The Badwater Experience

I mentioned the Badwater Ultramarathon a few weeks back when the event was run. It’s a crazy 135 mile foot race that begins in Death Valley and ends on Mount Whitney at the trailhead. Temperatures during the race can reach as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit and trail wanders up 13,000 feet of vertical gain as racers run non-stop for up two days.

Have you ever wondered what the experience is like for an ultra-runner? Today’s daily dose from the Gear Junkie gives us a bit of insight in that area by following Blake Benke, a 30 year old man from Minnesota, who was a Badwater rookie this year.

The article discusses how the race challenged Blake, what it was like to run over those 135 miles. He had stomach issues at the 45 mile mark, corrected, them, then ran through the night with the use of a headlamp, before getting his second wind at sunrise, and had a strong kick to the finish, taking 8th place overall.

You have to admire these ultra-runners. They certainly have plenty of physical skills and endurance, but they have to be fairly tough mentally as well. I can’t imagine what it’s like when you’ve reached the 45th mile and you’re feeling sick, but elect to continue anyway. Heck, many of us don’t drive 45 miles in a day, let alone run it, and then continue on for another 90.

5 thoughts on “The Badwater Experience”

  1. Absolutely! I get tired thinking about it. 135 miles is a good long drive for most people! 🙂

  2. It really is a lot mental. I think running is really physically punishing which is why I stick to the bike. One time 360 miles into a 532 mile bike race I sat down beside the road a cried. My crew finally got me back on the bike and I made it to the finish.

  3. Wow! I can imagine at that point you were so mentally exhausted that you just needed to take a break.

    Nothing like being pushed to your physical limits only to hit a wall mentally too. That’s when you know you’re exhausted. But the great endurance athletes find a way to push on anyway, and it sounds like that’s what you did Rob.

    Thanks for sharing the story!

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