From Ted Archer (US)
2009 was my second consecutive MDS. After having seen it twice and spoken to people from around the world, one thing is clear: NO COUNTRY’S race representative does half of what Jay Batchen does for the Dreamchasers group. From helping with paperwork, to offering advice on gear and packing, to booking hotels, Jay made both 2008 and 2009 smooth experiences. Jay’s work allows people to focus on performing at the race and reduces extraneous worry. It is obvious how much he does once you’ve lived through it. Thanks, Jay!
From Arthur Baczyk (US)
“Jay did an extraordinary job with making such a crazy experience go as smoothly as possible. He was always there whenever needed, whether it was providing help with blisters or giving words of encouragement when the possibility of quitting had started to seem like a good choice. Even though he was among the first of us to cross the finish line after each stage, he didn’t leave anyone behind; he’d stay at the finish line to give moral support as we crossed, and always stopped at our tents every day to see how everyone was holding up and give help if necessary. I can’t say “thank you” enough for the amount of effort he put forth for making this race an event of a lifetime.”
From Jane Ballantyne (Canada)
All the way home from Marathon des Sables, I have been thinking of all the kindness that everyone showed each other throughout the race, especially Jay. Jay is truly a special human being, his patience is unmatched and his good humour amazes! He visited our tent each day and provided encouragement and support, even after his own hard day out in the desert! When the race was over, Jay was still on duty and paid a visit to my room to make sure my feet were okay. With so many to take care of, Jay always made you feel as though you were his special project.
From Connie Carpenter (US)
Dear Jay, Thanks for helping me get all my gear and for letting me follow you from airport to hotel to bus to hotel to tent to the finish line. But MOST of all THANK YOU for letting me ask you 100 times “you mean these socks? really? these?” ’cause I wore ’em and I have no blisters and I’m walking just fine…. You have amazing patience. I can’t believe I wore wool socks in the desert but my feet were cool and perfect. Blissfully Blister-free. Thanks! –Connie
From Tess Geddes (Philippines)
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Jay for all the hard work he’s put into taking care of all of us at this year’s MDS. With all the problems we had with the weather and logistical challenges with the race, Jay managed to keep us well informed and motivated. His infinite patience with answering all our questions was incredible to observe. Our group was the most cohesive and together of all the countries represented, and that was all because of Jay. Thank you, Jay, for my most memorable first ever MDS. This has been my best race yet, and the best memories too. Congratulations on placing 4th American man! Really awesome, considering you spend so little time training. Keep smiling that brilliant smile that lights up every room you enter! Love and hugs, Tess
From Jill Halabi (Australia)
Thanks to your quiet faith and organisational skills I was able to chase and secure the dream that I had of crossing the finish line. Along the way I made friends that will not be lost and gained personal power from my adventure. Many thanks, Jill (Race # 822)
From Meghan Hicks (US)
John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I’m certain that Jay inspired all of this in each of his North American contingents. We each went to Marathon des Sables for different reasons, and Jay sought to ensure that each of us had the experience that we desired. We did learn that Jay is just shy of omnipotence, because he just couldn’t get the rain to stop, but I haven’t quite figured if there’s anything else he can’t do. On a personal level, I’m thankful to Jay for organizing hotel details that gave us a place to stay after our late night arrival, for his informative pack demonstration that caused me to scurry back to my room and start cutting things out of my pack, for his perpetual no-nonsense answers to my random MdS questions, and for his encouragement as I worked towards my personal goals on the course. Thanks, Jay, for all of that!
From Steve Holman (US)
Undertaking a challenge such as Marathon Des Sables can be quite overwhelming. All the training, planning and logistics can seem endless and at times, confusing, if not a tad bit disconcerting. However, Jay provided a incredible amount insight, encouragement and motivation to help us prepare for a successful race. I am very thankful for his supportive desire to see everyone succeed and for his availability to help out whenever necessary, recognizing that not only did he help many in his group, but that he too, was competing in the race himself. His voice of experience and insight as a coach served as an incredible resource throughout the event. In a word, Jay rocks!”
From Dennis Janzen ( Canada)
Thanks for your great efforts with MDS registration, emails, forum questions, and paperwork. I enjoyed talking to you at the race. However, I did not enjoy it when you kept passing me in the last segments of stages — could you slow down a bit, please ! Sincerely, Dennis Janzen (Vancouver BC).
From Ineke Kuiper (Australia)
jay b – you are the best! Thanks for being a great tent mate, and for all the advice, support, encouragement and enthusiasm throughout the race as well as the buildup. I couldn’t have done it without you – you are a STAR!!! –ine
From Francis Labrune (France)
“On more than one occasion Jay’s voice has been echoing in my head during the race with lessons learned from either the Tucson training camp and/or the briefings at the Belere. For example, he told us to not necessarily follow other runners who seem glued to a visible or invisible trail, but instead pay close attention to the actual markers. That advice saved me quite a few steps on at least 2 occasions that I can remember. Another time, I was high-fiving children like crazy, when I remembered his word of advice not to do it and quickly pulled out my hand-sanitizer to avoid any unwanted consequences. Having him greet me at the finish line on more than one occasion made me feel like I was finally coming home after countless hours wandering through the desert.”
From Christine Lallier (Canada)
Hey I would just like to thank Jay for coming by everyday (or multiple times a day) to tent number 109 to make sure everything and everyone was Ok and felt comfortable. We had a great experience and of course the advice that was provided on the forum helped the whole experience. Thanks again, Christine
From Caroline Lea (US)
Hey Jay! I wanted to say another MASSIVE thank you to you and the team for all the hard work you put into the MDS. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience and that is due mainly to all the effort you guys put in to give us the best chance possible out there. You really made time to answer every single one of our endless questions by email and in person and it was so great to see you bounding by me in the race and always cheering me at the finish line – that I will NEVER forget. I hope that those two weeks were just the beginning. Love, Caroline
From Terry Madl (US)
Jay was was being pulled in so many directions all week long. And all that in addition to trying to run his own race (which he did very well, as usual). What really blew me away then was that Jay stayed at the finish line at the end of the final stage of the race nonstop, from the moment he crossed (and would certainly have like to sit down in the shade to relax for a bit) until the last runner from our group came in. And that was more than 5 hours later!!!!! He just wanted to personally greet and congratulate everyone of us, and to get a photo for each of us crossing the finish line. This also meant he didn’t get to eat dinner until very late as well. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. That was such an act of class and caring–I’ll never forget it. Thanks Jay. You’re the best! Terry
From Katie Morgan (US)
Jay, Where will my sense of adventure lead me next? I guess only time will tell. I’ll never forget speaking with you days before my first Ironman and totally second guessing my decision and/or interest in the Marathon des Sables. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a marathon. What in the world could be more daunting or difficult than that? And at the time, I wasn’t even sure that was going to be achievable. Little did I know that the Sahara would lead me down a path of self discovery and truly test my fortitude that Ironman didn’t even begin to tap into. Thank you for the opportunity to share in this adventure and all your support and knowledge along the way. All the best, Katie Morgan
From Nikolai Pitchforth (New Zealand)
“Jay, thanks for a very special experience! Really appreciated your eternal patience and your encouragement along the way. That endless stretch to the last check point on the long day was infinitely more enjoyable with your company, so thank you in particular for that! I have one last question though: will my toe nails grow back?? See you in Sydney hopefully… Nikolai”
From Bryon Powell (US)
Without Jay’s encouragement, I wouldn’t have signed up for MdS and the wonderful journey that it entailed. Through the many months of training and preparation, Jay was always there to give an approving nod or a weight saving tip. Once we arrived in Morocco, Jay kept order among the eager Dreamchasers contingent while being a great friend to all. I couldn’t have been more proud to race for the Dreamchasers and, by association, Jay. 202 kilometers worth of thanks to Jay!
From Karl Roche (Ireland)
“Thank you so much Jay for all you assistance throughout the Marathon des Sables. Without it we could not have completed it. Wishing you all the best in future endeavors. Hope we cross paths again. Kind regards and good luck, Karl.”
From Hans Schmid (US)
Jay, thanks for guiding me safely through pre-event apprehension to a successful and memorable 24th Marathon des Sables. From the training camp in Tucson to the last minute packing tips at Belere Hotel in Ouarzazate, your advice was useful and to the point. You may have saved my neck with a copy of my passport for the ID check-in. The original I had safely left behind in the hotel. Now the trip feels like a dream. There are more dreams to chase….Thanks again for everything! Hans
From Patrick Tomada (US)
Thank you Jay good old friend..When I think of the first MDS we did together, some years back, I think at all of us: you, Lisa, Annabella, Gabby and myself, Paula, JackFederico, Kiara. And that to me is Famiglia. That goes also for all the people we shared our experiences with in the past years and hopefully in many years to come… Jay, thank you again.
From George Velasco (US)
There is nothing that can be said about Jay that has not been all ready said. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. With that in order to be just like Jay I too set myself on fire. Batchen I am on fire. I am now in the club. How cool is that. I’m just like you now brother.
From Daphne Williams (US)
“Jay, with great appreciation from the finish line! Thank you for all of your hard work and encouragement not only throughout the race but the months leading up to the event. Your support and knowledge was invaluable!!”
I bet you didn’t know you were so popular ! It must have been crazy this year what with the ‘Scottish weather’ you experienced.
Good to see Mr. Tomada looking as young as usual. Pat, see you next year my friend.
Well done to everyone who made it to the start line – that alone is a huge commitment.
MDS Finisher 2005
Jay Jay Jay- ‘get to the mountain before it gets dark’-after running a couple of checkpoints on the longstage day- I just remember how special and lucky was I to be running with Jay.
He made that tough 55 mile day so much easier because of the above sentence-it was a great pleasure running alongside,learning and watching for that brief period of time how Jay tackles MDS.
His easy going personality has tipped me over from Ironman Triathlons to now wanting to learn about the Ultra world.
How wonderful to read all of these amazing words.
Love to all
Thank you so very much! You are simply incredible! You really did an amazing job of organizing, assisting, coordinating, motivating, encouraging, cheering, pushing (and pulling), inspiring, and befriending all of us – from the newbies like me to the veterans of the race. I don’t know how you managed to put up with all of us and still kept a smile on your face while running a great race. (And thanks for sharing all those race secrets with your tentmates! I sure appreciated it!)
Thanks so much!