Ultrarunners Sets New Speed Records at Badwater

Japanese ultrarunner Yoshihiko Ishikawa has had quite a day today. Early this morning the long-distance runner managed to not only set a new course record for the grueling Badwater 135 ultra, he still had enough strength to propose to his girlfriend afterwards as well.

The notoriously difficult Badwater got underway on Monday of this week, setting out from the town of Furnace Creek in the heart of Death Valley. At the time, temperatures were said to be hovering around the 117ºF (47.2ºC) mark. The 135-mile (217 km) course then takes runners through the heart of the desert before crossing over several mountain passes and ending at the Whitney Portals on Mt. Whitney. The annual event is one of the toughest races on the planet and routinely delivers unique levels of suffering to those who take part in it.

For his part though, Ishikawa put in a strong performance, completing the entire run in 21 hours, 33 minutes, and 1 second. That soundly beats the previous record, which was set by Pete Kostelnick in 2016 when he clocked in at 21 hours, 56 minutes, and 32 seconds.

The men’s speed record wasn’t the only one to fall however as the ladies put in some impressive performances too. Poland’s Patrycja Bereznowska not only claimed the win in the women’s division, but managed to beat the previous record by more than an hour and a half at the same time. She crossed the finish line with a time of 24 hours, 13 minutes, and 24 seconds, which smashed Alyson Venti’s 25 hours, 53 minutes, and 7 seconds time, which also came in 2016.

For the 30-year old Ishikawa, who has been a major force on the international ultra running scene in recent years, reaching the finish line was just part of his plans for the day. Immediately after he stopped the clock, he reportedly dropped to his knee and proposed to his girlfriend on the spot. We’re assuming he was successful in that venture as well, making this a very memorable day for him. Congrats to the happy couple and to all of the runners at Badwater.

Kraig Becker