From Wikipedia: The Badwater Ultramarathon describes itself as “the world’s toughest foot race”. It is a 135-mile (217 km) course starting at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level in the Badwater Basin, in California‘s Death Valley, and ending at an elevation of 8360 feet (2548 m) atWhitney Portal, the trailhead to Mount Whitney. It takes place annually in mid-July, when the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures over 120 °F (49 °C), even in the shade, are not uncommon. Consequently, very few people—even among ultramarathoners—are capable of finishing this grueling race.
Originally, the run was conceived as being between the lowest and the highest points in the contiguous United States: Badwater, Death Valley (−282 ft) and Mt. Whitney‘s summit (14,505 ft). The two are only eighty miles apart on the map, but the land route between the two points is substantially longer, 146 miles (235 km), because of detours around lakebeds and over mountain ranges. Additionally, since the finish-line is 11 miles (18 km) from the nearest trailhead, anyone who competes over the 146-mile (235 km) race-distance must be capable of a total physical effort of 157 miles (253 km). Due to the two mountain ranges that must be crossed between Badwater and Whitney, the course’s cumulative elevation gain exceeds 19,000 feet (5,800 m).
In later years, as the United States Forest Service required summit permits to climb Mt. Whitney, the official course was shortened to end at Whitney Portal. The Badwater-to-Portal course is 135 miles (217 km) long, with 13,000 feet (4,000 m) of cumulative elevation gain. Forest Service regulations do not allow competitive events in the John Muir Wilderness; however, many runners choose to continue tradition and complete the ascent to Mount Whitney’s summit on their own.
Report on Swiss TV (german): Klick here.
Running on the Sun (1999)
The Distance of Truth
- America’s 15 Best Foot Races: Badwater Ultramarathon (mensjournal.com)
- Running on empty (ireport.cnn.com)
- A run like no other (dvidshub.net)
- 135-mile hell run for hero (thesun.co.uk)
- A special interview and Summer Ratatouille (mommyrunfast.com)
- Are You Tough Enough For Badwater? (geardiary.com)
- Badwater Basin by Eddie Lluisma (500px.com)
- World’s Most Grueling Marathon? (grindtv.com)
- Amputee from Lanarkshire set to run 135 miles for charity (scotsman.com)
- The Circumnavigation of Death Valley (tighthams.wordpress.com)