Sunday, September 19, 2010

Badwater Ultra Marathon


Badwater Sunset
Link to original photo
The event is well described as "the worlds toughest foot race", but I would have to say that it is one of the hardest events in the world. Just being able to step up to the starting line takes immense training and preparation. This event is not for the faint hearted, and can be very dangerous.

First, a little bit of background. The Badwater Ultra Marathon is a 135 mile, yes 135, long marathon that takes place in Death Valley, California. The event occurs annually in mid July, during the hottest and most intense time of the year. When temperatures can reach in excess of 120 degrees fahrenheit, easy. Originally, the event was 157 miles long. It started at Badwater, with an elevation of -282 ft, and would end, 157 miles away, at the summit of Mt. Whitney, with an elevation of 14,505 ft. Therefore, racers had to be able to exert full physical effort to finish the race. Imagine the dedication it would take to win this race.

But after some requirements implemented by the U.S Forest Service, the race was shortened to 135 miles long. Which is still a very, very long distance, especially under the conditions. Even for the most elite ultra marathon runners in the world, this event is still very hard to finish. But you can't just walk up to the starting line, this is an invitation only event, and the people that want to compete is more than the spots available for competition. No one has died during this race, yet.

If you can somehow manage to get into this race, and complete it. Plus, complete the Furnace Creek 508 (more on this in a later post) bicycle race in the same year, then you get the Death Valley Cup. Very prestigious, since it would remind you how you got it.

So the next time your in gym class, or at practice, and your complaining about having to run a mile. Then just think about this, and be glad that you're not doing it.

Dedication is Everything.

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