Saturday, March 28, 2009

MDS: The Sahara Desert is under water!!!!

The Sahara Desert is UNDER WATER!!!!

Good morning everyone! While you are all warm and toasty in your beds over 850 runner's who are in Morocco to run the Marathon des Sables just might have to swim sections of the race.
Just kidding. The first stage at this point has been canceled! This is the first time in 24 year's that they have had to cancel any stage of a race. This is the first time in 24 years that 10 time winner Lachen has seen the kind of rain and flooding they are having.
All runner's have been taken to hotels and as it looks right now the race will start on Monday not on Sunday. This will cut the distance form 155 miles to 132 miles. As you can imagine what the race organizers are going through right now to work out all of the changes that need to be put in place. Jay said that everyone is in good spirits...really as they say..things happen.
Below are a few emails from Jay as to what is going on and also Bryon Powells blog link!
Have a great day

.Email #1 from Friday! was pouring all day today. Our group was split up and sent out to the bivouac on two buses. The first left at 7:30am and the second at 10am. I was with the second group and we were stopped for about 4 hours while a flash flood washed made the road impassable. It seriously looked like class 5 rapids were rolling over the road. Eventually, the water subsided a bit and they sent the catering truck across to see if it was possible to get a vehicle across to the other side. It made it, so we pulled all of our gear out from under the bus and put it inside. Then, the driver proceeded to drive soon as the current hit the bus, we felt the bus shift, but made it through successfully. WHEW?
At that point, we'd been on the bus for about 6 hours. As we continued on toward the bivouac we encountered numerous other washes, but none were as violent. Eventually, we made it to Erfoud where we met up with the others who took the earlier bus. They made it as close as 1km from the bivouac, but were returned to Erfoud where they spent most of the day on the bus as it continued to downpour. It turns out that the first bivouac is under water, so plans changed quickly.
The decision was made by the race organizers to put us in hotels for the night, which is much better than the other options. I have to get off line, but wanted to let you know that everyone is safe.

Email #2 from Sat. morning: We're still at the hotel (11am here) and it's still raining. The first stage has been canceled. Cannot believe it. We're at the same hotel as Lahcen and some of the other top Moroccans. Still haven't found the other part of our group, but I'm about to go look for them. As of right now, they plan on doing the admin/medical checks tomorrow, Sunday, and starting us off at what would be the second bivouac. Still waiting for confirmation, but they need to see if the vehicle out there to the check-points. We'll see what happens next.


jennifer vogel said...

So your under snow and Jay's under water?

Meredith said...

oh no! i hope all the runners get off for a good race come Monday.

Anonymous said...

there is always adventure and suspense at MDS, but this is a little different than we all expected. most important is that everyone is safe. I bet they will be excited to start running (vs. swimming). xoxo to all

bizyah said...

Wowser -- they aren't kidding when they say that conditions change every year! That's great that everyone is safe and presumably somewhat comfortable for now. It might be awfully unexpected but boy oh boy are they going to have amazing stories from this experience! By the time they hit the last couple stages they ought to see some flowers and grasses blooming like crazy in the middle of the Sahara! Wow, how great! Give Jay and Colleen and the rest of them my best!

Anonymous said...

Amazing acts of nature all over the place right now.
Sure does make it an even more interesting race, does it not.
I am going in 2010, happy to follow this year to see how it all goes. Thank you Lisa and Jay


Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Ha..Jenny you are right...snow, rain, floods..crazy..Mark is right.
Let's just pray for all the runner's, volunteers and race organizers..this must all be very stressful in many ways. But, what can you do. Hope and pray for best.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! Most importantly they are all safe. Good move by the organizers.