MDS: Class of 2008!

Many of the Dreamchaser MDS athletes start to return to their homes today. Needless to say, we'd love to hear from you. And thanks to those who have already checked in! It is so great to hear from you and I know it will take time to put many experiences into words...if ever. Sometimes the magic escapes words!

One note...many of the Blog readers have admired the photographs that have accompanied the last weeks' worth of Blog posts. A few have been from the darbaroud website (you'll notice the tag on these photos) and many were from two 2007 MDS competitors - ELAD BENJAMIN and LESLIE MARTIN (Leslie is featured in the photo with a camel). We are so grateful to Elad and Leslie for sharing the beauty and colors of the MDS.

2008 MDS Alumni...use the comments field on this post to share your thoughts, or just to say hi when you have a moment to check in.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Clean Socks & Other Important News

Our Daughter Wants You to Wear Clean Socks!
Many of you have met our daughter. She is very particular about fashion and her favorite colors are PINK and PURPLE! Here she shows us which pair of socks she would wear if she did MDS. Gotta love a 5 year-old who picks out pink Injinji’s!

What is YOUR Dream?
Maybe you want to do Marathon des Sables in 2009? Maybe you want to do your first marathon or ultra? Or maybe you want to do the Corporate Challenge 5k race your company joins every year? E-mail me at and we can talk about your dream and chasing it down. I would love to hear from you!!!

Stay Tuned to Hear from the 2008 MDS Dreamchasers
As the Dreamchasers return from MDS and take on the challenge of rest and recovery, I know many will share their race stories and photos. I’ll be sure to share many of the highlights with you.

Go Laurie Go!
Laurie Andrews celebrated her birthday by doing MDS. Read HERE to learn about her preparations...which obviously paid off!

Some Words from Colleen
It has been such a blast to “watch” the MDS this year. I know so many of you who competed and I waited with anticipation each day to glean a little bit about how the day fared for you. The results can only tell a few tidbits…but I can’t wait to hear each of your stories. Lisa and I would talk each day and our cautious optimism grew to sheer joy as we watched you conquer this course. I am in awe of each and every one of you…you have my respect. Now I am ready to have some laughs with you!

Dreamchasers 2008 MDS: Final Overall Results

You all did GREAT!!!

(Competitor's Name / Overall Race Ranking / Nationality / Overall Time)

ARCHER, Ted (16 / US / 25H34'22)
GOERKE, Damon (21 / AUS / 26H09'03)
VILLIERS, Jim (28 / AUS / 27H02'07)
COHEN, Andrew (32 / AUS / 27H39'28)
GRANT, Jeff (48 / US / 29H07'08)
MURRI, Morgan (51 / US / 29H13'33)
ROBERT, Vincent (67 / CAN / 30H15'50)
SAINSBURY, Brendan (70 / GB / 30H40'46)
LE ROUX, Michael (77 / AUS / 31H03'10)
KENDALL, Danny (91 / GB / 32H07'46)
SIMON, David (107 / AUS / 32H56'23)
EDWARDS, Martin (133 / AUS / 34H26'31)
BATCHEN, Jay (135 / US / 34H40'41)
SIMON, Mark (147 / AUS / 35H01'41)
GROSE, Fleur (149 / AUS / 35H01'48)
EHREDT, Mike (151 / US / 35H11'00)
SHAW, Antony (155 / AUS / 35H18'24)
LANTHIER BRANDNER, Chloe (162 / CAN / 35H28'58)
GLADWELL, Paul (169 / AUS / 35H42'45)
LUCAS, Suzanne (171 / CAN / 35H46'44)
JACKSON, Stephen (187 / AUS / 36H17'49)
ANDREWS, Laurie (190 / US / 36H22'31)
BRANDNER, Jeffrey (212 / US / 37H21'42)
SCHAR, Markus (224 / AUS / 37H41'50)
JENSEN, Michele (247 / US / 38H57'12)
MADL, Terence (259 / US / 39H23'25)
McGRATH, Meagan (287 / CAN / 40H48'35)
RUSSELL, Arthur Glen (293 / ZAF / 41H00'04)
HUNT, Jeffrey (318 / CAN / 41H39'48)
KELLY Jr., Edward J. (329 / US / 42H08'59)
KENNEDY WHITE, Joshua (344 / AUS / 42H48'50)
TOMADA, Patrick (407 / US / 46H03'40)
HORNELL, Chris (433 / CAN / 47H01'13)
BETTS, Mary (445 / CAN / 47H48'00)
WHELAN, James (454 / CAN / 48H18'38)
HOGUE, Jason (485 / CAN / 49H46'59)
CALDECOURT, Marc (490 / GB / 50H02'07)
GALLANT, Adwin (504 / CAN / 50H34'51)
RYAN, Gregory (509 / US / 50H59'02)
MATUKAITIS, Kira (515 / US / 51H18'10)
McKINLEY, Cliff (517 / AUS / 51H36'52)
OLIVER, Rebecca (527 / AUS / 51H55'26)
KENT, Robert (548 / CAN / 52H52'20)
GAUDET, Peggy (549 / US / 52H55'38)
DUPLAIN, Marc (569 / CAN / 54H33'38)
PATERSON, Stuart (570 / AUS / 54H34'10)
ARRICALE, Jeff (581 / US / 55H16'26)
ELLENOR, Ashley (593 / CAN / 56H04'38)
BRYANT, Van (596 / AUS / 56H14'45)
LUXFORD, Toby (633 / GB / 58H41'41)
DAVISON, Aaron (636 / CAN / 59H00'29)
BELLOR, Kay (640 / US / 59H18'01)
CORBIN, Leigh (641 / US / 59H21'03)

VELASCO, George (642 / US / 59H21'10)
DEMARCO, Marianne (647 / US / 59H38'48)
LAING, James (653 / CAN / 59H54'04)
McCALLUM, Sandra (671 / CAN / 61H39'59)
MACK, Martin (676 / CAN / 61H59'04)
SILCOCK, Alan (685 / GB / 63H04'14)
DODD, Francis (690 / AUS / 63H18'56)
ZAITZEFF, Elizabeth (716 / US / 66H57'28)
ZAITZEFF, Lara (717 / US / 66H58'40)

FORTMAN, Jeffrey (721 / US / 67H38'38)
SLOAN, Andrea Lynn (725 / CAN / 68H23'07)
MEADES, Karen (729 / CAN / 68H53'14)

WOLK, Stephen (742 / US / 72H31'13)

MDS: From the Eyes of Jeff Arricale

(Photo: Jeff and one of his many admirers)

Greetings from a soft bed in Ouarzazate!! This will be the longest and final entry. I do plan to post some pictures eventually to put faces with the names I have been describing. Tomorrow we turn in our flares and have closing ceremonies. Most of us will begin the long trip home at about 3 a.m. Monday morning.

For me, the news from home continues to be more dramatic than the events in Morocco, which I will detail in a bit. Good news: Gracie came home from the hospital Friday morning. She is, however, on oxygen 24/7 right now until she gets healthy. We have her isolated on one side of the house and will likely have a full time nurse at the house for a while as she needs to be monitored and cared for and kept away from the other kids. I have no doubt that Gracie will grow strong like her brother Jake who, at 6 years old, really wants to "do good on his sleep study" so he can come off of oxygen completely. Jake had his first baseball practice ever the other day and is a natural (Dad missed the big day obviously--sigh-- but MVP neighbor Glenn Thomas pinch hit for Jessie and I). Jake also started up lacross (second season) and continues to get stronger and stronger. I think Gracie will be just like him in due time.

Bad news (again): as Jessie was driving Gracie home from hospital, our third child, Sami (2 years old) was splitting her face open on a piece of bluestone on the side of the house. Ambulance came and took her to hospital. Jessie and our God-sent friend Charlene Lowry took Sami to two emergency rooms, ending up at Johns Hopkins where Sami had plastic surgery at 5 this morning to close up her forehead. The cut was not jagged and should heal very well. She is home now and doing fine. I spoke to her hours ago and she said "I go outside, I fall down, I get boo-boo Daddy...!"

So, it seems that this past week Jessie has run her own Marathon des Sables at home and I admire her for it. She is more tired than I am right now and I have been running for seven days. I had the joy of my once-in-a-lifetime experience at the finish line today to pick me up and all Jessie gets is a much needed good night’s sleep in her own bed tonight so she can gear up to interview some nurse candidates for Gracie on Monday. Just as Jessie can't imagine running 152 miles in the desert with a backpack, I can't imagine sitting in hospital rooms all day, every day for weeks at a time and, when not in the hospital, driving from one doctor appointment to the next before stopping at the pharmacy before administering tons of meds to two kids and getting everybody ready for bed. Jessie has an amazing ability to sit patiently at the hospital for loooong stretches--I do not. I could, I am sure, if our kids were in immediate danger. But with chronic conditions where we are on a long road with a good prognosis, I leave Jessie or our wonderful nanny Victoria to endure while I keep moving-- holding down the fort at work and at home and hanging out with the kids. I am lucky Jessie is so very talented at and committed to running the "marathon des hospital". I could never finish this race. Well done Jessie!!!

Back to the was the final stage. 11 miles over relatively easy terrain. I finished in 2 hours 40 minutes. Overall I think I finished in 580 something place out of 802. As promised, I beat the 72 year old great grandmother from Japan. I had also hoped to finish in the second quartile (200-400th place), but the race, the desert, and the stronger competitors humbled me quickly and crossing the finish line is more than fine now that I know first hand how hard the race is and how tough the other competitors are. I will never, ever do this race again because its way to hard with way too many variables that can send you home prematurely (feet, stomach, ankles, rashes, infections, temperature, wind storms, virus' that spread through camp very easily).

A few thoughts:

I have figured out that the majority of Australian males are well over 6ft tall, have washboard abs, and did their first Ironman competition before they learned to read. I think the late Steve Irwin of crocodile hunter fame is really British. Way more of the 250 Brits in this race resemble the paunchy Steve Irwin than the super-fit Aussies and would, on the surface, appear more comfortable ordering a blooming onion and about 6 beers from Outback Steakhouse than ordering up a blister sandwich and an IV from the medical tent after the first 100 or so miles at the MDS.

Moreover, "Higgins", the British house man from the 1980s show "Magnum PI" may as well have been living in the tent across from us as he talked from 5 a.m. till noon on our rest day after the long stage. Nobody in his tent was even answering him, but Higgins kept on going, finishing the marathon of the mouth stage after about 7 hours. Jay in our tent put ear plugs in after 2 hours.

In the end though, the British were amazing--waving the flag, having a great time, suffering with dignity, helping out fellow runners from around the world, and doing their country proud. It can't be easy training for MDS in the UK--especially London-- and these men and women struck me as a very well prepared and adventurous bunch. One of my favorites is a 28 year veteran police detective with two girls in college and a taste for American heavy metal music. We shared hours together on endless salt flats during the marathon stage and he helped get me through that day. Scotland Yard #1!

I had the pleasure of having one British guy in my tent--Toby, a builder from London and now a good friend. Toby has now done four MDS and I think each one puts him one step closer to the grave. He is 50 years old and by stage 4 he looked about 80. Maybe 90.

Toby was suffering from a flare up of his ruptured Achilles that exploded on him last April. He also had a high fever that made his cheeks redder than an Irishman's when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday. He also had swollen glands and could not swallow, and developed an ear infection on the long stage. His face looked like an inflatable pillow. I thought he would have to drop out. Out of a deep concern for myself, I kept spritzing Toby with Purell while he slept. I also told him at least once a day that he looked like shit and smelled like he was keeping his only shirt tucked up his ass at night for safe keeping. I think I forced some of my deodorant on him when he was weakest.

Toby, like the vast majority of the competitors, demonstrated an amazing ability to recover after a setback with a little food, a few drugs, some shade, and some rest. He finished the marathon stage and final stage strong. After a shower and a meal back in town, it looks like he has been on a relaxing vacation. Wow. I'll be seeing Toby on my next work trip to London and can't wait to meet his family. Toby was one tent mate. But there were 8 of us all together. The dynamic in the tent was the highlight the trip and the most difficult to articulate in way that a reader can get a feel for--8 of us (2 girls and 6 boys) jammed into this crap tent that collapsed twice.

Turn to your left--boobs. Turn to your right--balls.

Look out on the horizon and you probably see somebody going #2 in the wide open.

Please pass me my dinner that has been "cooking" in the dust on a few rocks.

Did you still need my butt cream for the rash between your thighs that is bleeding again? No problem....

Not one single argument or hint of tension over eight nights in the tent/sardine can despite dirt, heat, and everyone hitting their low points at different times. There was a non-stop stream of jokes, selfless sharing of scarce resources (food, foot repair gear, water, personal hygiene stuff), and tons of patience and mentoring demonstrated by race veterans for the benefit of rookies like me. Jay, Ed, Toby, and Terry taught me much and helped me in too many ways to name.

Ed and Terry, both from Chicago, make a 30-something year old like me look forward to turning 50 and are surely two of best guys you could hope to meet. They took such good care of me when I struggled. I think they both can tear a phone book in half with their hands. Ed likes to play hockey year round back home with college level players and has been the oldest player in his league for the past 100 years. He shakes off the occasional shoulder surgery and picks up his skates again. I hope his kids are proud of him--what a rock of a man. Terry is a deceptively fast ultra runner and has quite a few age group victories in his future in my opinion. Each day these two guys ran the race about 50% faster than I did and spent their free time helping everybody else in the group rather than resting their feet. I hope I can repay them some day.

Aaron, the other first timer to MDS and a friend of mine from the Dreamchaser Death Valley Running Camp, is a 40-year old trauma doctor in Canada and is known back home for his prowess in the Ironman. Specifically, Aaron, using any means necessary, finished the Canada Ironman ahead of Sister Madonna Buder, the 75 year-old Canadian nun who does triathlons in spandex. Way to go Aaron! Aaron and I spent quality hours making fun of people and sorting out the 50 mile stage wrapped in emergency blankets and hallucinating. After the race I got to meet his excellent wife, Rhonda, a fine surgeon with decidedly poor navigation skills (she took Aaron and I on a 10k power walk through town on Sunday trying to find a hospital...felt good after sitting around all week.)

And what about the two girls in the tent? The girls, Kay and Laurie, kicked ass. Kay did this for her 50th birthday, knew the fewest people in the tent, never complained, and looked like she just had a pedicure and facial pretty much all the time as she cranked out good day after good day with poise and impressive times. Then she was ready to socialize while guys like me were strewn about groaning in pain.

Laurie, who came over celebrating her 40th, never stopped showing her beautiful smile and proceeded to crush virtually every other woman (and most men) in the race with her amazing skill and power. She finished ridiculously high (10th or 12th) among the women along with a couple another amazing girls in our group (but not my tent) Chloe and Michele.

Chloe (ran with her husband Jeff and invited me to fish at their home in Montana thank you very much), and Michele (West Point grad, won several ultras, has never had as much as a pimple in her life I suspect) weigh about 180lbs between them, placed very high in the race (easily top 15 I think), made most of the average guys like me look like buffoons, proved they are elite athletes and pulled it all off with a genuine sense of modesty and ease.

Did I mention Leigh? Leigh is 40 something with 4 teenagers and is as beautiful on the inside as out. I have run with Leigh at a couple camps/races and marvel at her kindness and understated determination. She was nearly killed in a car wreck with severe head injuries. Now she has done MDS (with ease by the looks of it) and a host of other 50 and hundred milers and I was so happy when she said she was proud of little me!!

I could go on and on. I’ll end with George. George is in his 50s and has done lots of ultras. I have also seen George a number of times and admire him more and more each time we speak. He is also one of the kindest souls you will meet. As George and I talked about how nice it would be to have a shower, he shared with me some of his time in Vietnam--like when he went 58 days without a shower in Cambodia, got shot and got hit with a grenade. George shuffles along with a severe limp. That's what happens when somebody almost blows your leg off I guess.

So, I’ll stop there. If one is ever interested in seeing the triumph of the human spirit played out so many times you just can't process it any more, do the MDS as a participant or a volunteer. It will probably change your life!!

For her 50th Birthday

Congrats Kay!

Go Michele and girls are Rock Stars! Read more about them and their positive spirits on the daraboud website

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Oh, the Strength They’ve Gained

Most of the MDS runners are fast asleep right now, some are staying up all night to dance and celebrate. Sunday will be the wonderful post race party and awards celebration. Monday most will board a plane to go home. Get ready to hear some amazing stories, see some wonderful photos all we hope to be shared on my blog.

They will be only too happy to give up cooking their meals in plastic bags under the heat of the Saharan sun for the wonderful food they have at the awards ceremony.

Many other Dreamchasers are running a different race some where else, some are North Carolina running the Umstead 100 others are running American River 50 mile, half marathons and so on. Larry King reported that he ran a 4 hour 50k time and took 3rd place...yet another best time for Larry.

Jay called us right we he got back to the hotel and sounded wonderful. He said his feet are in perfect shape as usual and that he felt really good all the way but had a small cold and his shoulder hurt. It was so great to hear his voice. Our kids are counting the minutes for him to get home.

So…as I sit here to write this blog I am so full of emotions. It has been very hard for me and Colleen to be on this side of the race and watching from the computer but it has been a real joy to watch the progress of all of you. I bet I have had over 2,000 emails this week with people asking about all of you. Next year Colleen and I won’t be on this side of the race we will step up the starting line with all of those who dare to dream to run the 2009 MDS!!! My eyes are sore from looking at the computer so much but it has all been worth it.

It has been a long week for me in lots of ways and I feel like I have run a race. Two sick kids for close to 10 days, one after the other...I guess it was meant for me to stay close to home. I am happy to repost my father is holding his own and is getting a little better with each passing day. I am thankful.

Jeff Arricale’s wonderful wife has had her share of it to this week and feels like she ran the MDS:) Great news was baby Gracie was going home from the hospital and then their daughter Sammie got a great crack in the head and had to have a plastic surgeon repair the wound! Jeff and Jess, we are praying for all of you that this next week is full of love and laughter and that goes for everyone reading this blog post today.

It is impossible for me to single out anyone who just completed the MDS today for I am beyond thrilled at the efforts of each and every one of them.

Many placed very well in the race, and some were in the back of the pack. I have said it all along, first or last they are all heroes and champions for they have conquered something that is beyond what most can comprehend.

I have had many say to me, "I don't even drive my car that far." 152 miles in 6 days in the most harsh conditions is impressive to say the least. Bare with me on this long blog we have tonight but there is much to say:)

I tried to find one quote that would express my feelings as a coach and as a past competitor of the MDS but I could not just pick one, so here are a few.

"Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

"Only those who risk going two far can possibly find out how far one can go." -TS Elliot

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." -Theodore Roosevelt

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future." -Victor Hugo

"Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment, and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey. -Harold V. Melchert....(this one is for you daddy Jay)

I leave you today with this:

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. I can do everything through him who gives me strength! -Phil. 4:12-13

In Cha Allah

In Cha Allah is a phrase you will hear often during the Marathon des Sables. It means ‘God willing’. And regardless of your faith, these words carry more and more significance as you complete the stages of MDS. Your training, your hydration, your nutrition be damned…it is only “God willing” that you will finish this epic race.

So many have finished already…see the
results page.

It is amazing for me to watch. I look and see that my friend Simone was second female and her daughter ran the entire race with her...just amazing!!!

Please use the COMMENTS field of this post to offer congratulations to your friends and family as you see that they have finished. We are planning on turning these blog posts into a little book for the Dreamchaser finishers, so they can read how much we cared about them through this race.

It will be great to have your comments so fresh…right as you know they are safe and sound. As one wife posted on a Blog this week about her husband who was competing this week…details are still to come about the race from my husband, but no matter right now…HE LIVES!

Stage 6 (the Final Stage) Press Release

Moroccan competitor Mohamad Ahansal won his second Marathon des Sables, treating himself to a stage victory, and the crowd to a splendidly accrobatic cartwheel on the finish line in Tazzarine. After a long series of MDS coming second after his brother Lahcen, this child of Zagora demonstrated this year a great strategic sense. He took a clear lead on the first stage, gaining 17 minutes over his challengers, and then simply kept control over them. Despite his best efforts, Jordanian runner Salameh Al Aqra’ could never make up for his stage one defeat, although we owe him much of this week’s excitement. Just like last year, Aziz El Akad won a well deserves third rank.

On the women’s side, no surprise: Touda Didi from Morocco won all the stages way ahead of her competitors. It’s her first MDS victory, but most probably not her last, considering her utter domination of the race. After her come Simone Kayser and Lis Kayser, ex aequo – mother and daughter ran together all week long.

On the finish line, competitors expressed their joy, their pride or their relief in various fashion. Many broke in tears in the MDS director Patrick Bauer’s arms. Many also chose to pay homage to their country, holding out brand new flags, from Morocco of course, but also from the UK, Jordania, Colombia, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Luxemburg… Families were there to share the runners’ joy and many competitors held their children’s hand to run the last few yards taking them to the finish line.

Some kissed the ground while others, despite their exhaustion, insisted on a final sprint.

Thus this 23rd Marathon des Sables comes to a close: once again, the human and sportive adventure was completely out of this world. Our 1200 runners and organisers will be going home with stunning images and extremely moving memories. No doubt they’re already thinking about the 34th edition. In Cha Allah.

Last night, competitors were treated to a classical music concert , with singers and musicians from the Paris opera standing right in the middle of their bivouac. AMAZING!!! Grit & culture!!!

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Friday, April 04, 2008

The Weekend Has Only Just Begun!

Today was the marathon day at MDS and guess what? Saturday morning all of the Marathon des Sables runners will make their way to the finish line! It is so hard to explain the feelings that come over you, the emotions and sheer elation. Trust me tonight at camp they are already celebrating.

They will put on very light back packs, packs that they will be happy to separate from for at least a few days.

Crossing the finish line each will be met by Patrick Bauer the race director. He will put the medal around the neck of each finisher. It is a very emotional time for all and even Patrick year after year has tears of joy for all who have accomplished what they set out to do. Bon caradge, bon caradge: means good courage!

I think the most impressive runs of the day for the Dreamchasers was Michele Jensen and Mike Erhedt. Michele suffered awful stomach issues on the long day and was not able to eat much, this really slowed her down but did not hurt her spirit or amazing attitude! Mike moved his ranking way up and was the 3rd American to cross the finish line today…way to run!

Sleep well our Dreamchasers, soon you will the champions of the 23rd Marathon des Sables!!!


Visit Scott Dunlap’s Blog Today! Scott has a terrific – and very informative Blog. He has a post today about Marathon des Sables and he invites discussion and debate about what is the toughest desert stage race. Have a read and leave a comment.

Memories from an MDS Veteran: Jim Simone
Before and After. So everyone keeps talking about this elusive and significant **change** competitors experience by doing this race. MDS veteran shares his own BEFORE and AFTER photos. Click
here and maybe you can understand what your loved one will look like when s/he comes home from the race!

Messages from 2008 Competitors

From Kira Matukaitis
Hi everyone...made it through the long day in really good time. Rigged gaiters back onto my shoes and we were able to move. Clipped off a lot of people. My rank should have gone up. Resting today and refueling. Feel great except for one nasty blister under a callous on my foot. Marathon is tomorrow and then short day on Saturday so keeping my fingers crossed to finish. Tomorrow is last day for emails. Can’t wait to share stories.

From Michele Jensen
Day 6 marathon just finished. I flew!!! I felt amazing, best day yet. It was 120 again but no stomach issues, what a difference a day makesthe body is an amazing thing. I cruised to a 4:58 and i think second place woman, so i guess this was my day. I only have 11 miles left tomorrow and I will be an MDS finisher, Party! They are having a concert at bivouc tonight and a big celebration after the finish tomorrow. I am so happy now and have made friends from around the world that are so amazing. I can’t wait to see you all again to share more of this experience. A cheeseburger would be nice too!

From Jeff Arricale
Stage 5 - Day 6 Today was 26.2 miles. The marathon stage. It was 125 degrees. Took me just under 9 hours to complete. The day for me progressed as follows: run, puke, walk, run, puke, repeat. I ran out of water between the 2nd and 3rd checkpoint, but made it through OK and am looking forward to the final 11 miles tomorrow and getting home.

At the second checkpoint a woman on the French medical team said to me, "You make wee-wee?" and then something else in French. What I thought she said was "you make wee-wee on me" I stopped, smiled, looked at her and said, "No, thank you. I don't do that". She had blank look on her face and replied back, "Take three salt tablets"

In the heat of the day I had my second hallucination....I thought I was walking on stilts. Even while I was hallucinating, I knew I wasn't walking on stilts. It was the strangest thing. I new I was walking on the ground, but at another level I saw my shadow and it looked I was walking on stilts. The first hallucination which I think I forgot to write about took place in the middle of the night of the 50 miles stage when I had been running for 16 hours. I was running along and thought I was passing a Bedouin camp. Interestingly the fellow I was running with at the time saw the same thing. As we approached the Bedouin camp we were actively talking about it and then realized it was a few trees. Now you may think I am crazy - which is fine. But my colleague who saw the same thing is an emergency room doctor in Canada who probably shouldn't be seeing patients if I'm nuts.

The donations for Opportunity International, Special Olympics and Johns Hopkins are pouring in and it warms my heart. However, the e-mails from all of you are what get me through. I read them again and again and again.... Please continue to send e-mails to through the weekend.


The MDS runners have now completed more than 115 miles (185 kilometers) and have experienced temperatures that have exceeded 120 degrees Fahrenheit by some reports (58 degrees celsius).

Question for YOU:

How many miles have you logged in your longest week of training?

What is the hottest temperature you have run in and where were you?

Share your stories!!! Happy Feet!!!


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sometimes it works better in pairs!

I was interviewed by Kevin Patrick of Endurance Planet. You'll find the interview on the homepage (dated: Thursday, April 3, 2008). Kevin is so nice and I was really glad to have the opportunity to talk about how proud I am of ALL of my Dreamchasers! Hope you enjoy it. You can even download it and listen to it on your iPod as you train.

MDS News...

So...everyone has there own strategy for the long stage…and even with the most solid planning, you just never know what will happen out there.

Some people treasure the long stage because it represents the chance to be alone in a way that is unimaginable to many. I think Aran Gordon described his lone experience beautifully:

I remember stopping and looking up at the sky and thinking it's amazing, no one knows where I am right now, no one knows what I am going through right now, no one truly knows what I have been through (health reasons), so I sat down and decided that I wanted to spend the night sleeping in what is one of the most desolate yet beautiful places in the I did

And then there is the joy and comfort of finishing with another competitor…or as I noticed when looking at the Stage 4 results, a couple of friends! Here’s who I saw finished the long stage together…can’t wait to hear their stories!

ANDREWS, Laurie & EHREDT, Mike
KELLY, Ed. & MADL, Terry
HUNT, Jeffrey & RUSSELL, Arthur Glen
HOGUE, Jason & OLIVER, Becky & PATERSON, Stuart & WHELAN, James
CORBIN, Leigh & VELASCO, George
BELLOR, Kay & DEMARCO, Marianne
LAING, James & MACK, Martin
MEADES, Karen & SLOAN, Andrea
ZAITZEFF, Elizabeth & ZAITZEFF, Lara

I also was surprised to see how close the finishing times were for Jeff Grant (09H04'22) and Damon Goerke (09H04'42). 20 seconds difference in finishing times…but they started at different times, so they did not finish together.

Some of the pairs are not surprising to me (Lara & Elizabeth, George & Leigh!!!)…but some are surprising…and so wonderful to see. Like M and Kay…I coach them both and they are both such incredible women. I have been noticing throughout the week that their paces seemed to be compatible and I was so happy when I saw that they finished the long day together. Both of them often do long runs alone (M in Central Park and K in parks in Thailand and on the Sky Steps!...Kay lives in Thailand and M lives in New York City)…can’t wait to hear what they giggled about through the night!

And to see Ed and Terry finish together…they certainly don’t lack for quality time together back in Chicago, but it is always amazing to share something like the wonders of the Sahara with a friend.

Here’s another
MDS veteran story to share with you. My friend Albert Marteens shares his memories with us.

And another amusing account from Jeff Arricale. We pray for his family and know he is doing great because his humor is clearly going strong.

And from Michele Jensen: (her photo above, she is taking names and kicking some behind!) This has been the experience of a lifetime. Thank you so much for all the email, its meant so much to me. Sorry i haven't been able to write sooner, the lines have been so long in 120 degree heat. This is day 5, the day after the 47 mile. The first day we went thru the biggest dunes and i felt really good, i was in 11th. Day 2 was much hotter, up to 120 degrees and the heat really got to me. My stomach has been really bad, and i haven't been able to eat much, and have gotten sick. Day 4 took me 15 hrs; but it was my greatest achievement. I kept going and know that i can do anything now. It was very spiritual to push thru so much and arrive back at camp at 1 AM. This place is beautiful and the bonding is incredible. I know i will finish with the 26 mile stage tomorrow, and then a 10 mile on the last day. I can’t wait to tell you all more soon!

And from Peggy Gaudet: Yipee I made it. 50 miles in 18 hours. I finished around 3:30 this morning, slept for about an hour and am waiting for the rest of our tent to come in. The run was great. I was really worried after day 3 because it was such a hard day, the sun, blister, heat rash all made for a long day. I thought theres no way I can do that again for 50 miles. So after a night with the biggest windstorm so far, I set off. I found out that the faster I run, the less my blister hurt, so I had to keep reminding myself to pick up the pace. Of course I hit the wall at mile 43 or so, I stopped for a break, ate and told myself that you will never run again in Africa at 1:00 in the morning, so enjoy it, the end was still very hard. Today I will just rest and there is a rumor that we might get a coke that I will most definitely take! Thanks so much for all the emails, I keep all your well wishes in my heart as I run and it gives me strength to keep on going. Love Peggy

And a big thank you to Shannon Farrar-Grier and Moeben Sleeves!!! The Dreamchasers athletes were presented with Moeben Sleeves at this year’s Marathon des Sables. A big huge thank you to company president Shannon Farrar-Grier for this generous donation! The Moeben sleeves help protect athletes’ arms from the sun’s harmful rays and keep the "hot" sun off our skin, not to mention filling the sleeves with ice and dipping them in water.

The Long Day at the Marathon des Sables

The long day at the Marathon des Sables this year was 47 miles with some good dunes.

Jay sent me an update and said it was not very hot for the run which was nice. He said say there was a very big sand storm the night before which did not help with getting much sleep. Jay was happy to report everyone in his tent was feeling and doing really well!!!

I love the long day of this race, I love running long distances anywhere :) It is amazing for me to sit here and watch the race from a computer but also following some of the same women running 9 years later since I won the race and they are still running in the top! I have to say it is very motivating for me and I long to go back and run to see how well I could do just on guts and experience:)

The year I won the race I worked so hard on the long day, it was 52 miles and I came in under 10 hours. It was big dunes all day and very hot. I ran this day full of joy and worked it harder than I have ever worked, just because this is what I wanted to do!!! Once I crossed the finish line of the long day I could not have run another step. I stayed at the finish line in the medical tent for 4 hours just trying to rest and keep it together. If I had gotten an IV or taken extra water I would have gotten a 1 hour penalty and this would have put me in 2nd place. It is amazing what one full day of recovery can do for you!

Many of runners are all resting today after the long day but some are still on the course and will be for several more hours! Today runners will try to sleep, eat, hydrate, clean clothing and stay out of the sun. This is such an amazing day to just reflect on many things in life and how far you have already come! It is rare that one would not finish the race if they have made it through the long day. The marathon is on Friday, this is where those who have any speed will move up in position. Sat. is the glorious run to the finish line. Even tired and beaten it is amazing the energy that one can draw into. You see we all have deep wells of strength in us that we have never tapped into. This is one race that will tape into that and you will always know that it is there!

I am such a proud mother duck of all of the Dreamchasers, it is impossible for me to write to you about all of them but I can tell you this that they are all such an inspiration to me for where they stand right now and this very moment in time.

Ted Archer is 16th overall...this morning it looked like 14th. Ted is fast as lighting so he could move up to the top 10-12 or stay right around where he is. This is truly amazing that he is where he is today with only just starting to learn about this sport!

Jeff Grant is 45th overall today and I have to tell you this brought tears to my eyes when I woke up this morning and saw how well his long day was.

Morgan Murri is 51st overall and running like a machine!

Our Jay Batchen is 135th over and 4th American. I can tell you on the little to NO training he has done this winter I am more than impressed and the fact he is in charge of 80 people!

These are some of the top 24 women...4 whom I have with in past MDS races:)

Simone Kayser! She is in 2nd place right now and is going on 55 years old. The year I won she was 3rd..she is one of the most amazing women I have ever met and such a champion! Our Chloe!!! She is running in 7th place right now and has had such a fantastic race.

Isabella is running in 9th place and looking like she may move up because she is fast:)

Our Laurie is running very well and moved up a great deal in the long stage..she is running in 13th place right now..can she crack top 10??:)

Our Michele Jensen is in 24th place right now…she is fast and I know she will draw on all the mile repeats she has done on the next 2 stages:)

Lara and Elizabeth (the Twins)...I am SOOOO impressed with these women. They have never done a 5k or even a 10k..but they walked a 50 mile and they are walking the MDS and they are rocking the course all the way to the finish line.

I could go on and on about all of the Dreamchasers, but just know that they are all doing very well even if there are not in the top. This race is not about who comes in first or last…it is about the journey and what you bring home with you. It is about self discovery. It is about attempting the absurd and accomplishing what most feel to be impossible. Nothing is impossible.

I really feel all of those who are out there all day and come in well behind the leaders are so amazing. They have endured the harsh elements so much longer! "FIND A DREAM AND CHASE IT DOWN" Wow...I am so full of gratitude for the opportunity to part of this with so many.


2 guys in the top!!!!





Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Get Going on Spring Training

Race season is here again and it's time to stock up on products! Order from Dreamchasers Product List...great prices, friendly customer service!


The long course is definitely giving the competitors a run for their money. Two Dreamchasers were featured on today making their way up a steep dune with the help of a rope. Go Terry Madl! Go Michele Jensen!

Terry Madl (second from right)

Michele Jensen (race # 500)


Name this Dreamchaser
Guess who this is? Here’s a clue…he did MDS last year (when this photo was taken and he’s back again for more this year). Click
HERE to find out who this is and to see more amazing photos and captions, courtesy of Patrice Clapacs.

Aran Gordon
My most memorable moment was Stage 4 of the 2005 MDS race...I remember running with Nattu ( a great man!) and then going into a sand storm together...from there we went through a check point and I wanted to work on my feet...I told Nattu to go on. What I didn't tell him was that I needed to be alone...Read

Heath Gosselin
Oh how I remember MDS 1999. It was my first running event ever. I was a bit nervous, but meet some of the greatest people right from the start. They took me under their wing and helped me succeed beyond my expectations. Now for the fun stuff!

My luggage was lost forever. It had all my extra socks and extra race clothes in it, not to mention a bunch of nice stuff for after the race. So things were going great for the first day or two. I felt great and was taking it easy. But at night, I would take off my socks to knock out the sand and what ever else. As the days continued it became harder and harder to put my socks on they were hard as a rock and my feet looked like hamburger. I kept pushing it. My 50 mile day was the hardest. I could see the lights from camp, but it seemed to take forever to get to them. I was so beat up and struggling, but the race officials kept driving by to check on people. As they would come up, I put on my biggest smile and waved, as if to say I'm doing great. I then went back to wobbling my way back to camp.

The rest day after was great. The conversations in the tent were amazing and I will never forget them. My feet were so bad I was tearing up at times just lying there. Lisa came to my rescue and fixed my feet and let me were her pedicure sandals all day. We sipped hot chocolate with mini marshmallows that night, and the next day to the end of the race was amazing.

This race will forever live on in my mind. And you can't put a price tag on that.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

Your Comments to Blog Postings
Want to post a comment? Please would be great to know you are out there and tuning in! If you want a quick and easy way to post a comment, please e-mail me your comment and I will post it for you.

I am hoping many of the Dreamchaser MDS participants will enjoy reading the Blog when they return from the race, so post a comment and become a part of the history!

Stage 3 Re-Cap


Description of Today's Course and Weather Results


As a special treat, Race Director Patrick Bauer ran today’s stage. Tapping into his last reserves, he reached the finish line just one second behind Patrick Haddock (Paddy Haddock, as he’s known to his friends), who advised our very own Pat to drink lots of water.

Patrick is a remarkable person…he greets each finisher with an enthusiastic embrace year after year as they cross the finish line. Not only is he the MDS Race Director, Patrick is also the founder of this race. As described in
Outside Magazine, (July 1998: Where Have All the Wise Men Gone? By Hampton Sides), the Marathon des Sables was “founded in 1986, the brainchild of Patrick Bauer, a former concert promoter from Troyes, France, who two years earlier had gone on an epic walkabout across 200 miles of the Algerian Sahara. Afterward, in a brilliant stroke of sadocommercialism, he decided to share the pain with others.”

Featured Blog Excerpts from Dreamchaser Group Members

Excerpt from Robert Kent: I could really give a rats ass what my time is, like most of the people in this race, I just want to finish this sucker. On the plus side the people are a truly amazing group of people and the sights we have seen are something that is pretty indescribable. Read more

Excerpt from M DeMarco: I have a hard time explaining how incredibly bad-ass this is. People think that the front leaders who come in under 3 hours must have really killed themselves. And they have. But the other end of the spectrum is just as brutal. Andrew is tough as nails. Next stage combines today’s weather with yesterday’s dunes. I am scared in earnest. Read more

Excerpt from Becky Oliver: My emotions are pretty raw at the moment I’m giggling one minute and swearing at the guy who charged me for 5 min phone call because it was 4 min 1 sec the next. I’m loving the emails from everyone, I’m getting a little choked up each night when I read them, it means so much. I’m off to eat cold lasagne, squat in a hole in the ground and sleep on some rocks…LOVE YOU GUYS Read more

From Jeff Arricale: Very difficult day. 25 miles over 110 degrees. Two stages of sand dunes. One tall rocky mountain. Several competitors dropped out. Took me 9 hours 40 minutes to complete course. Everything hurts....a lot. French continue to recommend salt tablets as universal cure all. Comfortably ahead of 72 year old great grandmother from Japan, but was passed by a blind guy. Day 1 I learned humility. Attempted to run when should have walked. Day 2 I learned something, but I forget. Today - Day 3 I learned patience as running 25 miles well...should take less than 4 hours, but it's impossible to run in the sand, in the heat with a pack. So I walked more than I ran and stopped and took a lot of pictures along the way.

Tomorrow is the 50 mile stage and it will crush many people. There are still runners as of 8:20p.m. this evening coming from today's 25 mile course which means they have been running for almost 12 hours. Tomorrow they will need to do 50 miles. I expect it to take me between 18-20 hours. Biggest concern is is hard to eat in the heat. Will eat 200 calories an hour. Second biggest concern is the heat. But whatever the amount of suffering I am going through there are dozens and dozens of competitors in much worse condition and they manage to keep going.

Featured MdS Veteran

Hear from Katherine Hay-Headle, who has gone to MDS three times. I hope she will join us again!

Featured Dreamchaser Adventure

Come to one of our Dreamchasers upcoming camps. Come in June to the Tetons (2008 June 25-29: Ultrarunning camp in the Grand Tetons) or join us in sunny Tucson (2008 Dec 3-8: Marathon training camp OR 2009 Jan 6-11: MdS/multi day running event training camp OR 2009 Mar 2-8: All Women's training camp)

People have a blast at Dreamchaser camps and learn so much about running and themselves. Hear from our past campers.

Read more about a past camp as profiled in the magazine: Men’s Health

Meet & Greet…

Here is a little information about some of the Dreamchasers that are running in this year's race. They have either come to a training camp of they are being coached by me.

Stage 2 was very hot, most are saying it was much like running in a frying pan. It was 120 degrees! I know this kind of heat oh so well and if you are not fueling yourself properly, staying hydrated and getting out of the sun when you can it can really drain you.

Many of our students have not been training in the heat or the sand they have been training in much the opposite! Those from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have been doing all kinds of heat training so it is no surprise to me that we have some great Aussies running in the top 30!!!

The MDS is so much about self discovery. It is a challenge that is so hard to explain to anyone that has not been there. It is a journey that will last the rest of your life. Friendships, bonding with perfect strangers..these people will be with you for the rest of your life. Many will return a changed person in some way, for the better I assure you.

They will have conquered an amazing feat and they have conquered their dream by chasing it down. First place, last place or perhaps not being able to make it to the finish line they are all heroes, they are all championships for they have set foot on the starting line and darned to live out the dream! They will be able to do anything and will be able to draw upon and reflect about their adventure.

Meet & Greet…
Dreamchaser Students and Campers
at the 2008 Marathon des Sables

Laurie Andrews

Ted Archer

Jeff Arricale
(Jeff is front row, extreme left...everyone else in the photo is at MDS this year, too. They are at the MDS Training Camp we had in October in Death Valley.)

(Me &) Jay Batchen

Leigh Corbin

Aaron Davison

M DeMarco (and me)

Mike Ehredt

Peggy Gaudet

Jeff Grant

Michele Jensen (and me)

Ed Kelly (with his daughter & Laurie Andrews)

Terry Madl

Kira Matukaitis (with Colleen)

Greg Ryan

Andrea Sloan

Georgia Stansell

Stephen Wolk

George Velasco

Elizabeth & Lara Zaitzeff

Some Thoughts From Me After Stage Two

Laurie and Mike look like they are running together and are doing very well. Mike has run this race before and has helped at our training camp so he should do well with his experience. Laurie is a very strong determined runner. They both live and train in the Tetons and have been training in blinding snow storms all winter!

Ted Archer who lives in California has been able to do a little beach running but not much heat in California this winter. Ted is so new to the sport just running his first ultra in Feb. a 50 mile race in Texas. He won the race! Ted as of today is in 32nd place just 1 hour off 10th place. If Ted can stick to the plan he is going to have one amazing race!! Look out, this Ted is going places with his running!

Jeff Arricale: training is the snow all winter. He is in the tent with Jay so I know he is in good hands. Jeff has a sat phone with him to be able to call home in case of emergency but seems that he has been calling home each day to give updates! It has been great to have his wife Jess either email or call me so I can give you a better idea of what is going on in the desert. Jeff came to our training camp and looks to be running a fine race. I am sure he is going to look forward to a nice hot shower in 5 more days!!!!! Keep it going Jeff.

Jeff Grant
: What a joy this man is to work with. He has trained in blinding snow storms, skate ski and down hill ski while living in Switzerland! Jeff is now in 61st place and I know he is having the race of his very focused young man! Jeff has his own MDS blog that his wife Becky is updating during the race!

Jay Batchen
: our sweetie..and his kids sure do miss him. Annabella sings this song for him. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day a way. Run daddy run, go daddy…keep on running daddy! Jay is running well and smart...slowed down in the real heat today!

Kay Bellor
: celebrating her 50th Birthday by running the MDS!! Kay is doing amazing:) She started with just some walking and I slowly got her into the idea of the MDS...I know she is living a very wild dream right now and as hard as it might be at times, she is thankful...always thankful. I put her in Jay’s tent to take care of her! Kay is living in Thailand.

Leigh Corbin and George Velasco
: Good friends and training buddies, as most say - they are glued at the hip! George is like the old mother hen who looks after all of his chicks. I mean this in a very good way. These two are doing just what they set out to do and their plan from the start was to run and walk together, this is how they run all of their races…side by side. I am so proud of both of them and can only imagine the laughs going on in their tent at night! I guess Leigh is running in a skirt as well as some of our other girls and it is getting some great attention! They both live in California.

Aaron Davison
: Intensive Care Unit doctor who lives in Canada. I know his training has either been in the gym or in the snow…not too much heat training. I am so thrilled he is running the race this year but sad that I won’t get to listen to all of his jokes…one of the funniest people I have ever met! Go Aaron Go!!!

Marianne Demarco: What a hoot this woman is..she is also running is a skirt and she is running very well! You have to check out her blog! This is one women who lives in NYC and has come so far with her training. She has a bunny as her pet, runs with a group called the dogs and plays in a band! M, we love you girl!

Peggy Gaudet
: Miss Peggy, the wonderful school teacher. I am so sure all the kids just love her! Guess what? She is running is a skirt as well.
Peggy has sent 2 emails home…here they are...this just shows you how great it is where they are and what they are doing. Peggy is such a beautiful soul and I am sure she will continue to rock in the desert! Peggy did most of her training in the snow as well. Idaho.

Peggy sent this e-mail out after one of the stages:The evenings are great, with everyone comparing their stories for the day. Thank you so much for all the emails, today when I was struggling, I thought back to all the support you’ve given me; really wonderful. The sunset just set so I am off to sleep. I am a little nervous for tomorrow. Constant forward motion! Today was very hard, 22 miles and it was very hot 115! Yesterday was better. My feet have a few more blisters and my back is very sore from my pack. The terrain today reminded me so much of AZ and Hopi, tall beautiful mesas, we ran through a village, little kids came out to greet us. It was a very long day, but when I got to camp my tent mates are great and take care of me.

Michele Jensen
: 1st American women right now and in the top 13 for women. I know she slowed it down today to stick to the race plan we set out for her. Michele is a very strong runner. I stuck her in the tent with Ted and Jeff knowing they would be able to help push her:)Go Michele 10 baby, you can do it. Colorado is where she trained so guess what? snow training!

Ed Kelly
: running for the 2nd time, can't stay away. Ed ran so well on the 2nd day and moved up about 100 spots. Living in Chicago has not been great training at all but he has pulled it off. Hot yoga, hockey and lots of indoor training set him up for a very good run!Ed..keep up the great effort my friend.

Terry Madl: Like Ed he lives in Chicago and even goes to hot yoga with Ed. Guess who got Terry to run the MDS…you said it Ed! Ed it is all your fault:) Terry’s goal is to place in the top 100-150 and I know he can do it. He is running very smart…slow and steady. Both Terry and Ed are in Jay’s tent. Terry has a very special race number this year. He is running for his friend Sue who passed away just a few weeks ago and her Birthday is May 12th, Terry’s race number is 512. What a special gift this is!!!

Kira Matukaitis
: running well and running to complete some unfinished business! I am so proud of her that she decided to step up and go back and I know this will be a different experience. Her friend Greg was featured on the MDS web site today as Mr. Hollywood so we know she is in good hands. She is also in a tent with George so we know he is looking after her as well. Kira was 2nd at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Feb. having an amazing personal best. Go girl!

Greg Ryan
: Kira’s friend and tent mate, training partner!!! Looks like they came in very close together today so perhaps they are running together. Greg is very new to ultra running but sure makes it all look so easy! By the looks of your photo on the web site today you don’t even look dirty yet! Maybe he should run harder:)

Andrea Sloan
: Lives in Canada and is so, so funny. When she came to camp she had us rolling on the floor laughing. She is in good hands with some other campers, besides Ted, Jeff and Michele get to the tent and have it all set up for her:) Andrea, I can't wait to hear about your journey!

Georgia Stansell
: Lives in Alaska! Love this woman. She is a yoga teacher, massage therapist and has the best attitude. She may be the 1st person from Alaska to ever run the MDS? Guess what? She already plans to go back next year and bring her friends and husband! She is having a great race.

Stephen Wolk
: Training is the cold, ice and snow like so many others. He came off an injury and made it happen for himself! Steve has been to 3 training camps so we now call him a groupie:) We have a few of them. I can feel the smile on Steve’s face even if it is 120 degrees, he is just where he has longed to be for a long time. Keep it going Steve!

Lara and Elizabeth Zaitzeff
: Go these sisters (twins) have got to impress everyone. They have come to camp and they have run 1 race in their life before this??? A 50 miler in Texas...They have not even run a 5k!!! Oh...they are walking all of the MDS and they are walking strong as ever. These two girls are so impressive with the very little training they did going into this and never really doing anything before this. Many times trying to back out, I would not let them and I hope when they get home, they will not beat me up:) They both live in NYC so no heat training for them either.

You see..anyone can complete the Marathon des Sables.
You can walk it, run it, hike it...maybe this adventure waits for you too??

"Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; the point is who you become as you get past the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals. That's what gives you a true and long-lasting sense of fulfillment."

--Anthony Robbins