Runners to Challenge 135 Miles from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney


Los Angeles, CA - AdventureCORPS, an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, is hosting the 26th Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon on July 22-24, 2003. Covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.

On July 22, 2003, seventy-three invited competitors from around the world will gather in California's Death Valley to run a blistering 135 miles through temperatures approaching 130F°. The Badwater course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 13,000' of vertical ascent and 4,700' of descent. Badwater, Death Valley marks the lowest elevation in the United States at 280' below sea level. The race finishes at the Mt. Whitney Portals at nearly 8,300'. The Portals are the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places or landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil's Cornfield, Devil's Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Keeler and Lone Pine.

The 2003 race roster will include sixteen women and fifty-seven men, citizens of Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Mexico, Switzerland, the UK, and USA, including twenty-three American states. The field is made up of Badwater veterans and rookies, die hard ultrarunners of every speed and ability, plus athletes who have the necessary ultrarunning credentials, but are also or primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or some other "out there" pursuit. It is an amazingly diverse group, one of the biggest and deepest ever assembled to compete on these hallowed roads.

The first man to complete the course, in a solo, against-the-clock effort, was Al Arnold of Walnut Creek, CA in August of 1977. Arnold, now aged 75, returned to Death Valley for the first time in twenty years to attend the 2002 race. He was honored by becoming the first inductee into the Badwater Hall of Fame and was on hand throughout the race to lend encouragement to the runners and hang finisher medals around their necks at the finish line. The 2003 race celebrates the return of Jay Birmingham, the man who "made it a race" back in 1981 when he broke Al Arnold's 1977 record. The 2003 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon will be dedicated to Jay and then, twenty-two years after he turned this event into a race, he will take his place on the starting line and contest the event with nearly 80 other international runners.

The men's course record is held by Anatoli Kruglikov of Russia with a time of 25:09:05 set in 2000, while the women's course record of 27:56:47 was set in 2002 by Tuscon, AZ resident Pam Reed, who also won that year's race overall. Reed will race again in 2003. It is expected that the winner of the 2003 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon will finish in 25 to 30 hours. The average finishing time is approximately 48 hours, while the overall time limit is 60 hours.

The title sponsor of the 2003 Badwater Ultramarathon is Kiehl's Since 1851. "We are most honored to support the heroic men and women who have committed themselves to participating in this year's event. It is our hope that the Kiehl's Vital Sun Protection line of sunscreens will serve these athletes well as they tackle the world's toughest foot race," commented Abbie Schiller, the Kiehl's Vice President of Public Relations.

Kiehl's was founded as an old-world apothecary at the corner of Thirteenth Street and Third Avenue in New York City. Its unique and extensive background represents a blend of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge developed and passed on through generations. For more than 150 years, Kiehl's has served its customers skin and hair care products formulated with the finest ingredients. The company is characterized by a strident commitment to service standards of the highest quality.

The Official Charity of the 2003 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 four million dollars and directly assisted 875 challenged athletes world wide. One of the goals of the 2003 Badwater Ultramarathon is to raise funds for, and awareness of, this organization.

Athletes, crew, fans, and friends of the race are encouraged to support this fine organization. Additionally, all entrants in the Badwater Ultramarathon (as well as all other AdventureCORPS events) may become fund-raisers on behalf of CAF and thus dedicate their athletic efforts towards this wonderful cause. Fund-raising is made simple with a fully automated and personalized website where friends, family, and co-workers may log on and donate in a secure and simple manner. For additional information about CAF and the Badwater Ultramarathon, click here.

For the duration of the race, fans can follow the race through a live webcast produced by AdventureCORPS and hosted on the website.

Race sponsors include Kiehl's Since 1851, E-Caps, Hammer Nutrition, Seasons Restaurant of Lone Pine, Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Dow Villa of Lone Pine, the community of Lone Pine, CA,, and many other generous companies and individuals.