MdS Intermission: Ode To Tent 100

On May 8, 2009, in Friends, Racing, by Meghan

During the Marathon des Sables (MdS), one’s home is a large tent that consists of a roof made of black burlap pieces sewn together and a floor of 2 rugs. This year’s MdS Bivouac (The MdS Bivouac is the moving camp that serves as a finish line for one stage, the starting line for the next, and the overnight camp for 850 runners and about 250 race officials and volunteers.) contained 112 of these precarious protection structures, and about 8 runners were assigned to eat, sleep, and otherwise exist in each of them.

The figurative “they” say that this tent style is similar to the nomadic dwellings used by local Berber people. While I never saw this style of tent outside each night’s MdS Bivouac, I do know that local Berber men and boys were hired to assemble, maintain, and disassemble the Bivouac’s tents throughout the week. They are a fascinating and raucous group, able to take down each tent structure in about 1.2 seconds, and able to sing and dance at their camp within the MdS Bivouac into all hours of the night.

I was assigned to Tent 100, along with 6 other brave North American souls. These are the people with whom I spent the majority of my time, and who supported me so much in my MdS journey. Thank you to all of my Tent 100 inhabitants!

Back row from left, George Velasco, Ted Archer, Michael Wardian, Bill Henderson, Bryon Powell; front row from left, myself and Tess Geddes (from George Velasco)

Bill Henderson: Dude, where’s your shirt? Oh, you have it on! Dr. William Henderson, and his risqué, see-through Raidlight running shirt were both important parts of Tent 100. The “Doctor” before his name somehow gave all of us reason and permission to ask Bill question after ridiculous question like, “My toenail is floating in a blister. Now what?” One other thing I would be remiss without mentioning is Bill’s keen sandbagging ability. This man can run, but he’ll never tell you so! Bill, I know you were one finishing place off of your non-racing racing goal, but you should be proud of your race!

Bryon Powell: Micro, at your service. The Goat was renamed “Micro” at MdS for his innate ability to lighten his and everyone else’s backpack, by the pound, by the ounce, or even by the fraction of a gram. Just ask Michael Wardian, who I’m pretty sure was planning to run through the desert with a rolling suitcase before Micro attacked his pack. Congratulations are due to Bryon who ran a super-solid race in some stiff competition, and who was a member of the 3rd placing Dreamchasers men’s team.

George Velasco: I’m old, you guys, I’m old! George tried to pull the Old Man Card most days out there in the desert. I didn’t buy it, though, because I never saw this guy stop moving. He ran and powerhiked like a madman during the stages, and then he spent his evenings checking on everyone else. Put your Old Man Card away, George, you don’t need it! As a side note, George deserves a huge pat on the back because his response to an emergency situation on the course helped save someone’s life.

Michael Wardian: The fast man with the snack food. I still can’t make sense of it. Mike ran like hell out on the course every day, and then snacked like a bird back at the tent at night. I have so many questions for Mike about how he survived: Where did you get all the energy to run so fast out of just snack food? Did you ever eat a real meal during MdS? Did you finally finish the never-ending pile of PowerBars? Could you stop looking longingly at me while I eat my real food? In all seriousness, congratulations to 8th placing Michael Wardian, who was also a member of the 3rd place Dreamchasers team!

Ted Archer: “How To Run MdS In 3 Simple Steps,” by Ted Archer. So, I think Ted’s story goes something like this: 1. Ted goes for one run in 2007, discovers he’s pretty speedy, and decides to run MdS in 2008. 2. He runs the 2008 MdS really fast, so he decides to come back and do it again in 2009. 3. Ted runs really fast in 2009, too. I suppose there were probably a few other runs scattered in there, somewhere. My point is that, though Ted recently discovered running, he still runs like heck at MdS. Ted was the other member of the 3rd placing Dreamchasers team, congrats to you!

Tess Geddes: Strong and gorgeous. Tess, how do you look so good when you are working so hard? Tess looked so hawt at the MdS Bivouac that the British boys in the tent across the way would put down their girlie magazines (Yes, they brought them to the desert.) to check out her comings and goings. This tough lady has run races like MdS all over the world, and I’m sure she looked fabulous at each of them as well. Tess, you rock!

3 Responses to “MdS Intermission: Ode To Tent 100”

  1. JeffO says:

    Is Tess married?
    Just kidding!

  2. Meghan says:

    JeffO- Hah! Tess a happily married mother who lives out of the country! Sorry dood!


  3. […] race administration). I also ran the Marathon des Sables in 2009 (My reports are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) and 2010 (my report). This year, I finished as the 5th place woman and the […]

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