New Rule, Added June 21, 2006
Addendun to the race magazine, which is already printed
So-called "cooling vests" or other types of artificial / technological cooling systems may not be worn or utilized by race entrants.
Why? Here's a comment from Al Arnold on the subject, Badwater Hall of Fame member:
"Avery Brundage spent most of his 88 years trying to protect the puritanical sanctuary of amateur athletics. As a three-time national AAU Champion in the Decathlon and President of the Olympic Committee, he had to fend off many attempts of over zealous athletes in their attempt to circumvent the implied and direct rules of the competition. These so-called protective or cooling vests are in direct conflict with the hostile environment and the spirit of "meeting" the challenge. If you allow an athlete to provide ANY method of 'changing' this Death Valley, then you might as well change the timeframe of the race to New Year's Day!!! What's the difference? Over the past 30 years I have been asked by hundreds of people: 'Why in the hottest time of the year?' Any entrant that circumvents the hostility of Death Valley's Badwater Ultramarathon should be disqualified at the starting line."
Here's a comment from Jay Birmingham, Badwater Hall of Fame member:
"If it uses technology that negates the envioronment, e.g., acts as a refrigerator, uses chemical reactions from manmade materials, and the like--it should be prohibited. Clothing to protect from the sun is essential. Water to cool the body is likewise OK as it is like perspiration and a necessity in 100 degree plus temperatures. But if the race is to continue as an athletic event rather than a technology field test, I strongly believe we must retain the basic runner versus the environment challenge. The challenge must be training, energy management, heat tolerance, and the rest."
Here's a comment from Marshall Ulrich, 13-time finisher and 4-time champion:
"I don't see a real advantage to it as it adds a bit extra weight and the other thought is that it cools the torso, but doesn't seem to concentrate on the neck area where the blood circulates through via the main arteries. At the Wilderness medicene conference we found out some interesting things about cooling the body from some expert doctors that have studied body cooling and dropping temperatures on heat stroke victims. One of those was that the best way to bring the temperature down was to wrap the neck with ice. This was even better than cooling the core such as this vest would do, so I would question its effectiveness. Something else that is interesting that they mentioned at the conference is that misting with luke warm water works the best to cool the core as if the water is too cold, it fools the body into thinking that it doesn't have to sweat as much because of the skin temperature being instantly dropped. So, it is best to use a luke warm water!"