Heading it up: The View from the Race Director’s van...
By Adeline Goss
Monday at 7:00 p.m. yielded the first news bite—of the 10 a.m. group, Mike Sweeney (#50) hit 4000 feet first, followed by Ferg Hawke (#2) and Scott Jurek (#100).
We caught up with Sweeney on Townes Pass as the sun was setting, about 20 minutes up the road from Hawke. The sports nutritionist on his crew was feeding him the new peanut butter and jelly: PB & energy gel. Hawke hadn’t stopped once, and he had barely walked. On his crew is Luis Escobar—a well known Badwater finisher and veteran crew member.
Further back down the road, we found Ferg Hawke, a Badwater veteran who was in typically good spirits. His brother was pacing him, and a crew member filled us in on how Ferg was feeling about the race—that based on Hawke’s last Badwater experience, the race didn’t really start until Panamint. Otherwise, Hawke was full of laughs. “I heard there was a hill around here,” he said. “Is it up ahead?”
Earlier and lower down the hill, we had passed by Scott Jurek in an unusually compromising position. Nearly his entire body was squeezed into a cooler full of ice; if he had been two pounds heavier, he wouldn’t have fit. Soon enough, he brushed ice from his shorts and raised himself out of the cooler, squeezing icy water from his t-shirt. “It was just an incredibly hot day,” he said. “I wanted to get my temperature down, so I got in a cooler of ice water for a few minutes.” (He would do this five times today.) He was impressed, he said, at Sweeney’s pace, but “it’s a long race and we’re not even halfway yet.” Jurek also reported that until now, his longest race on pavement had been 100km.