In the middle of nowhere lays a town. This town happens to be in Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth. Just outside of town, there are runners: runners that have been moving forward for 42 miles, runners that have to be sprayed down with cool water to survive the heat, and runners who have one desire: To finish the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon.
One of these racers, Thorston Treptow, came into last year’s race absolutely scared to death. During the race, he fell in love with Death Valley and realized he wanted to have the experience of running Badwater again. If he can overcome the troubles he had with his feet last year, he looks to have a great finish.
Steve Teal is running strong. He looks to be doing well and has an efficient crew. This firefighter from Phelan, California has no trouble with the heat as he has lived in the desert his entire adult life and served on the Badwater medical team the past two years. He says, “This event is what I’m wired for.” When he struggles with the pain in his legs, he finds that if he just gives a little more and does not quit, then he has a little more to give. The pain and discomfort give way to an elated feeling once the race is over and, like many other ultra endurance athletes, completing one difficult endurance race is not enough and he wants to come back and do it again. His races transfer to his non-athletic life, as well. When he feels overwhelmed and the circumstances of life are more than he thinks he can take, he just digs a little deeper like he has in his sport.
Linda McFadden, a superior court judge, is also running strong. She has a goal of finishing in less than 30 hours. She is coming into this race fresh from a spill at mile 100 in a race this June where she slipped off a log with only 13 miles to go. She bruised her ribs and sprained her ankle. There are no logs in this race, only sagebrush. Stay clear of those too, Linda!