Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Badwater Ultramarathon 135

Amazingly, the course record set by Scott Jurek 0f 24:36:08 at the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2005 that runs for 135 miles from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, starting in 115+ weather, has been broken by two runners at this year's event. Valmir Nunes from Brazil shattered the record in his first attempt with a finish of 22:51:29. Last year's runner up and surprise contestant, Akos Konya, also broke the record with an amazing 23:47:47 finish time.

The race started yesterday at 6:00 AM for the unknown or newbies, then followed with an 8:00 AM start and then finally a 10:00 AM start for the hardened veterans and the ones who have performed well at other events. The runners run straight with no sleep for over 24 hours, with some finishing last year in 59 hours. Their crew follows along with the essential supplies, food and liquids, which gives them enough to continue on through the heat. Nunes and Konya both started at the 10:00 AM time. Akos' friend who he met last year at a 100 mile event in order to qualify for Badwater, is David Goggins, a US Navy Seal who wanted to find a difficult challenge that he could use to help raise money for the children of fallen soldiers. He was also a surprise and unknown last year and finished 5th. This year he came out strong and finished in 3rd position with a time of 25:49:40. Another contender who was expected to win was Jorge Pacheco whose best previous finish at Badwater was a second to Jurek. Pacheco started out strong and was leading the group through the 90 mile station before the race got the better of him. He eventually finished fourth with a time of 26:41:52. Another notable mention is Dean Karnazes who is running his 7th Badwater (one of which was a DNF) who finished in 31:31:34 and was 10th place.

On the women's side Jamie Donaldson of Colorado is a first time runner of the Badwater Ultramarathon and was running strong as she was the lead femalethrough the 122 mile station in 30:47, but was soon overtaken by Lisa Bliss of Washington who ended up being the first woman to finish in 34:33:40 and was 16th overall. The second woman to complete the run was Noora Alidina of Florida, coming in at 35:12:13 and 18th overall. As of this writing Jamie still hasn't checked into the 131 mile station, and there are only two women who have completed the race so far.

Utterly amazing race, and one of the most difficult in the world. If you want to check in with the other 85 starters (4 DNFs so far) then check out the results and splits page or check back in later with the final women's winning results.

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