Name: Mark K. Henderson
Occupation: Aerospace Project Lead, Space Shuttle Program
Number of Years Running: ~13
Number of Marathons: 8
50k-12 JUN 1999, True Grit 50-Km. Beach Run, St. Augustine Beach, FL
· 5:06 (Personally made this just a “fun run.”)
5 JUN 1999 PENNAR 40-mi. Road Run, Pensacola Beach, FL
· 5:48, 5th Place
3 JUN 2000, PENNAR 40-mi. Road Run, Pensacola Beach, FL
· 5:50:36, 3d Place/PR (Not bad after 3,000 driving mi. plus the brutal 100 mi. only 4 days before!)
50mi-DEC 1997, Sunmart 50-mi. Trail Run, Huntsville, TX
· 10:21* (1st Ultra after years of sedentary lifestyle) *Very close estimate
12 DEC 1998, Sunmart 50-mi. Trail Run, Huntsville, TX
· 8:14 PR (46th out of 319)
11 DEC 1999, Sunmart 50-mi. Trail Run, Huntsville, TX
· 8:17 (Personally made it just a “fun run.”)
18 MAR 2000, Crosstimbers 50-mi. Trail Run, Lake Texoma, TX
· 9:27, 7th Place (One of the tougher 50s)
28 MAY 2000, Wickham Park 50-mi. Trail Run, Melbourne, FL
10:42, 1st Place, CR! [Note: Conditions were brutal (i.e., 97°F + humidity).]
9 DEC 2000 Sunmart 50M Trail Run
· 7:24, 14th overall/3d in age group; best Houston area finisher
100km-26-27 FEB 2000, TX Tumblebug 100-Km Trail Run—Bandera, TX
· 15:40, 1st Place, CR/PR (Very rocky and rugged and poorly marked; spent a several hours lost and fought through hypothermia to complete.)
100mi-FEB 1999, Rocky Racoon 100-mi. Trail, Huntsville, TX
· DNF @ 80mi. (1st and only DNF)
2-3 OCT 1999, Arkansas Traveler 100-mi. Trail Run, Ouauchita Mnts. (Perryville), AR
· 25:53, PR (I was on pace for a sub-20hr. top 10 performance thru mi.-65, but developed acute tendonitis in both ankles due to overtightening my shoes; I hobbled in, refusing to DNF—a slow, but gutsy performance.)
5-6 FEB 2000, Rocky Racoon 100-mi. Trail, Huntsville, TX
· 21:10 (PR—should have done better; got hypothermic and napped at mi. 97.)
29 MAY 2000, Wickham Park 100-mi. Trail Run, Melbourne, FL (2nd 50-mi. stage of a 2-stage 100)
· 22:19, 1st Place, CR (Descriptions of this course have been published in "Trail Runner" and "Ultrarunning" magazines and on-line. It is a tough course because of the high heat indices, sand pits, fauna, etc. For several years, no runner finished the 50-mi. In '99, 5 runners completed the 50-mi. under more benign thermal conditions. I broke the CR for the 50 in the hottest race on record, and repeated the 2nd day for the CR for the 100. There is a 200 (4x50) mi. version planned for '01.
14-15 OCT 2000 Heartland Spirit of the Prairie 100M, Cassoday, KS
· 20:55, 2nd Place (In 1st place mi. 62-87 and on pace for sub-17:30; took a wrong turn and ran off course 2.5 hrs.)
3 FEB 2001 Rocky Racoon 100M, Huntsville, TX
· 17:11, 5th Place
100mi+-17 APR 1999, Mardi Gras Ultradistance Classic (125mi.) Baton Rouge to New Orleans
· 29:03, 2nd Place
12-14 NOV 1999, Texas A&M University 48-hr. Event, Bryan-College Station, TX
· 160.2 mi., PR, 2nd place and 2nd best No. American male, 1999
24-26 NOV 2000 Ultracentric 48 hr. Run, Dallas, TX
· 205.5mi., 1st place; PR/CR; Best No. Am. Male Performance in 2000
Previous Badwater Racing: None
Previous Badwater Crewing: None
Previous Badwater Clinic None
Best Ultra Run Experience:
For each of my ultrarunning competitions, I can point to "goods" and "bads," and would, therefore, be hard pressed to choose a single event as my best. Nonetheless, I would have to honestly conclude that my worst was actually the best ultrarunning experience to drive me to be a competitive athlete in this sport. Specifically, my 1st attempt at the 100-mi. distance, the 1999 Rocky Racoon, resulted in my 1st and only DNF. Without going into specifics, although I was physically prepared, I did not respect the distance, and showed up at the start line sleep-deprived and in sorry physical shape. Still, I made it to 80 mi. pretty much on water only, but in pain and fatigued. However, the lesson had just begun when I quit and turned in my number, as throughout the night and into the next day, from my campsite next to the trail, I listened to hardy souls--men and women hurting more than I--struggling to make it under the cut-off. They were tougher; they wanted to be winners more than I. I vowed from that point forward that I would never again DNF unless continuing would cause permanent physical injury or result in endangerment. That powerful lesson, from arguably my worst ultrarunning experience, makes it in fact, my very best.
While on the Mississippi River levee running the Mardi Gras Ultradistance Classic (1998), I heard voices. I realized I was halluciinating; however, they were so real (yet so, so bizarre), that I immediately spun around to see from where these acquaintences had come. Later, I recall that churches were being let out below, and I'm convinced that more than one mother was trying to explain why the drunks stagger around and dance on the levee on a Sunday morning.
All ultraruns are fraught with unique challenges, but the one that stands out the most would have to be starting, continuing, and finishing the 2nd stage of the Wickham Park 100, May 2000. Several factors contributed above and beyond the sheer difficulty (as evidenced by the low finishing rates over the years, etc.) the course itself presents. First, I foolishly broke the 50-mi. course record by something like 40 min.--a record previously set under cooler conditions--in the 1st stage. This left me quasi-narcaleptic, and I still had a 1.5 hr. drive to sleep. Secondly, because of the late hour and my poor physical condition, I was able to eat little to replennish vital stores. Thirdly, after suffering charlie horses for an hour, the Space Shuttle orbiter sonic boom jolted me from bed on its way to land at KSC, further exacerbating my severe sleep deprivation. The mere thought of reentering that bone-dry swamp of stinging vermin, blistering/sucking white sand, and saw palmetto was overwhelming. Once started, the challenge became reality, and as the heat index soared, it became a struggle to survive. Nonetheless, over the 2nd half (on the more difficult trail), I began to make up time and eventually turned in negative splits, making for one hell of a sense of accomplishment.
Currently, I run ultras to get better and I continue to push myself and see how good I can be. However, I ran my first ultra to accomplish something extreme. I fell in love with the people--the runners and volunteers. I fell in love with traveling to different places, seeing new and familiar faces, and new scenery from the pedestrian point of view. Eventually, the ability to compete in every race will elude me as it does all; then, I'll continue to run ultras for the people, the places, and the experiences.
First, Badwater is the crown jewel on an aggressive agenda I outlined last summer: Originally 12 ultras in 10 months, 4 over 100 mi. Secondly, I live and train under high heat indices, and I perform well in the heat. Everything about Badwater is appealing: The heat, the road, the distance, the elevation change. Understand that when I use the word appealing, it doesn't mean that I am underestimating the magnitude of any of these obstacles, but that I am ready to overcome them.
Unknown at this time.
Crew English: yes
17 FEB 2001 TX Tumblebug 100K, Bandera, TX
MAR 2001 Crosstimbers 50M, Lake Texoma, TX
· Goal: <8:30, Top 5
31 MAR-1 APR 2001 Mardi Gras Ultradistance Classic 125M, Mississippi River Levee from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, LA
· Goal: Sub-24 hrs. for win and CR/PR
28 APR 2001 Zane Gray Highland Trail 50M
· Goal: Sub-11
27-30 MAY 2001 Wickham Park 200M (4x50M stage run) Melbourne, FL
· Goal: <48; CR/PR
2 JUN 2001 PENNAR 40, Pensacola FL
· Goal: Enjoy; Have fun after Wickham Park.
26-28 JUL 2001 BADWATER 139M, Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA
· Goal: <30 hrs.