While we’re on the subject of ultrarunning today I thought I’d mention that the Badwater Ultra, one of the toughest running races on the planet, has been taking place over the past couple of days. The race begins in Badwater, California, which is located deep in the heart of Death Valley and runs for 135 miles (217 km) through that harsh environment before ending at the Mt. Whitney Portals.
Considering Badwater falls at 280 feet (85 meters) below sea level and ends at 8300 feet (2530 meters) you get the idea of how much vertical gain is involved over the course of the run.
While a few racers will continue to cross the finish line today, the leaders have already wrapped up their runs and have done so in impressive times. This year’s winner is Carlos Alberto Gomes DeSá of Portugal who completed the run in just 24 hours, 38 minutes and 16 seconds. Second place went to Grant Maughan of Australia with a time of 24:53:57 and third place was claimed by Oswaldo Lopez who crossed the line at 25:27:03. The fastest woman was Catherine Todd, who finished in 29:55:29, with ultrarunning legend Pam Reed not far behind at 30:39:58.
It still amazes me that anyone is capable of running 135 miles through conditions like those found in Death Valley in as little as 24 hours. These runners are supreme athletes in fantastic condition and I admire their dedication and determination. It was also nice to see Charlie Engle back in the game and coming in 5th place over all at 26 hours, 15 minutes and 35 seconds. If you know anything about Charlie’s story over the past few years, you’ll probably understand what an accomplishment that is.
Congrats to all the runners. Amazing efforts all around. I’ll be thinking of each of them tonight when I do a mere 8 miles.
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