Veterans Triumph at the 135-Mile Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, the World's Toughest Foot Race
Oak Park, CA - Eighty-five runners from fourteen countries and twenty American states ran 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney on July 24-26, 2006 in the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. The event is produced by AdventureCORPS, an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events.
Scott Jurek, 32, a physical therapist and running coach from Seattle, WA took first place with a time of 25 hours, 41 minutes, 18 seconds. Jurek is recognized as one of the worlds greatest endurance athletes, in particular for his seven consecutive victories in the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, a race held on remote mountain trails, as well as his record-breaking performance at the 2005 Kiehls Badwater Ultramarathon, which he completed in 24:36:08.
Akos Konya, 31, a citizen of Hungary who resides in Oceanside, CA and works as a restaurant manger, placed second in his first attempt at this race with a time of 25:58:42, less than seventeen minutes behind Jurek. Prior to this race, Jurek and most of the other entrants had never heard of Konya, but hell forever be a household name in the world of ultrarunning after his performance here this year.
Charlie Engle, 43, a television producer from Hermosa Beach, CA placed third with a time of 28:18:36, about 30 minutes faster than his third place finish in 2005.
Ferg Hawke, 48, a station attendant from White Rock, BC, Canada placed fourth with a time of 28:45:10. Hawke was the runner-up in the 2004 and 2005 races.
David Goggins, 31, a Navy SEAL living in Chula Vista, CA, took fifth in a time of 30:18:54. Goggins, like Konya, was a rookie entrant and relative unknown before this event.
Monica Scholz, 39, an attorney from Jerseyville, Ontario, Canada placed first among women and eighth overall with a time of 32:07:01. This was her fifth consecutive finish and second womens division title; she placed 3rd overall in 2002, 2003, and 2004 and won the womens division in 2004.
Monique Muhlen, 53, of Bridel, Luxembourg, placed 2nd female and 9th overall in a time of 32:25:52 in her rookie attempt, while Noora Alidina, 49, a citizen of Jordan residing in Palm Harbor, FL, placed 3rd female and 16th overall in a time of 37:16:15 in her second Badwater appearance.
The international field of athletes, 47 veterans and 38 rookies, 17 women and 68 men, ranging from 28 to 69 in age, represented Austria, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Jordan, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden, the UK, and USA.
A total of 67 of the 85 runners completed the distance within the 60 hour overall cutoff, a 79% finishing rate. The conditions in the 2006 race were incredibldy challenging, even for this event and its hostile venue. The official high temperature was 123 on the first day, with unusually high humidity for the desert, 22% or more. Later in the race, it rained and hailed at times and small flash floods covered the road in ankle-deep muddy water. Despite that, the race enjoyed one of its highest finishing rates in the events history, a testimony to the caliber of athletes in the race and the support crews and medical staff who tended to them. Of the 67 official finishers, fifty-three received the coveted belt buckle for completing the course in under 48 hours.
The Badwater Hall of Fame expanded from five to seven members this year with the induction of Rhonda Provost, the first woman to complete a double Badwater in 1995 and a several-time Badwater support crew member and inventor of Badwater-specific blister-prevention techniques, as well as Jack Denness, the eleven-time official finisher of the race who became its first 70-year-old finisher in 2005.
The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 280 (85m) below sea level. Following 135 miles of paved roads, the race finishes at Mt. Whitney Portal at 8360' (2533m). The Badwater course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 13,000 (3962m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700 (1433m) of cumulative descent. The Portal is 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, Devils Cornfield, Devils Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Keeler and Lone Pine.
The title sponsor of the 2006 Kiehls Badwater Ultramarathon is Kiehl's Since 1851. 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. For more info, click here.
Additional race sponsors include The North Face, E-CAPS, Hammer Nutrition, Injinji Anatomical Interface Systems, ZombieRunner.com, Stove Pipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort, Seasons Restaurant of Lone Pine, Pizza Factory of Lone Pine, Dow Villa of Lone Pine, and many other generous companies and individuals from the community of Lone Pine, CA and beyond.
The Official Charity of the 2006 Kiehl's 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 eight million dollars and directly assisted over 2100 challenged athletes world wide. One of the goals of the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon is to raise funds for, and awareness of, this organization.
For further information, images, or to contact the race participants, please contact the race director, Chris Kostman.