AdventureCORPS, Inc., an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, will host the 31st Anniversary Badwater Ultramarathon on July 14-16, 2008. Recognized globally as “the world’s toughest foot race,” this legendary event pits up to 90 of the world?s toughest athletes?runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers?against one another and the elements. Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 130F (55c), it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.
The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280′ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Mt. Whitney Portal at 8360′ (2533m). The Badwater course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 13,000′ (3962m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700′ (1433m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places and landmarks including Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Keeler and Lone Pine.
A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2008 AdventureCORPS Badwater Ultramarathon features 45 Badwater veterans and 38 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” of every speed and ability, and athletes who have the necessary running credentials, but are primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or in other extreme pursuits. They represent thirteen countries ? Australia (2), Brazil (2), Canada (2), France (6), Germany (7), Guatemala (1), Hungary (1), Italy (1), Mexico (1), New Zealand (1), Norway (1), UK (2), and US (56) ? and nineteen America states. There are twenty-one women and sixty-two men. The youngest runner is 27 while the oldest is 66, with an average age of 47. Race Roster.
The men’s course record is held by Valmir Nunez of Brazil with a time of 22:51:29 set in 2007, while the women’s course record of 27:56:47 was set in 2002 by Tucson, AZ resident Pam Reed, who also won that race, and the 2003 race, overall. It is expected that the winner of the 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon will finish in 22 to 26 hours. The average finishing time is approximately 48 hours, while the overall time limit is 60 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater belt buckle. There is no prize money.
The 2008 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran contenders include Akos Konya, 33, of Oceanside, CA (Hungary citizenship), the 2006 and 2007 runner-up, Charlie Engle, 44, of Greensboro, NC (3rd place finisher in 2005 and 2006), David Goggins, 32, of Chula Vista, CA (5th place in 2006 and 3rd in 2007), and Jorge Pacheco, 40, of Los Angeles, CA (Mexico citizenship) who placed 4th in 2007. Three former champions are also competing: Dean Karnazes 45, of San Francisco, CA (2004), Marshall Ulrich, 57, of Idaho Springs, CO (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996), and David Jones, 55, of Eagleville, TN (1997).
The women’s field, the largest in the history of the race, is also deep with talent, most notably Pam Reed, 47, of Tucson, AZ, the 2002 and 2003 overall champion who also won the women’s field in 2005, along with Monica Scholz, 41, of Jerseyville, Ontario, Canada, a five-time finisher who led the women’s field in 2004 and 2006. Other veteran contenders include Jamie Donaldson, 33, of Littleton, CO, who led the women’s race in 2007 for 122 miles before falling back to fifth place, as well as eight-time finisher Lisa Smith-Batchen, 47, of Driggs, ID, the 1997 and 1998 champion. As with the men’s race, though, every year is a new year at the Badwater Ultramarathon, with “previously unknown” athletes surprising the contenders with top performances. New stars will shine as the race unfolds in July.
Now in its ninth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome the support of race sponsors ZombieRunner.com, Bär Shoes, Hammer Nutrition, Injinji Performance Socks, Marmot, Moeben Sleeves, and The Coleman Company, as well as Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Seasons Restaurant of Lone Pine, Pizza Factory of Lone Pine, Dow Villa of Lone Pine, the community of Lone Pine, CA, and many other generous companies and individuals. More info here.
The Official Charity of the Badwater Ultramarathon is the Challenged Athletes Foundation. As one of the very few charities that provides grants directly to athletes with a physical disability, the Challenged Athletes Foundation has raised over fourteen million dollars and directly assisted over 2500 challenged athletes world wide. One of the goals of the Badwater Ultramarathon is to raise funds for, and awareness of, this organization. More info here.
This year, 58 of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice. Some of those include Challenged Athletes Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of America, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Special Olympics, UNICEF, World Harvest Mission, Valley of the Moon Children’s Home, and others.
This year’s race celebrates the 31st anniversary of ultrarunning pioneer and human potential guru Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater to Mt. Whitney in 1977. More about Al. Arnold competed in a solo effort: just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987. More about the original race.
For the duration of the race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast produced by AdventureCORPS and hosted here at http://www.badwater.com.