Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary as an official race, and 30th over all running, the Badwater Ultramarathon gets underway today in Death Valley. The race will pit 90 competitors from all over the World in what is billed as “The World’s Toughest Foot Race”.
The course runs from Badwater, Death Valley, which is located at 280 feet below sea level, to the Mt. Whitney Portals at 8360 feet. Along the way, the runners will cross three mountain ranges, with more than 13,000 feet in elevation gain. It will take two and a half days for most of the competitors to complete the course, which is a 135 miles in length. During the day, temperatures can reach a scorching 130 degrees.
The field of competitors is filled with some supreme athletes, including our friend Dean Karnazes, who won the event back in 2004. This is a non-stop race, and is very demanding on all the runners, and is a true test for even the best of the endurance athletes.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an endurance event without someone trying to top the crowd. Check out Lisa Smith-Batchen’s blog as she attempts the “Badwater Double”. What’ that you ask? Well, Lisa decided that doing the Badwater once wasn’t enough ,so while her fellow racers are celebrating at the finish line, happy to be alive, she’ll turn around and run back to where the event started. Their is a fine line between genius and insanity. 😉
Oh, and thanks to Matt Hart’s Coaching Endurance Blog for the head’s up on Lisa. I’ve always enjoyed Matt’s blog in the past and use to link to it regularly when it was a part of Mountain Zone, but it seems MZ has gone dark again. Thankfully, Matt has continued his blog at the new address so we can keep up to date on everything going on in the world of endurance sports.
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