Monday, March 30, 2009

Marathon Des Sables 1st day and more!!!

I posted this before on my blog..but now that the MDS is in process you may be interested in checking out Teds book. Ted is on the men's Dreamchaser team and today he was 18th overall!
Last year he was 16th overall and the first American...what can he do this year???

You have GOT to read this book written by one of my coaching students, Ted Archer! "Carved by God, Cursed by the Devil" is a story about the Marathon Des Sables, the 150-mile ultra-marathon through Morocco's Sahara Desert. has a photo slideshow, a video clip that ABC News ran on the race, and even excerpts of the book that you can download for free. You will quickly see that it's an amazing story--and you'll want to buy the book! Ted, the author, is someone I met two years ago when he attended one of our running camps. He was a naturally gifted runner, but he was hilarious: He knew nothing about running. He had finished a marathon without eating or drinking anything, and he had never heard of some of the most basic running gear. He went from this to finishing 16th (the top American!) in a field of 802 runners at the world's toughest footrace. Look at the photos, read a piece of his story, and watch the video--and you'll need to find out how it ends. One of the great things about this book is that it's a story, not a journal. It's a fun read, and it's inspiring to read about someone else's journey. You'll also get to know many other runners (of varying abilities) who struggled along with Ted through 125-degree heat, sand dunes, salt flats, and rock gardens. Go to, look at the photos, read the excerpts, and buy the book! Oh, and look for an interview with Ted to come out next week at

Photo of Ted on March 26th, 2009!!!

I can tell you that everyone who is in Morocco is thrilled!!! The sun is out and they are on there way.

What I want you to do today is go to this link and find the runner you are looking for.

On Tues. I will post this for you so you don't have to look so hard!

The Dreamchaser team did very well today for there first day!

Mike, Ted and Bryon are all in the top...and so is JAY Batchen. I have to brag a bit to you about Jay because he was really only able to run about 1 time a week and play hockey 1 time a week.

He knows this race well and the moto is to GO SLOW TO GO FAST.

On Tues. the results will look different. Many who went out to fast today will pay the price on day 2 and through the rest of the race. You have to manage yourself well.

ALL Dreamchasers are in there tents right now, safe and going to bed. This is a great first day!

If you haven't seen the video of the Land Rover being washed away in a Saharan flash flood (at and click the little British flag to get the English version), I hear that it is incredible.


The weather is now better, and the race has begun with an altered course. It's only about 80 degrees, so the field is exceptionally fast even though more than half of the 21 miles was in sand dunes today. I ran well today, sticking to my strategy of running hard on flat sections and walking uphills. The desert is a lot different than last year. We ran through flooded areas: mud was everywhere when we weren't in dunes. I'm not sure how things will go from here. We'll see what happens . . . more rain predicted Thurs.

Stay tuned!



Anonymous said...

From the Wardian gang!!!

Mike is in 8th place, his teammate Ted Archer is in 18th and Bryon Powell in 35th.

Hope all is well and you guys are having a good day.

I am in a tent in the first bivouac and doing email. I just waited in a 45 min line and now the line is even longer. They probably have 10 computers set up and each person gets 15 mins and can send 1 email.

Anyhow, I did ok I was either 6, 7, 8 today and I got off course (well there was no course just a compass bearing) in the dunes and was thinking wow, this stinks I just lost the race on the first day but I don't think I lost that much time and think I still have a chance to break them.

They are supposed to be putting up an interview on the website, if you could send it out to everyone that would be awesome.

I felt super strong and I just ran right behind Ansel (1) most of the time until I ripped my race number and had to stop and repin it for fear of a 30 min penalty, that was it he was gone.

1st stage Men ranking and General ranking

1. Mohamad Ahansal (2-Morocco) : 2h34m35s
2. Aziz El Akad (3-Morocco) : 2h34m37s
3. Lahcen Ahansal (1-Morocco) : 2h35m21s
4. 4.Salameh Al Aqrah (357-Jord) 2h38m17s
5. 5.Michael Wardian (870-USA) 2h46m48s

1st stage Women ranking and General ranking

1. . Touda Didi (265- Morocco) : 3h29m

812 competitors set off this morning at at the foot of the Morocco' highest dunes. Mild temperatures, fresh wind... the regular racers noticed a huge change from the old routine. So impatient to compete, the favourites got lost in the last dunes of Erg Znaïgui, avoiding previously slippery wadis. Accordingly, the lead runners, including unsurprisingly the Ahansal brothers, the moroccan El Akkad and the Jordanian El Aqrah, had to run 3km longer than the initial route. An unusual orientation blunder for these old hands, which underlines again this edition is really special.

Despite the come back this year of Lahcen Ahansal, the first heat was a real contest. On the finish line, the moroccan runner seemed really confident "competitors are better and better trained...The race is far from finished, everybody is really excited... but the situation is rapidly going to become clearer". In a great shape, the American Michael Wardian did an excellent performance today, with a beautiful fifth ranking. Participating for just the second time (26th in 2000), his ambitions are really clear: "my goal is the first place, I am not here to lose."

Unsurprisingly, on the women's side, the Moroccan Touda Didi left her challengers way behind. Proof that solidarity is one of the most important values shared by competitors, Fabien Debaucheron (260 – France) lent her a helping hand by restoring her bag during the race. Let this exciting adventure begin.

Anonymous said...

Bryon Powell:

I received an education in dunes today. Completed Dunes 101, 102, & am cramming hard for my 201 final tomorrow. When the difference between running fast or slow in a race is at issue, you learn quickly.

Long story short, another temperate day. I felt that I gave an honest effort - actually a bit more than planned, but finished 33rd . Covered the 33 km (20ish miles) in 3:17. Maybe 15 km of dunes, including the largest stretch in Africa. I was shivering pretty badly after the stage & have cramped up a bunch, but generally feel well. No significant blisters. All the kit works well except that my iPhone isn't taking a charge. I will work on moving up.

Dreamchasers USA team ran well. Wardian in 7 & Ted in 16/17. Apparently the Euro team said we're only a minute ahead of them. Pretty tight spread after 33k & 9 hours of cumulative time. We'll see how things play out over the next 4 stages.

Meghan Hicks was the top finishing American in her class finishing 3d woman, just behind 2d.


Yassine said...

Great job everyone! Just want to let you all know that we're all pulling for you out there. You're all inspirations!

Thomas Bussiere said...

Very awesome. Looking forward to the updates. Go Team.

smartwool said...

Awesome post!Very inspirational. Keep it up! :)