Badwater 135 kicks off

Last updated: 01-Sep-16

By Alice Morrison

The 2016 STYR Badwater 135 race is officially underway. One of the most difficult ultra races in the world, it is set over 135 miles (217km) from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, California, USA. It is a one stage race, with the start at night. The organisers say, “Badwater® 135 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 Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent.

Chris Costman, the Race Director and Chief Adventure Officer (what a great job title!) calls it the “challenge of champions”. Numbers are capped at 100.

The runners set off last night in three waves at 2000 PST, 2130 PST and 2300 PST. To give you an idea of the temperature – it was 103F (39.4C) at midnight. It is a great field, as always, with Pete Kostelnick, Oswaldo Lopez and Mick Thwaites in the 1/2/3 men’s bibs and Alyson Venti, Brenda Guajardo and Nikki Wynd for the women. Previous champion, Harvey Lewis is there, also Carlos Sa who put in such a great performance at MdS and Mohamad Ahansal for I Run 4 Ultra. All started strong. The first results up on the site showed that at 17 miles it was Dan Lawson from the UK coming in first at 2.20. First woman at that stage was Alyson Venti with 2.26.

As one aficionado, Tracey Outlaw, said at the start, “It will be a dogfight for sure. Oswaldo has been training hard and Pete is on a roll. Harvey is calm and relaxed but very focused. Quite a few guys could really make a play for the win.

The live tracking is up and running and totally addictive! Follow it here

We will be updating regularly on Twitter too @RunUltra_UK

"It will be a dogfight for sure"

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