Name: Chris Hendley
City: Las Vegas
Occupation: High School Teacher
Number of Years Running: 21
Number of Marathons: 27
50mi-Dick Collins Firetrails 50, 2000, Castro Valley, CA., 7:58, 3rd Place.
*see "Previous Badwater Experience"
Previous Badwater Racing:
Previous Badwater Crewing: My Badwater crewing experience was incredible. I got to see how much planning and preparation goes into such an awesome endeavor. The racer, Paul Stone, that I crewed for had a rough time around Stove Pipe, and I got to witness his incredible determination, desire, and drive to forge ahead. Seeing an athlete dig so deep inside himself is so inspirational. I saw that determined look in so many of the athletes as the race progressed. Inspired and motivated by Paul and the other racers, I found it impossible to just sit back and dish out food and drink when necessary. I helped pace Paul through more than 50 miles (off and on) throughout the race. I believe that experience was far more beneficial in preparing for Badwater than participating in any other ultra as a competitor. While crewing and pacing, I was exposed to the heat, isolation, climbs, descents, and sleep deprivation that only the Badwater race can dish out. The race experience also enlightened me as to what was needed to go into the training for the race. I will use my Badwater experience in my preparation for the race as I train in the canyons and mountains of the Las Vegas Valley.
Previous Badwater Clinic n/a
Best Ultra Run Experience:
My first and only competitive ultra was filled with great experiences. I ran the Dick Collins Firetrail 50 last October in Castro Valley, CA, and was amazed by the support the other athletes I met gave. I was an “ultravirgin” and had never run any trail races before. At about the 18 mile point, I found myself wondering if I had gotten off the course. About one mile into my miscue, I ran into the second place runner who confirmed we both went astray. He lead us into another group who got us back on track. After running awhile with my fellow ”wandering soul,” I started to fall back. At about 25 miles into the race, the first place female caught and ran with me for a while. She was very encouraging. She told me stories about her racing experiences, and how doubt I was experiencing was normal. She motivated me to push myself to my limits, and I ended up finishing third, even with my little two mile detour.
Crewing the 2000 Badwater race lead to a second night with next to no sleep. There were times around 100-110 miles when shadows in the moonlight made me think there were "things" watching and following us on our way to Mt. Whitney.
Getting refocused after being lost while running this year's Dick Collins Firetrail 50.
I wanted to do ultras for the challenge, but that challenge is not only to myself but to my students. I teach and coach at an “at risk” high school in Las Vegas. I challenge my students and athletes to push themselves to their limits. I believe the best way to do that is to lead by example. It’s much more meaningful to ask your students/athletes to strive to achieve lofty goals when they know you are doing the same. I train and race for my own mental and physical health, but I have brought many of my student, athletes, friends, and family to a greater awareness of health, fitness and just fulfillment of goals. In many ways, I always race with them, whether they’re with me or not.
After participating in several marathons, triathlons, and three Ironman triathlons, I was looking for a greater physical and mental challenge. Friends suggested 100 mile races, but then I was informed that there was an even greater challenge available. That was Badwater! 135 miles! Death Valley in July! Lowest to highest point in the U.S.! Nothing but extremes! I was hooked immediately. I tried to enter the 2000 race, but I hadn’t run any ultras to that point--so I didn’t qualify to race. I was, however, still so intrigued by the race that I knew I had to be a part of it in some way. I was put in touch with a racer, Paul Stone, who needed a crew member. I jumped at the chance to crew. Crewing gave me so much insight to the race. The race was more awesome than I ever dreamed. I knew when I heard about the race that I wanted to be a part of it; but after crewing, I knew I had to do it! The mental test and physical challenges were matched by the camaraderie of the participants and officials, and the incredible scenery of the race course. I find it hard to believe that there are many challenges out there that offer what Badwater does, and I need to be a part of that.
I have competed in three Ironman triathlons. I've never had trouble finding my bike after the swim, because I'm usually one of the last ones out of the water. My strength is the run, and I've run 3:30 marathons after the 112 mile bike. I can't wait to do a 135 mile run this summer.
Crew English: yes