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.


Anonymous said...

This is all such a walk down memory lane. I have not been on your blog or anyones blog in a long time. Work to much as you know. I have enjoyed sitting here in my office reading all of this year accounts of the race. The smell of the desert still stays with me. The people, the beauty, the simple life you have with just what is on your back. Many will come home and want to clean out the closets, they will want to be simple. I do hope to return in 2010 for a 10 year reunion.
Great blogging Lisa


Devon & Josh said...


I have to tell you that I have truly enjoyed reading your daily account of MDS - I am going to be so sad when it is all over! You have put so much thought and time into your pieces, it has helped me to understand a bit of what everyone is going through. Keep writing & educating us all - your passion clearly shows.


suzic said...

It has been great to learn about all the runners' experience at MDS through your blog. This is all so new to me, since this is my sister Peggy's first MDS. I wanted to know as much info as possible, and your blog had it! Thanks for helping me feel more connected to Peggy- who I still can't believe is running half way around the world!

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Susie and the rest of you:)

Please stay tuned, we will have a few more great posts for you with the finish and the after race.
You can't send anymore emails to the runners.
Dream on Dreamchasers!!!

Anonymous said...

The marathon stage is done! That leaves tomorrow with only 11 miles tothe finish. Yesterday was wonderful with the day of rest. They handedout Pepsis to everyone and it was cold! I think I might be drinkingsoda again. The camp looked like a mash camp with the walking wounded. Everyone was shuffling around, but at 9:00am today everyone was off andrunning to the music of ACDC. It was pretty amazing to see all thepeople and determination to make it through this stage. It was hard andvery hot, I think 126 for the high. But after a few tears, andMarianne hanging in with me for most of the way I made it. Tonight theyflew in an opera from Paris. It is really quite magnificent. I willenjoy hearing it as I am laying in my tent. I read the emailsyesterday....that is what makes a difference out here. THANK YOU!I am done tomorrow!!!!!!!

Love to all,


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa

Long time no speak. Hope you are well and looking after your family….most importantly at this time..looking after your father.

I’ve been following the MDS again and I see Toby did it again!!..Well done to all your USA competitiors..they did a great job. Why didn’t lahcen do it this year?

Kepp safe and well and speak at next years MDS?


Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Hi Studney!

You bet you will see me next year!

Keep in touch