Thursday, April 3, 2008

Stage 4 results are in!

Unbelievable! The Stage 4 results are finally in, and Jeff placed 24th!!
That brings him up to 45th overall, wow.

He didn't just survive the longest-distance day, he led it! Here's the account from Jeff himself:

I am writing you tonight in utter amazement with the MdS, the severity of the challenge of the course and conditions, and the perseverance of those who tackle this epic event.

I approached today's stage (the long one - 47 miles) with the special dedication that I mentioned last night -- to my supporters, and with the mindset that I would race the stage hard (based on my coach's advice -- advice that I thought was crazy when I first heard it two weeks ago).

With the elite 50 males and 5 females starting (later) at noon, I found myself alone at the front of a pack of the 750 non-elite runners within minutes of the start, with the helicopter making passes overhead. I've never led a race of any distance, much less at the MdS. I held on within half a mile (one km) of the top five runners and finished a stunning second place.

The course was brutal, with three climbs that would nearly qualify as mountain climbing, dunes, very rocky sections, off-pitch sand, and scorching salt flats. It was very lonely at the front -- something I have never ever experienced in a race. It made route finding much more challenging and added a new level of mental challenge. In one particularly hallucinogenic moment I saw all of you running with me in one wide line, pushing me forward... A bit crazy, but that's how strongly I felt your support.

I passed the second place runner with 12k to go and pushed myself harder than I ever had to finish a strong second (of the main field). I beat the elite runners in so I had the true experience of being very early to cross the line (at just over 9 hours of a stage with a 32 hour cutoff).

I'm very sore, but healthy and immensely happy at how today went. This should help me move up a bit in the overall standings; moreover, it was a joyous day in a spectacular setting and a small way for me to thank you for your awesome support! And now I get a rest day!

To Coach Lisa: Thanks for pushing me!



Anonymous said...

I can't even begin to imagine the life changing rite of passage you just passed through unscathed. Well done doesn't even scratch the surface of what I'm feeling for you. Thanks for sharing the experience so vividly with all of us.

Brian said...

Like I said in my note to you the other day, "You're all a bunch of lemmings and I hope the guy up front is leading the right way." Now today YOU are the one leading them along. That is impressive. Hats off to you man, keep it up!

chocolate girl said...

Jeff, words can't begin to express how excited and proud we are for you. Your pursuit of excellence is an inspiration. Thank you so much for letting us all be a part of this Amazing Adventure!

Thelma and Bob said...

Jeff, AMAZING commitment, mental outlook, strategy, placement. Can't imagine YOUR inner joy when ours is so great for you! Wonderful that your strategy and drive earned you a day of rest. And what an amazing group of people you're with. We're loving taking this journey with you - in the comfort of our homes! Thank you - and Becky - for your vivid accounts of this unbelievable experience!

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...


Not much for me to say except this:)
I told you so!
You make us all so proud. You did the homework and now you are getting a straight A plus.
Becky..great post.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say anymore. And for those of you who know me, they know that that does not happen very often! :-)
Amazed, impressed, stunned!

Jeff, Du bisch echt dä Hammer! Anderscht cha me das nöd säge!

Keep going!

Howard said...

Wow and Blimey, I can now say I personally know a nut case! Very very well done. Keep going and go go go!