Comments from Crews in Death Valley
By Steve Matsuda
The section from first timed station at Furnace Creek, about 17.4 miles into the Kiehl’s Badwater Ultramarathon, to the second station at Stovepipe Wells at mile 42, cuts through the heart of Death Valley. Most runners reach this section during the heat of the day. A survey of this part of the course at mid-day on Monday finds most crews and runners in good spirits.
Danny Westergaard’s crew said he’s doing well. He’s running much faster in the race than he had in his training sessions. Like many crews, they are keeping track of all food and fluid intake so they can avoid the cause of any problems that may arise.
Gabor Kozinc took a break in Furnace Creek, for a shower and some foot care and was back on the road to Stovepipe looking strong.
Frank McKinney’s crew said he running according to plan, taking a scheduled break at Furnace Creek.
Kent Moeller’s crew said he’s been having stomach problems. Moeller, from Denmark, and has never been to the United States before. He, like most runners today, is glad for the cloud cover.
Anne Langstaff’s crew gives kudos to everyone involved with the race. They also said that a woman who works in a local restaurant was nice enough to stop at their crew vehicle and give them two bags of ice. Langstaff was the women’s champion in 2001. Her crew said she’s doing well and expects great things this year.
Monica Otero is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She hopes to become the first Brazilian female to complete the race. Her crew said she’s doing great. They did admit to driving off and forgetting her folding chair at one point but managed to double-back and retrieve it.
James Moore’s crew said he was doing fine through Furnace Creek but had to take extended breaks after that. He says he doesn’t understand why his legs “aren’t coming back” but tells his crew, “I’ll come around.” They decide to leave his numbered stake in the ground so he can leave the course for a break in Stovepipe and return to the same spot to continue his race. The rest works wonders because he heads back out onto the course looking great.
Scott Weber’s crew said he’s also doing well. He had to lie down in the car once but is happy that the weather is great!
Adam Lint’s crew, consisting of his sister and two of his running buddies, said he’s doing OK. Lint, 24, is the youngest entrant in this year’s race.
Kira Matukaitis’ crew is near the Beatty cutoff. She’s doing very well, two hours ahead of schedule.
Lisa Bliss’ crew said she’s cheery and steady. Left-right-left-right. She’s also singing a lot. Apparently a good sign.
Vito Bialla’s crew said he is two hours ahead of schedule also. He is very strict with his method, they say, and knows what he needs to do to finish.
This is the second time at Badwater for Bonnie Busch. Her crew said she has positive energy and has been happy and patient.
Tracy Thomas’ crew said she’s had a little stomach problems but nothing they are concerned about. She’s had no major problems and is running well.
David Balsley’s crew said he was suffering from dehydration so he staked-out for an hour and took some rehydration salts which brought him back. His spirits were raised by the arrival of crew/pacer Sarah Reinertsen. Sarah is an elite athlete who became the first female with a leg amputation to complete Ironman Kona in 2005. Balsley had taught Sarah how to run on her first prosthesis 20 years ago.
Martin Franklin’s crew said he is feeling good. He looks strong also.
Jaime Huneycutt’s crew said she is doing well and ahead of a very loose schedule she’d set for herself.
Noora Alidina’s crew says she’s doing really well.
Gary Hilliard’s crew said he is struggling. He’s going through a tough patch. He takes a rest at Stovepipe, then begins to power up the 18-mile climb to Towne’s Pass.