Sunday, July 10, 2005, 3:11 pm
Among the 81 participants in the 2005 Badwater, there are close bonds: Bonds between rider and crew, bonds between the racers, bonds between crews, and an overall sense of family.
Part of that family includes Bernhard Sesterheim and Sigrid Eichner, both of Germany. Both racers and their crews traveled from Germany to California together, forming a tighter bond than the previous friends already had. On Bernhard’s crew, he has Günter Bönke and Richard Sever. Richard introduced the idea of Badwater to Bernhard 4 years ago. The idea “stuck” and now Bernhard, 59, is attempting his rookie year at Badwater. Bernhard already has experience on the Badwater course, having crewed for Dr. Holger Finkernagle in last year’s race. Dr. Finkernagel, 62, is back this year, again hoping to conquer the course.
Sigrid Eicher, is from Berlin, Germany, and has a 2 person crew including Herbiwert Hoffmann and Bodo Rathburg. While she has yet to complete a Badwater (this is her rookie year) Sigrid is the world record holder in the most marathons in a lifetime, having completed over 1,000 marathons in her running career! Oh…and did I mention this lovely lady is 64 years old? She is amazing and is looking forward to a little walk with me on the course, “so I can learn better English.” And, Uli Weber, if you are reading this, Herbiwert wanted to say a big hello!
There are those racers that make a person want to really pull for them and see them to the finish line. One such racer is Jack Humphrey, 48, from Louisville, Colorado, who DNFd in 2001 after already completing 120 miles. With only 15 miles left to go, and a very respectful finish time in grasp, he had to abandon his race due to feet that were “hamburger” and blistered so badly that not another step could be taken without excruciating pain. Coming back this year to redeem his 2001 race, he is taking precautions to ensure that his feet do not suffer the trauma again. He is not going to tape his feet this year. He will utilize multiple shoes, in various sizes, a pair of sandals, and Injinji socks. Jack is running to help raise money to the hospital where he works, Denver Health and Medical Center, which is a public hospital and focuses on patient education. Jack, we are all pulling for you and hope that you complete this year’s Badwater!