The 2007 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon Race Webcast
Past Champions and Contenders Weight in on the this Year's Race
Looking forward this year's extremely competitive race, it's sometimes a good idea to check in with some past champions and contenders to get their take on things. We spoke with a number of folks as they were preparing to set off on their 135 mile journeys:
Marshall Ulrich - It's his twentieth time across Death Valley, so it's fitting that he's wearing that number. "It's just another piece of homework," Marshall says in his always self-effacing manner. "This year I'm running for the Religious Teachers Phillipini again (see http://www.marshallulrich.com)...we provide education and resource like hospitals to their group." But Marshall is running with a special person in mind this year; his father-in-law, Rory Vose, was just diagnosed with kidney cancer. "I'm dedicating this race to him," Marshall says. "He's just a great guy." Good luck, Rory!
Lisa Smith-Batchen - Like so many others, past women's race winner Lisa Smith-Batchen is running for a charity this year. "It's the only way I can motivate myself to do it," she says with a laugh. This year she's running for MPD, a charity dedicated to working toward a cure for a specific blood cancer. She tears up a bit when she mentions that her friend, Susan Buscher, who won the Iditarod, passed away from the disease last year, but recovers and says "she was a great lady." Smith-Batchen will actually be doing a double crossing this year (292 miles for those doing the math, and hopes to improve her time this year.
Jorge PachecoLast year, Jorge watched carefully as his wife Marie flew to a sub-40 hour finish. After lots of success in other races, including wins at the Angeles Crest 100, Jorge went out fast this morning, running in second behind Brazilian Valmir Nunes. Always quiet and friendly, Jorge said he just "hopes to do well." No doubt about that, as Jorge is definitely one of the pre-race favorites.
Anne LangstaffAfter a six year absence, Langstaff decided it was time to return. Having won with a sub-40 hour time in 2001, she's been "doing a lot of ride & tie events" (races where runners and horses run together). This year she hopes to "run faster" having just finished the Western States 100 in June. "I'm going for 36 hours, but honestly, once you get here, you just want to be able to finish.
Ferg HawkeFerg has done the race three times, and finished as high as 2nd. This year, he had planned to come down an crew for David Goggins (last year's 5th place finisher) but he would have been beyond the maximum six-person crew. "So me and my buddies are just going to take it easy for a couple days, follow the race along. I met David after last year's race. He tracked me down and said he liked what I'd been doing with my training, and picked my brain for most of last year. Leading up to the race, he was calling me every two weeks trying to get me to sign up, but I just have too much going on this year. I'm the Canadian distributor for CarboPro, and I'm just getting that business going, but I just couldn't miss the race either."