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Badwater 135: The Ideal Support Vehicle (and its Set-Up)?

Recently we asked 2017 veterans of the Badwater 135 to weigh in with their suggestions and experience with selecting, setting up, and using their “ideal” support vehicle at the world’s toughest foot race, as well as best crewing practices.

We – the race organizers – are big fans of using smaller vehicles, such as mini-vans or even small to medium SUVs, even though they make it a bit harder to carry lots of ice, food, water, and gear for the runner and all the crew members. (Just be space-efficient with your packing and have and implement a good plan to buy ice, water, and supplies at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, and Lone Pine, and you will have all that you need.) We prefer smaller support vehicles because they are much easier to park on narrow shoulders, less likely to get stuck in the sand on those shoulders (which happens many times every year at the race), and they are much easier to drive, easier to pass, and easier to park than larger vehicles.

But first, let us state that – without a doubt – the most popular support vehicle at the race every year is the Dodge Caravan (also known as the Chrysler Town and Country), a mini-van that is less than 78″ wide and just 70″ tall. We highly recommend this vehicle! If you are renting one, be sure yours is equipped with “Stow & Go” seats which almost magically disappear into the floor of the vehicle.

Here is a selection of the race veterans’ suggestions regarding support vehicles and best crewing practices:

From Pete Kostelnick, four-time finisher and two-time overall champion and course record holder:

I’m a big believer in less is more. Usually I’m the guy with the least amount of equipment, etc—not because I’m ignorant, but because I bring a lot of items in smaller quantities. This race is all about risk management. For example, don’t bring four pairs of the same shoe. Bring one that you love and another that you could see being a little roomier or cushioned if you get a bad blister. Don’t bring a cabinet with blister gear—bring a ziplock bag with the essentials for quickly treating a blister and getting back out on the run. Don’t bring an additional ice chest just to sit in—bring a mini Gatorade cooler that you can dip your clothing and hat in.  The two years I finished first, we used my wife’s Honda CRV (shown in photos). I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller, but because I didn’t have a million bulky items packed, my crew was able to do a superb job getting me what they knew I would need!

From Frank McKinney, 10-time entrant and seven-time finisher:

• Ideal size of crew: 3

• Chrysler minivans work best. Double sliding doors, with the traffic-side door lockable.

• Driving the course from Furnace Creek to the finish line the Saturday before has proven very helpful and improves crew efficiency. We do it every year and helps all learn where we can and can’t park, and where we might prefer to park/take breaks.

• NEVER take key out of ignition.

• Perform the van set-up during Monday while runner rests, NOT before

• Having one primary driver allows them to focus on this most important responsibility 

• Keeping Air Conditioning off during the race is NO longer needed. New vehicles are engineered for constant A/C.

• Runner has own ice cooler. Because of compromised immune system due to fatigue, keeping a dedicated cooler for the runner with no unprotected hands going into its ice is a must.

• Always have an ice bandana, small ice baggie, and bottle made up and ready in advance of every crewing stop

• Pacer should carry a walkie talkie to radio ahead the runner’s needs. Be sure to find obscure (quiet) channel to avoid confusion with other teams.

• Pacer/crew always comes across the road to runner. Keep runner moving toward finish line, not crisscrossing to van and back. The race is long enough!

• Having at least one crew member stay at Stovepipe Wells at the start of the race keeps a smaller crew fresh and more efficient. (That crew member then joins the crew when they and the runner arrive in Stovepipe Wells during the race.)

• Covering the front seat with a taped down towel for runner/crew rest. If for runner, recline it before they get there.

• Having a tarp to cover the windshield and/or windows to block heat in the event of mid-race issues is a good way to stay cool during an extended break, and may avoid the need to stake out.

• Always keep a record of the runner’s intake of calories, electrolytes, protein, fluids, etc. This makes for a more efficient second day when all are tired and can’t remember these details for reference.

• For those who aren’t frontrunners, insist on certain rest stops for the runner, especially on Day 1. We implement mile rest stops vs. time stops. By running to a certain mile stop it keeps the runner moving a bit faster than saying “let’s break after 5 hours.” As I’m a 40+ hour finisher, we typically break at mile 27, 50 (just past the time cut-off point), 59 (top of Towne Pass), 72 (just past the time cut-off point), 80.6 (Father Crawley turn-off). From there to the finish most plans go out the window.

• Crew rest is as important as runner rest.

• Put one crew in charge as the Crew Chief well in advance of the start, and that person has full authority during the race. As sleep deprivation sets in, crew members’ worst characteristics come to the surface, creating multiple “bosses.” This is alleviated with a designated crew chief.

From David Coats, four-time entrant and two-time finisher:

1. All crewmembers should pack light and use collapsible duffel bags. Not only do you have to get people and supplies for the race in the car, but you are also going to have to carry all of your personal gear: Pack carefully to minimize space!

2. Don’t use duct tape or other similar materials to affix race numbers and signs on the vehicle, especially a rental vehicle. These are very hard to remove after baking in the hot sun. (Use blue “painter’s tape” instead.)

3. A plastic tarp in the back of the vehicle is a very good idea and will protect the carpet of the vehicle. 

4. Bring a vehicle that has a light colored interior and exterior, if at all possible. 

From Adam Connor, crew member in 2016 and race finisher in 2017:

We are currently supporting one of the Aussies who is running this year with the same tips, so here goes:

– in 2016 we used a Dodge caravan. It was great except it didn’t have any 12v outlets at the back to plug in lights etc.

– 2017 I think we had a similar sized Kia, again no rear power but it did have a couple for the back seat that we used. Also, make sure you go over the car in detail: we only discovered a huge space we could have stashed things in when we dropped the van off after the race!

– We used 2 coolers- one for clothes and one for food. Some unbroken ice bags in the food one so we could get ice that wasn’t contaminated for drinks etc. (Yes we had a cooler full of ice dedicated to keeping clothes cool. Probably a bit over the top, but the most important part was we circulated about 6 ‘Buffs’ between runner and cooler. You probably already know that there’s a particular technique for rolling up a buff with a few ice cubes in it. When you put this around your neck, it gives blissful cool for 20-40 minutes, right where the arteries are in your neck. You can make up several of these at a time and have a few hours of peace, just grab one and hand to runner, chuck old one in the cooler for later. And of course this meant we had heaps of ice in an emergency….. but it tasted like a runner’s neck.)

– For similar races in Australia I love to get a roof mounted ‘pod’ where all of the non-race stuff is stored during the race. That gets it out of the car. We were not able to hire one, so that tip is probably only good for your USA-based competitors.

– Get an unusual light for the outside of van so your runner can tell which is the correct van at night because of flashing, colours, etc.

– Because you’re only allowed to open the van doors from right side, we put the sleeping crew member on the left side. Also an eye mask is good.

– For bragging rights, get an LCD thermometer and tape it to the outside of your van so you can photograph it during the race without actually getting out and experiencing what your runner is feeling…..

– We tested the remote locking system and found that the car would not lock if the keys were in the ignition. So we made a rule that during the race, the keys were to stay in the ignition. This means you don’t have to constantly ask ‘who has the keys?’

– We tested making a shelter with a couple of poles and a tarp, connected to the car but it was just annoying in the end and we gave up.

– We taped our ‘stake’ to the inside of the car:

– Antibacterial hand wash, and the coolers, were also marked as in the above pic.

– Oh, and we had a mascot on our dashboard. His name was Ernie, for no particular reason:

Andrea Kooiman, three-time finisher, recommends a mid-size SUV, such as her own personal Jeep that she used in 2017 with a four-person crew:

Finally, we want to conclude with some photos of what is the largest “legal” vehicle to use as a support vehicle at the Badwater 135 (per the race rules), the Nissan NV 3500HD 12. This vehicle was recently used at Badwater Salton Sea by Tom Atwell, who will compete in the Badwater 135 this July (2018) and will use this as his support vehicle.

But please note, although there are certain advantages to using a vehicle this large (mainly, lots of space for crew members and for lots of coolers and gear), it will also be VERY difficult to park along many parts of the race route because of very narrow shoulders. We therefore do not recommend this vehicle, although it will be allowed in 2018.

From Tom: Width is definitely between 78” and 79”, not more than 79”. The height is approximately 80”.  For comparison, a standard-size minivan,  like a Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town and Country, is 70” in height. A Mercedes Sprinter Van, by comparison is 110” tall.  

Where Are They Now? Lisa Tamati of New Zealand

A new feature on the Badwater website is “Where Are They Now?” in which we interview a Badwater athlete from back in time and who we haven’t seen in quite a few years. Kicking off this new feature is Lisa Tamati of New Zealand, who competed in, and finished, the Badwater 135 in 2008 and 2009.

Lisa Tamati poses for her 2008 mugshot

Name and Nationality: Lisa Yvonne Tamati, New Zealand

Run Coach and Mindset Expert, Motivational Speaker, Podcaster at “Pushing the Limits”, Author of two books, documentary producer, 100 mile Race owner Northburn100. Serial entrepreneur.

Year(s) you ran Badwater 135:
2008, age 39: 38:24:43: 10th female, 24th overall. Bib #86.
2009, age 40: 37:14:09: Bib #86. (131-mile finish due to forest fire at the finish line)
See Lisa’s Badwater data and splits: Click

Where you lived then:
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Where you live now:
New Plymouth, New zelaand

Do you recall when, where, and how you first heard of the Badwater 135, and why it called out to you?
This is a great story. I firstly heard about Death Valley through my boyfriend at the time. This was back around the mid 90’s. He had cycled through Death Valley in the middle of summer. We had spent a few years adventuring around the world together, cycle touring, trekking, kayaking etc and he had always told me I was a useless runner, that I had no talent whatsoever. So a few years go by and we break up; actually he left me while we were crossing the Libyan desert as part of a 4-person expedition. Crossing a 250km military barred zone with no outside support and only the water we could carry which equated to 2 litres a day. We had a domestic (squabble) in the middle of the desert and he left me. So anyway that relationship went south but I always remembered him regaling me with stories of Death Valley and how brutal and crazy it was to cycle it in mid-summer. Then years later, over a decade later, I read about the Badwater 135 in a magazine somewhere. By this time I was into ultramarathon running and, in particular, in deserts, so I decided one day I would do it, even if it was just to prove to him I could: That this useless runner could actually run through Death Valley in the middle of Summer and of course a few years later I did, twice. So there. So much for useless. Slow doesn’t mean useless.

When you think of the Badwater 135 now, what one word or thought first comes to mind?
The word that sums it up for me is EPIC. This race is a once in a career event.

What were the key races you ran that helped you to become an athlete capable of finishing the Badwater 135?
There were many years of racing in the build up to to qualifying for my dream race, The Badwater 135. In total I think I spent around 15 years really preparing for this brutal and amazing event. I ran many multi-day stage races, 24-hour track races, 100km and 100 mile events. Some highlights were:
The Marathon des Sables x 2
The Desert Cup in Jordan 168km non stop
Trans333km across Niger non stop event.
National Champ for New Zealand 24 hour race

Lisa during Marathon des Sables

How did you train for the Badwater 135, the course and the conditions? Did you have a coach and, if so, what kind of guidance did she or he give you?
I ran a lot, but we had winter here in New Zealand so it was really tough to simulate the heat we would face, so I trained often in the sauna. I also did a lot of strength work which I hadn’t done previously to make sure I had a stronger upper body. That helped.

You and your support crew traveled a long way to compete; how did you finance that?
This was the toughest part of this project. We had to raise an awful lot of money to do this event and in order to bring my crew with me. We held auctions, we begged and cajoled sponsors to come onboard. I had a wonderful lady, Andrea Needham, take over the first year to help with the fundraising. She had just had a double lung transplant and was very sick but she managed to bully companies into giving me the cash I need to get there. Her energy was amazing. Sadly she died not long after my first race and we dedicated my first book “Running Hot” to her memory.

At your first Badwater 135, what stood out the most about the whole experience?
Obviously the heat is like nothing I had ever experienced before or since. It literally blew me away for a start and I remember feeling terrified when I first arrived in Death Valley, feeling ill just walking around the resort was a huge task. I had actually no real idea how I was going to do it. Especially coming from a New Zealand winter. The key was we came over 10 days earlier to help our bodies get over jet lag and acclimatize to the heat.

Each year, Badwater Race Director Chris Kostman presents his personal Gumby to one runner to carry for the first few feet of the race. Lisa was that person at the 1000am wave in 2008. See next shot for the pass-off.

Lisa passes Gumby back to Chris Kostman as her first Badwater 135 begins.

Lisa on the road in 2008: Just 130 miles to go!

What surprised you the most about the race?
Actually everything was as I expected except that damned 60km odd stretch after the second pass (Father Crowley) going towards Lone Pine. That nearly broke me. I thought I had the worst behind me by then but the monotony of that stretch did my head in.

Lisa’s crack support crew made her dream possible.

What were some of the low points, and how did you recover from them?
I remember vividly at the second race absolutely hitting the wall at around the 70km mark. I had gone out a little too fast for the first 30km, trying to keep up with my ex-husband Gerhard who was in the race that year too and that was a mistake.

That night was hell as I went up the first pass, many times I passed out, vomited, had hallucinations and I lost a lot of time but somehow my crew got me through. I remember my paramedic friend Megan Stewart at one point grabbing my hand and throwing me on the ground and I was about to run over a rattle snake coiled up on the road. That was at least some fun to interrupt the misery. I remember the hallucinations clearly too. I saw giant penguins dressed in tuxedos waving and cheering me on as I crawled up the pass.
I have another story to tell as well. I had a friend who had been living in New Zealand, but who was from the US and had returned home very ill; he needed a liver transplant but was on the waiting list. He was an ex-Olympic sprinter, NFL player, and actor named Howard Dell.

Howard had planned to come up from LA to crew for me but on the day before the race he didn’t turn up and we were very worried. We got through the race briefing and he was nowhere in sight, but then I got an email with a photo of Howard who was in the intensive care unit after suffering a lung embolism, hooked up to all sorts of machines. The sign read. “Lisa, I will be there somehow.” This was just 24 hours or so before the event was to kick off. Then, at 200am that morning, Howard, who had signed himself out of hospital against his doctors’ wishes, had driven himself all the way to the Death Valley and had found out what rooms we and the crew were in and had banged on the door of one of the boys’ rooms. They were very shocked to see this 6 foot 4 African-American man standing in the doorway in the middle of the night, asking for me.

The crazy man was true to his word: He got there somehow and he crewed for me even though he was so very very sick. My paramedic friend had her hands full keeping an eye on him, too, and – in one of those most amazing moments as I was really at a low on this first pass, vomiting and sick as a dog – I remember my crew putting me in the car to lie down for a bit and my amazing friend Howard who sings like an angel, singing to me to calm me down and take my mind away from the torture. A beautiful memory. Howard went on to have his liver transplant and is now coaching and competing again in athletics as well as acting and doing any number of incredible things.

Howard Dell might be the most dedicated and determined Badwater 135 crew member in history – and THAT is saying a lot!

Why did you return a second time to compete, and how did that compare to your first race?
I had to return because it was just the most incredible experience of my life and I wanted to relive it and to experience it one more time. It took an awful lot of effort to raise the money a second time but I had to come back to experience it one more time. I envy my ultrarunning friends who live closer by and have had the chance to do it many times. Alas it is so hard to get there when you are coming from New Zealand.

Lisa and her crew cross the line in 2009, her second finish.

What impact did your Badwater 135 participation make on you as a runner, and as a person?
This race was a turning point in my life. It came along at a time in my life where my personal world was in chaos. I had just recently divorced and lost not only my marriage but my business, the house, the country I had been living in (Austria – I was there for 13 years). I just returned to NZ at age 38, devastated and lost. Back then the only thing I knew to get through tough times was to run and run and run. So that’s what I did and then I applied to get into Badwater and was actually blown away to actually get a slot. I knew how tough it was to qualify and I honestly wasn’t expecting it, but it turned out to be one of the luckiest breaks of my life. It gave me a new focus, a new project and a mission to get on. My ex-husband had actually run it the year before so I really wanted to do it, too. (We were still friends after the break up and had this sporting rivalry going so this was definitely a goal for me.)

What have you done as a runner / athlete since then?
I have done many events since then; some highlights include running the length of New Zealand 2250km (1400mi) for charity, The North Face 100 Ultra in Australia, The Big Red Run multi-day in Australia, filmed the pilot of a failed TV series “Run the Planet” running 140km near Alice Springs, The Gobi Desert March multi-day stage race and the Sahara multi -day, the Round the Mountain 100-miler in my home province and competing for New Zealand at the 24-hour Commonwealth Champs in England and 100km national races three times, placing second each time, the Manaslu Trail race – a 240km multiday event around the Mt Manaslu Massiv in Nepal – and my favourite of all La Ultra/The High, a 222km non-stop event in the Indian Himalayas over the two highest motorable passes in the world going twice up to altitudes around 18,000ft.

What are you most proud of in your life since you ran the Badwater 135?
The biggest achievement of my life or rather the greatest journey of my life has been helping my mum – who was left with the severest of disabilities 19 months ago after suffering an aneurysm (bleed in the brain) – back to health, back to life again. She was written off by the medical profession who didn’t expect her to make much progress as the brain damage was so severe, and she had virtually no higher function left. Only a couple of words, no memory of who she was and who who family were, no ability to control any movement in her body. Basically after she came out of the coma, the lights were on but she really wasn’t home. This was the worst experience of my life as my mother is my rock and this shook me to the core and no one believed she would ever do much again or have any quality of life, but if there is one thing that running races like the Badwater 135 has taught me is that we are capable of far more than we think both physically and mentally and that if you have incredible determination and willpower and love you can do things most people think is impossible. I didn’t know how to quit so I used every lesson learned from running ultras and taking on massive challenges to throw literally every ounce of my energy and being into her rehabilitation. I searched the world for the best experts to help, I studied and learnt everything I could and I fought like a crazy woman to advocate for her and to get the help we needed from the medical profession. The single biggest breakthrough I had was I discovered the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injury; it wasn’t accepted in New Zealand but there were Doctors in the USA who had experience in this area, so I set about getting her access to a chamber, approaching a commercial dive centre to use their chamber, getting sign off from Doctors, signing waivers etc, etc. That combined with a daily 8-hour rehabilitation programme and 24/7 care that we as a family provided means that now 19 months later mum is back. She is her normal intelligent and delightful self again, she can now walk again (it took us 15 months to ditch the wheelchair for good), she can read, write and is getting stronger by the week. She is 80% of the way back and she is living life full on again and loving it. I marvel everyday at her tenacity, her quiet stubbornness and willingness to do whatever I tell her to at the age of 76. It is still possible to come back from such a injury and I want to shout that from the rooftops and give other people hope. I now have opened our own hyperbaric clinic and make this therapy available to others ( If you work, grind, fight, and never give up, miracles can happen even when no one else believes you.

A recent shot of Lisa and her Mum

What is the ultrarunning scene like in New Zealand now, and are you involved with it?
Ultrarunning is now huge in New Zealand. We have so many events for a small country it’s mad. The popularity of the sport worldwide has boomed. When I first started we were a bunch of eccentric weirdos, teaching ourselves as we went along for the most part, but now it’s big business and big sport. I think this is great, we as a species need to push our limits and pioneer new paths for ourselves. Everything has been pretty much done in this world but we can still explore our own limitations, connect deeply with our own souls and with nature when we push into the great unknown.

The mentality of the athletes I think is changing and not always for the better. Ultrarunners have traditionally been a tough but extremely welcoming bunch who would help each other on the trails. Our sport is such that it can be at times dangerous and people often break and so many times I have been helped by wonderful people, other runners who have come to my aid in times of need and vice-versa and this is something I always loved about the sport. The importance of the podium never seemed to outweigh the importance of comradeship, but that I think is slowly changing as the professionalism of the sport grows and develops and there is more at stake.

I co-own the Northburn 100 Mountain Ultra event. I had this idea of doing a something epic in New Zealand after racing the Badwater 135 and searched for a place to hold the southern hemisphere’s toughest 135 (modeled after Badwater 135). That didn’t eventuate and instead it turned into a 100-miler, running over one of New Zealand’s biggest high country sheep stations in the South Island (it just wasn’t big enough to make it a 135-mile). This is one tough race with crazy weather patterns hitting often and temperatures ranging from below zero to mid thirties Centigrade (30 to 85F) and from blazing sun to full-on snow storms. Anything is possible. The total ascent at over 8500 metres (28,000 feet) is formidable and the terrain is tough. It’s brutal but beautiful – as we say – and we welcome ultrarunners to come and test their mettle at this event which is held in March every year.

How much do you run on a weekly basis now? Other exercise / fitness regimes?
I have had a hell of a year health-wise. I was diagnosed with tumours in my uterus which caused great havoc and left me without enough blood in the body to even keep my organs going sometimes, so I was forced to have transfusion after transfusion just to survive and the brutal thing for me apart of the exhaustion and pain was that I couldn’t run. I literally lacked the blood to supply the oxygen and this was a hard pill to swallow and I could have taken the easy way out and had a hysterectomy but I wanted to know why this had happened so I went on a mission to find out the underlying causes and discovered among other things I had done some serious damage to my kidneys especially through the extreme running and this had lead to other complications which lead to the growth of these tumours. So I haven’t been able to do much, but now, 9 months later, I am back on the mend and running again but not huge distances. Most of my workouts now are high intensity and short, crossfit and Tabata style routines combined with daily yoga, breathing and meditation work and I feel very fit again although it’s a different type of fit. I can’t roll out of bed anymore and run 100 miles like I used to be able to. But that’s ok.

I now spend a good part of my life passing on my experiences and knowledge to the new generation of runners. I do a lot of motivational speaking, speaking to corporates, the military, universities, schools, and charities.

I have an online Mindset Academy which is all about developing mental toughness, emotional resilience and cultivating the habits of success and a winner’s mindset. Ultramarathon running teaches us so many important lessons for life and it has been the greatest teacher for me and helped me to face the challenges of life and now I love to share that knowledge with my students via my Mindset Academy called “The Path of an Athlete”.

Have you competed in any sporting events – of any kind – in the past 12 months, and if so, what?
The only one I did was a charity run across the North Island of New Zealand to kickstart the Samuel Gibson Memorial Trust raising money for people with disabilities so they could live out their dreams. Our friend Samuel who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta had died during a half marathon when he fell out of his wheelchair. We had been planning a 330km run together (he in the chair and me and two others running) and he was training for this when the accident happened and we were devastated, so in his honour we did this run and raised $55,000 for his charity.

Do you hope to, or even think about, running the Badwater 135 again?
I do. I don’t think it will be for a number of years as I can’t travel much at the moment due to my mum’s situation, but I dream of being like my hero Death Valley Jack – AKA Jack Denness – and coming back in my older years and having another crack. He, by the way, is a rockstar. UPDATE: Lisa will return to Badwater 135 for the 2018 edition, serving on the support crew of Gregor Gucwa, a Polish runner living in Norway who Lisa is training and coaching for the race!

Do you have any advice for future Badwater 135 applicants, and entrants?
• Don’t expect any sort of good times out there. It’s so hot, nothing compares, and therefore time predictions are tough. All bets are off.

• Make sure you have the best crew you can get. They need to be dedicated to your mission and be fit and healthy themselves. It’s almost as tough on them as it is the runner and a poor crew can finish your race before it starts. Mine, both years I did it were phenomenal. and had their systems worked out pretty fast. It helped we had each year at least one who had been there before and knew what to expect.

• I had a paramedic with me the second year and she kept a really close eye on all my vital statistics like fluid and calories and temperatures and blood pressure, weight etc. That was great to have.

Is there anything else you’d like to add or tell us about?
If anyone wants to contact me and ask me anything I would love to hear from them. Feel free to email me on and of course if anyone wants to read about my Badwater adventures and many others they can check get my books “Running Hot” and “Running to Extremesvia my website. I would also love any ultrarunners out there to tune into my podcast “Pushing the Limits” where I interview extraordinary achievers across a number of genres to do with health, fitness, science breakthroughs, and mindset and – of course – many runners make their way into the line-up.

My last words are: If you are thinking or dreaming of doing Badwater 135 one day, make it happen. It will be, guaranteed, one the most epic adventures of your life. It will be tough, it might even break you, but whatever happens out there it will change you for the better, it will make you a stronger athlete and a stronger person. Crossing that finish line is a moment I will never ever forget.

More About Lisa:

Personal / Professional Website(s):
Main website:
My coaching site is:
Race Website:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic:

Social Media Links:
FB Athlete Page:
FB Coaching Page:

Link(s) to any Major Media Coverage:
20:20 documentary on my first race at Badwater (screened in NZ): Click
Desert Runners Movie (screened around the world): Click
The World’s Highest Race documentary (screened around the world): Click
Gobi Desert Race documentary: Click
The Fit Club – TV show in NZ – sample link: Click
Trans333km – Niger – documentary in German with english subtitles: Click

2018 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast


@Badwater Twitter / @BadwaterHQ Instagram / FB Event Page

OFFICIAL CHARITY: Bald Head Island Conservancy: Please join and donate to BHIC today!

2018 Badwater Cape Fear Image Galleries:

2018 Racer Mugshots by Chris Kostman

2018 Pre-Race Activities by Chris Kostman

2018 Race Day Action by Chris Kostman

2018 Finish Line by Chris Kostman

2018 Race Day by Robert Lee!

The fifth annual Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon took place March 17, 2018 on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. A field of 179 runners from seven countries and twenty-nine American states competed, with 61 of 62 runners completing the 50km race and 113 of 117 runners completing the 51-mile race.

With 50km and 51-mile race options, Badwater® Cape Fear features a twelve-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads of Bald Head Island, followed by either 19 or 39 miles of running on the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. The race is held along the Atlantic Seaboard with spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and wild and undeveloped marshlands to the west. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating, and inspiring manner in which to experience the Cape Fear region in all its grandeur!

This exquisite natural setting is the perfect antidote to the “real world” and a wonderful counterpart to the desert sands and mountains of Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert featured in the two West Coast BADWATER® races.

Registration will open soon for the March 2019 edition, and there is a 200-runner limit which will sell out. Whether you are a grizzled Badwater veteran, or looking to take on your first Badwater race, we hope you will join us!

Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU made it happen!

Pre-Race Support: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Bob Becker, Mary Kashurba, Pamela Hogue, Ashley Lindsey, Bernadette DePerty-DuBois, Natalie Nolasco, Stacey Shand, Luke Way, Sarah Shearer, Susie Chan, Sean Cahill,  Jason Foureman, and others

Start Line: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Aidan Peers, and Chris Kostman

Directions: Chris Shank, Julie Lee, Nanette Watjen, Christine Osborne, Steve Acciarito, BHI Conservancy interns, and others

CP1 / Bald Head Island Conservancy: Emily Ryan, Julie Lee, Andrea Lombardi, Alisande Anderson, Aidan Peers, Linda Peterson, Poul Lindegaard, and others

CP2 / Mid-Beach: Jeff Winchester, Mary Kashurba, Andrea Pitera, and Bonny Mcclain; Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks: Jessica Stitt, Ann Hood, Daniel Kempf, and Anne Terry (with massive assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

CP3 / Fort Fisher: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Eleanor Erickson, Jack Erickson, and Michelle Beasley (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

Finish Line: Chris Kostman, Stacey Shand, Christy Johnson, Pete Navatto, Luke Way, Poul Lindegaard, Chris Shank, and others

Timing: Pamela Hogue

Photography: Robert Lee of BeamCatchers and Chris Kostman

Public Safety support: Village of Bald Head Island Public Safety and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Rangers

Thank You!

This event is held under permits from the Village of Bald head Island and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, and with the incredible support of Bald Head Island Conservancy and Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks. We thank them, and all our North Carolina friends, for their support!

2017 STYR Labs Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release



To download the full Press Release, Media Kit, and Credential Application in PDF format, click here. To download the July 2017 issue of BADWATER Magazine, click here.


Death Valley, CA:  On July 10-12, AdventureCORPS presents its legendary STYR Labs BADWATER® 135. Now in its 40th year, the world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements. In scorching temperatures and at altitudes as high as 8,360 feet (2548m), runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers from 19 countries and 20 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race, “ it is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet.

The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.

While runners began running the course in the 1970s, the race itself has been part of the fabric of life in Inyo County since 1987. A recent study indicated an annual economic impact of 1.2 million dollars, half of it spent in Death Valley National Park and surrounding gateway communities such as Lone Pine, CA. The race is supported by U.S. Congressman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) of California’s 8th District, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.


A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2017 STYR Labs Badwater 135 features 57 Badwater veterans and 38 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” of every speed and ability, as well as athletes who have the necessary running credentials, but are primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or in other extreme pursuits.

With one of the most international fields in race history, the athletes represent nineteen countries: Argentina (3), Australia (2), Brazil (5), Bulgaria (1), Cayman Islands (1), Colombia (1), Czech Republish (1), France (1), Germany (3), Hungary (1), Italy (2), Japan (4), Jordan (1), Mexico (5), Philippines (2), Portugal (1), Sweden (1), United Kingdom (2), and USA (58).

Twenty different American states and territories are represented: Arizona (1), California (27), Colorado (3), Florida (6), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (2), New York (2), North Carolina (2), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (2), Puerto Rico (1), Tennessee (3), Texas (8), and Wyoming (2).

There are 31 women – a record number – and 69 men. The youngest runners are both 28 (Marcia Zhou of Hong Kong and Jared Fetterolf of Dallas,TX.) The oldest female is 61 (2016 finisher and age group record holder Pamela Chapman-Markle of San Leon, Texas) and the oldest male is 70 (six-time finisher Mark K. Olson of Covina, CA). The overall average age is 47. Full roster details are available here:

Both men’s and women’s course records were broken in 2016: Pete Kostelnick, 28, of Lincoln, NE set the new men’s record of 21:56:31, while Alyson Venti (now Allen), 34, of New York, NY, set the new women’s record of 25:53:07. (The former records were held by Valmir Nunez of Brazil with a time of 22:51:29 set in 2007, while the women’s course record of 26:16:12 was previously set in 2010 by Jamie Donaldson of Littleton, CO.) It is expected that the winners of the 2017 STYR Labs Badwater 135 will finish in near record time for both men’s and women’s divisions. The average finishing time is approximately 40 hours, while the overall time limit is 48 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle. There is no prize money.

The Holy Grail of Ultra Running

The 2017 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran men’s contenders include 2015 and 2016 champion Pete Kostelnick, 29, of Hannibal, MO (who also broke the 36-year-old Trans-USA running record last year), 2014 champion Harvey Lewis, 41, of Cincinnati, OH (who placed 2nd in 2016), 2011 men’s champion Oswaldo Lopez, 45, of Madera, CA (Mexico citizenship), two-time men’s runner-up Grant Maughan, 53, of Australia, and other notable contenders such as 2016 Badwater Salton Sea champions Jared Fetterolf, 28, of Dallas, TX and Ray Sanchez, 50, of Sacramento, CA, as well as Marco Bonfiglio 39, of Abbiategrasso, Italy, a three-time Nove Colli champion and Spartathlon runner-up in 2016. (For a  full preview of the top men’s field, click here.)

The largest women’s field in race history is also stacked with talent, but – for the first time in perhaps two decades – no recent women’s Badwater 135 champions. The women’s field of 31 runners includes 11 rookies and 20 veterans. Notable contenders include two-time Badwater 135 veteran Brenda Guajardo who is a three-time winner of the Nove Colli ultramarathon in Italy and placed 2nd female and 10th overall in the 2016 STYR Labs Badwater 135. Rookie entrant Noelani Taylor, 37, of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL is the women’s 2015 and 2016 Daytona 100 winner and 2016 women’s Badwater Cape Fear champion. Rookie entrant Szilvia Lubics of Nagykanizsa, Hungary, 43, is the three-time women’s champion of the Spartathlon in Greece and three-time women’s winner of the Ultrabalaton in Hungary. With a record number of women competing, it will be an intense battle. (For a full preview of the top women’s field, click here.)

Also competing are Badwater legends Marshall Ulrich, 66, of Evergreen, CO, a twenty-time Badwater 135 finisher and four-time winner in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996, along with David Jones, 65, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, eight-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder, as well as Badwater Hall of Fame inductee Lisa Smith-Batchen, a nine-time finisher who was the women’s champion in 1997 and 1998. Danny Westergaard, 58, of Palos Verdes Estates, CA notched his tenth consecutive Badwater 135 finish in 2016 and will receive a special plaque commemorating that effort before he toes the line again this year.

Every year is a new year at the Badwater 135, with rookies and “previously unknown” athletes surprising the contenders with top performances. New stars will shine as the race unfolds.

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Monday evening, July 10:

• Wave 1 (800pm): 15 men and 16 women; 11 rookies and 20 veterans

• Wave 2 (930pm): 28 men and 5 women; 18 rookies and 15 veterans

• Wave 3 (1100pm): 24 men and 7 women; 9 rookies and 22 veterans

BAD-UltraCup.2The STYR Labs Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in April, and now concludes with the STYR Labs Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. In 2014, seven athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed the 2015 Badwater Ultra Cup, sixteen completed the 2016 Badwater Ultra Cup, while nineteen racers completed the first two Badwater races this year and will toe the line at this third and final Badwater race on July 10.

Now in its eighteenth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome the return of our title sponsor, STYR Labs, an innovative nutrition customization and tracking platform delivering cutting-edge supplements to connected athletes and health and fitness consumers worldwide. The advanced ecosystem includes an activity tracker, wireless scale, wireless water bottle, and free app that collects health and fitness data to create personalized multivitamins or protein blends specific to the user’s health and fitness goals and needs. Sergio Radovcic, founder of STYR Labs, is no stranger to this race with three consecutive Badwater 135 finishes. More info at

AdventureCORPS  also greatly appreciates the support of Farm to Feet Socks, Caring House Project Foundation, ZZYXXZ, and, plus the local support of Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Dow Villa, Pizza Factory, the community of Lone Pine, CA, the people of Inyo County, and other generous companies and individuals. More info:

Official Charities of the Badwater 135 include 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 thirty million dollars and directly assisted thousands of challenged athletes world-wide. AdventureCORPS also supports the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Death Valley Natural History Association, Conservation Alliance, and One Percent For The Planet. One of the goals of the Badwater 135 is to raise funds for, and awareness of, these organizations. More info.

This year, over 50 of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice. Some of those include 100 Mile Club, Bald Head Island Conservancy, Caring House Project Foundation, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Association, Great East Japan Earthquake, Race to Erase MS, The Herren Project, WeROCK Orange County, and others. All are listed on the race roster.

This year’s race celebrates the 40th anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer and human potential guru, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement. For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:

1977 Al Arnold:

1987 Race:


A stock image gallery – for bona fide media use only – may be accessed at the following link, with Photographer Name / attribution required:

For the duration of the 2017 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at

The Badwater 135 is held under permits from Death Valley National Park, California Department of Transportation, Inyo National Forest, and Inyo County. Media and/or commercial photographers attending the event may be required to obtain permits from some of those same agencies.


Follow the 2017 webcast at (including real-time GPS tracking of all runners):

Follow the 2017 time splits and results at:

Follow the race on Twitter:

Official Hashtag: #Badwater135

Follow the race staff’s live photostream on Instagram:

Follow the race director’s live photostream on Instagram:

Follow the race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr:

Follow the race director’s photostream archive on Flickr:

Join the Facebook conversation:

Download the July 2017 issue of BADWATER Magazine:


Oak Park, CA-based AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm producing and promoting ultra-endurance sports events and the world’s toughest brand, BADWATER®. Adventure is our way of life. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the STYR Labs Badwater® 135, BADWATER® Salton Sea, and BADWATER® Cape Fear, and other events. Our products include the Badwater® line of apparel, skin care products, gear, and services. Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, this group effort is dedicated to exploring the inner and outer universes, seeking adventure, energy, and insight both in daily life and “out there.” More info is available at and

Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.


Chris Kostman
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director
AdventureCORPS, Inc. 638 Lindero Canyon Road, #311
Oak Park, CA 91377 USA

Insights and Anecdotes from Al Arnold

Memories from the man who went first, proving it possible (that’s Al at Badwater Basin in the photo above, when he attended the race in 2002):

In early 1961 I was invited to a gathering of scuba divers in Oakland. The guest speaker was Jacques Cousteau. At the end of his speech, he mingled with the club members in their bright dive club jackets. I wasn’t a member and so didn’t have the jacket. When they introduced me to Mr. Cousteau, he asked if I was a diver. A member said, “no, Jacques, he’s a jogger.” He flapped his arms and pointed at the sky and said “astronaut,” then he pointed at the floor with swimming motions and said “aquanaut.” Then he raised my arm overhead and said “Al, the joggernaut!” and everyone cheered. That’s the inception of the word “joggernaut,” which is how I was introduced to the Badwater 135 runners when I came to spectate the race in 2002.

Back in 1977 when I ran from Badwater to Mt. Whitney, there were humourous moments and there were serious moments:

I was running along my myself by Artist’s Canyon and this limousine came driving along. It pulled over and all these gorgeous women from Belgium got out. They wanted to know what I was doing, and then posed for pictures with me. I spent some time with them, but not enough, ha ha! The temperature was, of course, very hot. As a result, there was a mirage across the road and after they pulled away and headed down the road, it looked like the limo just ascended into the sky.

Later I made it to Panamint Springs and the Department of Transportation was stopping traffic from traveling up Hwy 190. There was demolition going on and there would be an eight-hour delay on the Father Crowley climb. Not wanting to wait eight hours, I grabbed two gallons of water and headed north, then west into the Panamint Valley desert. Eventually I ascended a rocky canyon all the way up to Father Crowley checkpoint, with the Cal Trans crews honking their horns so I would know which way to climb.

When I got back to the road, my only remaining crew member was Eric. I essentially was abandoned by the rest of my crew. (Earlier they had gone into Artist’s Canyon and I didn’t see them again until Stovepipe Wells. Fortunately Cal Trans came along and gave me water.)

Simply put, without the crew, there can be no runner, so I’m thankful to Eric for sticking with me for the whole run. Crew members have to train for the heat, be alert, and take this very, very seriously. It could be a matter of life and death.

Two weeks after my 1977 run from Badwater to Mt. Whitney, I was in Hawaii, at the beach. I was hit by by a wave and totally paralyzed. At the hospital I was diagnosed with Brown-Siccard Syndrome. They gave me a walker and said maybe in a year I would be able to walk a few steps. I gave them the walker back and told them to give it somebody who could use it.

Three days short of one year later, I ran around Lake Tahoe, 72 miles. Without a walker.

The body follows the mind, and with hard work and dedication, anything is possible!


NOTE: Al Arnold is the Neil Armstrong and Edmund Hillary of ultramarathons, the first to run between Badwater and Mount Whitney, back in 1977, after two failed attempts in 1974 and 1975. He became the first inductee into the Badwater Hall of Fame in 2002, on the 25th anniversary of his historic run, and remains a staunch friend and fan of the race. He lives in Walnut Creek, CA and is 88 years old. His birthday is February 4, 1928. He can be reached by email at alarnold1977 “at” and loves hearing from fellow ultrarunners. His essays are archived here on the website.


July 2017 issue of BADWATER Magazine

Behold the July 2017 edition of Badwater Magazine. Thanks to the always awesome Kevin Fung for the design and layout! Thanks, too, to eight-time Badwater 135 official finisher Ian Parker for the cover photo! (See more of Ian’s superb nature photography and dramatic Badwater race photography at this link.) Thanks, Bob Corman of the Silver State 508 Hall of Fame for the precision printing!

All racers and support crews should study the magazine carefully. Each runner and staff member will receive a hard copy during Racer Check-In on July 9 in Stovepipe Wells.

Download the magazine (it’s 68 pages and 10MB) at this link.

2017 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

Results | Roster | BADWATER Magazine | Race Website | Twitter @Badwater | Instagram @BadwaterHQ

Official Charity: Bald Head Island Conservancy Please Join and Donate today!

BHIC Logo-Plantin

Image Galleries: Click any title!

The fourth annual Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon took place March 18 this year on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. A field of 183 runners from seven countries and twenty-six American states competed, with 76 of 79 runners completing the 50km race and 101 of 104 runners completing the 51-mile race.

With 50km and 51-mile race options, Badwater® Cape Fear features a twelve-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads of Bald Head Island, followed by either 19 or 39 miles of running on the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. The race is held along the Atlantic Seaboard with spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and wild and undeveloped marshlands to the west. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating, and inspiring manner in which to experience the Cape Fear region in all its grandeur!

This exquisite natural setting is the perfect antidote to the “real world” and a wonderful counterpart to the desert sands and mountains of Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert featured in the two West Coast BADWATER® races.

Registration is already open for the March 17, 2018 edition, and there is a 200-runner limit which will sell out. Whether you are a grizzled Badwater veteran, or looking to take on your first Badwater race, we hope you will join us!


Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU made it happen!

Pre-Race Support: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Scott McAllister, Bob Becker, Pamela Hogue, Andrea Kooiman, Ashley Lindsey, Bernadette DePerty-DuBois, Natalie Nolasco, Payge McMahon, Ralph Griggers, Dave Krupski, Ethan Olds, Ray Sanchez, Jared Fetterolf, Michele Hallit, Keith Blade, Andrew Glaze, and others

Start Line: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Scott McAllister, Mary Kashurba, and Chris Kostman

Flagpole: Steve Henson

Directions: Steve Henson, Chris Shank, Gerald Godoy, Mona Landy, Julie Lee, and others

Bald Head Island Conservancy (CP1): Emily Ryan, Payge McMahon,  Poul Lindegaard, Natalie Momier, Tammy Calloway, and others

Mid-Beach / Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks: Jeff Winchester, Michelle Beasley, Chris & Kathy Batchelor, Ann Hood, Daniel Kempt, and Bob Maffitt; plus Mary Kashurba, Karen Williams, Sarah Hoss, and Steve Willett (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

Fort Fisher: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Eleanor Erickson, Jack Erickson, and Scott McAllister (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

Finish Line: Chris Kostman, Mona Landry, Poul Lindegaard, Chris Shank, Michele Hallit, and others

Timing: Brooke Milligan, Amber Walters, Natalie Momier, and Tammy Calloway  of Bald Head Island Conservancy

Photography: Robert Lee of BeamCatchers and Chris Kostman

Public Safety support: Village of Bald Head Island Public Safety and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Rangers

Thank You!

This event is held under permits from the Village of Bald head Island and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, and with the incredible support of Bald Head Island Conservancy and Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks. We thank them, and all our North Carolina friends, for their support!

Runners round Cape Fear itself during the 2017 Badwater Cape Fear, captured on 35mm film by Chris Kostman


Oak Park, CA / Tengchong, China – BADWATER®, the world’s toughest brand, is pleased to announce the inaugural Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in Tengchong, Yunnan Province, China on November 18-19, 2016. The Badwater Race Director, Chris Kostman, is serving as the Co-Race Director and is involved with every aspect of the race. The 104-mile (168km) challenge – with a 36-hour time limit and and 29,000 feet (8800m) of elevation gain – is a mountain trail race through history and time. Live tracking of the competitors will be available both here on this page, as well as on the official website for the race at this link: The full race roster is below, and the field includes seventeen Badwater 135 veterans, many of whom are featured on the official race website at this link. Also below is the course map (which includes a 124km / 77mi “short cut” route with alternate awards and results), elevation profile, and outline of the checkpoints.

For our full race announcement, including a remarkable promotional video, click here.

Roster By Bib #: (scroll down for roster by first name)

Bib Name M/F Nation Age
2 Michel Pierre Poletti Male France 61
3 Mick Thwaites Male Australian 42
5 Nathan Montague Male United Kingdom 36
6 Jiang Tao Male China 39
7 Tu Dan Male China 38
8 Kerri Kanuga Female Grand Cayman Island 46
10 Frederic Asseline Male France 47
11 Andrew Glaze Male U.S.A 38
12 Jared Fetterolf Male U.S.A 28
13 Dai HongFei Male China 39
15 Bogdan Onyschenko Male Ukraine 41
16 David Tan Tian Wee Male Singapore 40
17 Cheryl J. Bihag Female Phillippine 43
18 Yang SuQi Female China 41
19 Lv ZhongLin Male China 42
20 Oksana Riabova Female Ukraine 28
21 Bai YuQiu Female China 45
22 Pu GeWen Male China 42
23 Luo CanHua Male China 24
25 Yuan KaiHong Male China 28
26 Hua ZhaoHong Male China 30
27 Shi HongXia Female China 38
28 Wei Chao Male China 32
29 Xie Peng Male China 32
30 Li Qiang Male China 30
31 Chen Kun Male China 39
32 Wang XiJun Male China 40
33 Jimmy Dean Freeman Male U.S.A 40
35 Sun Jian Male China 32
36 Joshua Holmes Male U.S.A 38
37 Stacey Shand Female Canada 37
39 Su ZhenLei Male China 34
40 Mauro Chasilew Male Brazil 47
41 Ray Sanchez Male U.S.A 49
42 Yu YanMeng Female China 27
43 Hiroyuki Nishimura Male Japan 46
46 Qin JunPing Male China 40
47 Andrea Kooiman Female U.S.A 41
48 Shi Feng Male China 30
49 Wu ZeNan Female China 26
50 Yuan Yuan Female China 35
51 Catra Corbett Female U.S.A 51
52 Gong MingCheng Male China 48
53 Li RenLi Male China 39
55 Luigi Dessy Male U.S.A 38
56 Yang Xiao Bo Male China 16
57 Huang YanBo Male China 38
58 Dion Leonard Male United Kingdom 41
59 Li GuoZhi Male China 64
60 Marcia Zhou Female U.S.A 28
70 Bob Becker Male U.S.A 71
84 Danny Westergaard Male U.S.A 57
87 Dan Lawson Male United Kingdom 43
93 Breeze Sharma Male India 42
99 Greg Pressler Male U.S.A 49

Roster by First Name:

Bib Full name M/F Nation Age
47 Andrea Kooiman Female U.S.A 41
11 Andrew Glaze Male U.S.A 38
21 Bai YuQiu Female China 45
70 Bob Becker Male U.S.A 71
15 Bogdan Onyschenko Male Ukraine 41
93 Breeze Sharma Male India 42
51 Catra Corbett Female U.S.A 51
31 Chen Kun Male China 39
17 Cheryl J. Bihag Female Phillippine 43
13 Dai HongFei Male China 39
87 Dan Lawson Male United Kingdom 43
84 Danny Westergaard Male U.S.A 57
16 David Tan Tian Wee Male Singapore 40
58 Dion Leonard Male United Kingdom 41
10 Frederic Asseline Male France 47
52 Gong MingCheng Male China 48
99 Greg Pressler Male U.S.A 49
43 Hiroyuki Nishimura Male Japan 46
26 Hua ZhaoHong Male China 30
57 Huang YanBo Male China 38
12 Jared Fetterolf Male U.S.A 28
6 Jiang Tao Male China 39
33 Jimmy Dean Freeman Male U.S.A 40
36 Joshua Holmes Male U.S.A 38
8 Kerri Kanuga Female Grand Cayman Island 46
59 Li GuoZhi Male China 64
30 Li Qiang Male China 30
53 Li RenLi Male China 39
55 Luigi Dessy Male U.S.A 38
23 Luo CanHua Male China 24
19 Lv ZhongLin Male China 42
60 Marcia Zhou Female U.S.A 28
40 Mauro Chasilew Male Brazil 47
2 Michel Pierre Poletti Male France 61
3 Mick Thwaites Male Australian 42
5 Nathan Montague Male United Kingdom 36
20 Oksana Riabova Female Ukraine 28
22 Pu GeWen Male China 42
46 Qin JunPing Male China 40
41 Ray Sanchez Male U.S.A 49
48 Shi Feng Male China 30
27 Shi HongXia Female China 38
37 Stacey Shand Female Canada 37
39 Su ZhenLei Male China 34
35 Sun Jian Male China 32
32 Wang XiJun Male China 40
28 Wei Chao Male China 32
49 Wu ZeNan Female China 26
29 Xie Peng Male China 32
18 Yang SuQi Female China 41
56 Yang Xiao Bo Male China 16
42 Yu YanMeng Female China 27
25 Yuan KaiHong Male China 28
50 Yuan Yuan Female China 35
7 涂丹(Tu Dan ) Male China 38

168kmcoursemap 168kmcp 168kmelevation


BADWATER announces Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in Tengchong, Yunnan Province, China

Held in “China’s Colorado,” Mt Gaoligong Ultra is a Mountain Trail Race through Time and History

Oak Park, CA / Tengchong, China – BADWATER®, the world’s toughest brand, is pleased to announce the inaugural Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in Tengchong, Yunnan Province, China on November 18-19 of this year. The 104-mile (168km) challenge – with a 36-hour time limit and 29,000 feet (8800m) of elevation gain – is a mountain trail race through history and time.

As befits anything that Badwater is developing and backing, the Mt. Gaoligong Ultra is extremely difficult, with well over 29,000 feet (8800m) of cumulative elevation gain, and a corresponding loss of more than 29,000 feet. It will be held primarily on mountain trails, including single track, double track, jeep roads, and some cobblestone paths. The start line will be at the Yin and Yang Gates in WenZhi-GuangChang Square in Tenchong – allowing the racers to balance their energies as they embark upon this epic challenge – but quickly disappears into the Mt. Gaoligong National Park and mountain range in all its green grandeur covered in trees, bamboo, ferns, and the occasional rice paddy.

Sections of the route traverse the 2400-year-old Southern Silk Road, while the Stillwell Road, a critical supply line built by the Americans during World War II, is also part of the race route. (Americans are particularly appreciated in Tengchong, in part because of the Stillwell Road, and also because the Flying Tigers – American pilots who volunteered to fly for the Chinese during WWII – were based here. (A large sculpture commemorates them outside the Tengchong Airport.) The finish line will be in 600-year-old HeShun Town, the ancient, cobblestone part of Tengchong, providing a historic and exhilarating final few miles for the racers as they complete their historic tour.

The race will be fully supported, with a marked trail, 14 fully stocked aid stations, drop bag service, and more; personal support crews are neither necessary nor encouraged due to the remoteness of the route. Though the main event will be the full 104-mile route, a 77-mile (124km) “short cut” route will be offered mid-race for those not on schedule to finish the entire route within the 36-hour time limit.

Registration for the event is already open, and many well-known Badwater race veterans have already registered. These include Americans Bob Becker, Catra Corbett, Jimmy Dean Freeman, Jared Fetterolf, Joshua Holmes, Andrea Kooiman, Greg Pressler, Ray Sanchez, and Danny Westergaard, plus Luigi Dessy of Puerto Rico, Mick Thwaites of Australia, Dan Lawson of the United Kingdom, Mauro Chasilew of Brazil, Stacey Shand of Canada, Breze Sharma of India, and Hiroyuki Nishimura of Japan.

This new race is not a Badwater® race, per se, but it is a “Badwater Presents” event which Chris Kostman, the Badwater Race Director, is helping to develop and for which he serves as co-race director. Kostman’s Chinese partners, XingZhi Yunnan Co. Ltd, are absolute professionals and extremely enthusiastic to host a world-class event this November, and annually thereafter.  Kostman’s Chinese co-race director, Lin Ma, is rock solid and Kostman’s nickname for him is “Mr. Cool.” Even though his English is minimal and Kostman’s Chinese is even more non-existent, they both speak the same language when it comes to developing and hosting incredible, life-changing sporting events. Another of the principals from XingZhi, Margaret King, recently attended the STYR Labs Badwater 135, which Kostman directs. She and her colleagues work for  XingZhi, a China-wide event production company helmed by Xiangdong (Ben) Qu, with over a decade of experience hosting scores of multi-day endurance events with up to 2000 entrants. All their events emphasize the crossroads between sport, culture, and tourism.

Hired as a consultant because of this 32 years of developing world-class – and world-famous – ultra events, Kostman spent eight days in Tengchong in June consulting on every aspect of the race, from routing to start line and finish line, trail marking, aid stations, medical support, communications, marketing, and more. Said Kostman, “I literally spent a full week teaching ‘the Badwater Way’ of creating, hosting, directing, managing, and marketing events. Fourteen to eighteen people shadowed my every move and took about a hundred pages of notes! On top of that, I was absolutely blown away by the entire route, the historic setting, and even more so by my Chinese partners!” Since June, Kostman and his Chinese colleagues have been having regular WeChat video conferences to work together to develop the race. In November, Kostman will be spend a full month in China to help host and direct the race. Further collaborations there and elsewhere in China are already in development.

For 2016 Mt. Gaoligong Ultra race results and live GPS tracking, click here.

Co-Race Directos Chris Kostman and Lin Ma exchange gifts during the Contract Signing Ceremony at Tengchong City Hall on June 13, 2016.

Co-Race Directors Chris Kostman and Lin Ma exchange gifts during the Contract Signing Ceremony at Tengchong City Hall on June 13, 2016.

Kostman is a lifelong historian who speaks several languages, has traveled extensively in over 50 countries, and worked for ten years as an archaeologist in the Middle East and South Asia. As such, the historic setting and deep multi-cultural opportunities of this event intrigue and inspire him on many levels: “I couldn’t be more thrilled about the race, the route, the history, and my partnership with the team at XingZhi. Bringing together my love of history and culture, with ultra sporting events, is a dream come true for me. But beyond that, I truly believe this race will be quickly recognized as one of the world’s top ‘Must Do’ ultramarathons. Plus, ultra running is relatively new to China as they have only about ten ultramarathons, so I’m excited and privileged to help bring this sport to the Chinese mainstream!”

The official website, including registration link, is

The race is also featured here on the Badwater website.

For Further Information, Contact:

Race Management: Margaret King of XingZhi Co. Ltd. at jindoudou “at”

Runners / Participants Contact: Ms. Zoe Qianzhao of XingZhi Yunnan Co. Ltd. at zhaoqian “at”

Race Director / International Representative: Chris Kostman of AdventureCORPS at adventurecorps “at”

AdventureCORPS announces Fisher Space Pen as Official Pen of Badwater

Oak Park, CA – AdventureCORPS® is pleased to formally announce its partnership with Fisher Space Pen® of Boulder City, NV and to recognize Fisher Space Pen – American-made pens originally created for the space program – as the Official Pen of Badwater®, the world’s toughest brand and the world’s toughest races.

AdventureCORPS and Badwater only partner with reputable brands with similar values and which already have a proven track record among Badwater athletes. In this case, AdventureCORPS Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director Chris Kostman has been a fan and user of Fisher Space Pens for as long as he can remember. Although Chris never lived out his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, he’s remained a staunch advocate of space exploration and all things NASA.

Fisher Space Pen rose to prominence when founder Paul Fisher invented a retractable, pressurized pen called the Anti-Gravity 7 (#AG7) that worked flawlessly in zero gravity aboard the first manned Apollo mission in 1968. Five decades later the company continues to thrive with pens still flown aboard every manned space flight.

Besides organizing the world’s toughest races, Chris has worked as an archaeologist across the Middle East and South Asia, is a technical cave diver, and has competed in wintertime snowshoe races across Alaska. Through it all, he’s been a Space Pen user.  “These pens write upside down, under water, in temperatures as cold as 30 below and 250 above, in zero gravity, and they essentially last forever! Fisher Space Pen is an iconic American brand built to perform in extreme conditions, so a partnership with Badwater is an absolutely perfect fit,” said Kostman.

As a result of this partnership, all entrants in all four BADWATER races, including the legendary STYR Labs Badwater 135 on July 18-20, Silver State 508 ultracycling race on September 17-19, and Badwater Cape Fear on March 18, 2017 are receiving Fisher Space Pens which feature a laser etching of the BADWATER® brand logo. The feedback from the runners who received them already at the May 1-2 Badwater Salton Sea has been, well, out of this world.

“Fisher Space Pens are the most extreme writing instruments – both in and out of this world. We are proud to be a partner with BADWATER on their extreme races! Do something worth writing about,” commented Matt Fisher, VP of Sales for Fisher Space Pen, and the grandson of the founder and inventor, Paul C. Fisher.

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It's no coincidence that the Fisher Space Pen display boxes look like the surface of the moon! Fisher Space Pens have been carried on every manned NASA mission since Apollo 7!

It’s no coincidence that the Fisher Space Pen display boxes look like the surface of the moon! Fisher Space Pens have been carried on every manned NASA mission since Apollo 7!