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2015 Badwater Cape Fear: Epic Running with Friends from Florida, Facebook, and Beyond

By Jim Schroeder

On March 21, 2015, AdventureCORPS, Inc. put on the BADWATER CAPE FEAR 50 Km and 51.4 Mile endurance runs, that were staged on Bald Head Island, NC, on approximately 10.5 miles of flat roads touring the southern sections of the island, 1.5 miles of narrow single track trail through a dense and scenic forest preserve, finally ending with 19 to 38 miles on sand from Cape Fear to Fort Fisher and return. The start line was at Old Baldy Lighthouse near the ferry terminal while the finish line was at Cape Fear. Adding in a few connecting sections the route covered 32 or 51.4 miles. A cut off time of 9 hours was in force for the 50 Km event, an intermediate cutoff of 8 hours at 50 Km and 14 hour overall cut off for the 51.4 mile race.

There were three well stocked aid stations located at the finish line, one half-way between Cape Fear and Ft. Fisher and another at the turn-around located at the Ft. Fisher Ranger Station that kept the runners fueled and satiated with a wide variety of hot and cold food excellently prepared by the chef of Maritime Market. Also available and greatly appreciate were electrolytes, Hammer gels, sunscreen and minor first aid supplies. Drop bags could be left at Cape Fear and / or Ft. Fisher. The weather was ideal with a starting temperature in the low 50s, low 60s for a high temp and clearing skies after the early maritime layer burned off. The winds were generally light with a moderate afternoon sea breeze that connived to give me a headwind both out and back on the final Cape Fear to Ft. Fisher section.

The social opportunities offered by BADWATER CAPE FEAR were important and very enjoyable as well. Most participants shared houses on the island to avoid the inconvenience and cost of multiple ferry rides from the mainland, so many new friendships were forged. The Facebook event page made it a relative simple process to locate roommates. The Friday night social mixer, hosted by Coastal Urge, was well attended and a lot of fun, an easy way to meet Facebook friends in person. Complimentary Natty Greene’s IPA and Ale were appreciated by many of the runners.

After the hard Saturday on the sand was endured (pleasantly as the scenery was exquisite) the Sunday morning buffet breakfast was also a huge hit. Eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and coffee were plentiful and delicious. Indeed, after a 3-day weekend as provided by BADWATER CAPE FEAR, a painful reentry followed as one returned home to their own “real world” of responsibilities. Fortunately the memories last forever and planning commences for next year’s BADWATER CAPE FEAR to be held the weekend of 19th March 2016; registration is now open at

As most participants at BADWATER CAPE FEAR do, I shared housing with other runners to save on lodging costs, plus split the costs of groceries and craft beers. I have known Bradford Lombardi for a number of years, are great friends, shared lodging many times and know we are compatible. Using the BADWATER CAPE FEAR Facebook event page we tracked down our roommates Keith Hanson, Laura Mudge, Tim Finholm and Jenni Hollenbeck. Bradford and Keith both are sponsored by Skins, so they knew each other already. Myself, I only knew Bradford. We all exchanged social media handles and mobile phone numbers and agreed to meet Friday afternoon at our rental house, then attend race check-in and the Friday night social.

I flew in a day early, stayed in Southport for convenience, and, after dropping off a Ft. Fisher drop bag at the Hampton Inn, I caught the ferry over to Bald Head Island. By chance, Keith and Laura were on the ferry, too, so we met up on arrival at Bald Head Island. Bradford was already at the house while Tim and Jenni were en route. By a stroke of luck, our original rental was occupied so we were transferred at no additional cost to a beachfront location! The views were stunning, the setting charming and, as we relaxed on the deck with a cold beer, I could feel what Bald Head Island was all about: Peace, Tranquility, Not a care in the world, except of course a 51.4 Mile run looming the next morning!

Back Porch of our Bald Head Rental House. From Left: Bradford Lombardi, Jim Schroeder and Keith Hanson. Photo by Laura Mudge.

Back Porch of our Bald Head Rental House. From Left: Bradford Lombardi, Jim Schroeder and Keith Hanson. Photo by Laura Mudge.

After check-in, we all attended the Friday night social mixer graciously hosted by Jeoffrey Nathan, Co-owner of Coastal Urge. The IPAs and Ales were supplied by Natty Greene’s, one of 126 craft breweries in North Carolina. Being careful with our consumption, we chatted with friends a few hours, then made our way back in the dark to our rental house, not without incident as our electric cart battery died a mile short! Bradford jogged back to retrieve our spare cart and we were able to careful ease the dead battery cart back to the house, giggling all the way at our misfortune. Later we found that we only had a partial charge as the former tenants moved out a bit late. With the ultra-run looming, we all crashed early and slept soundly.

Friday night social mixer hosted by Coastal Urge was a big hit with the runners, their friends and families. From left: Bradford Lombardi, Jim Schroeder, Keith Hanson and Laura Mudge. Photo by Host Jeoffrey Nathan, Co-founder of Coastal Urge.

Friday night social mixer hosted by Coastal Urge was a big hit with the runners, their friends and families. From left: Bradford Lombardi, Jim Schroeder, Keith Hanson and Laura Mudge.

Arriving at the Old Baldy Start Line we all were very excited to get underway. The morning chill kept us moving at all times except for the numerous “photo ops” taking place. AdventureCORPS is known for its efficiency and rigorous adherence to a time schedule. Finally we were off for the initial 10.5 mile road segment! Frankly, I was worrying about the 39 mile segment on the sand, but I tried to relax and not start out too fast.

Old Baldy Lighthouse Start Line. From left: Jim Schroeder, Norma Bastidas -Compayre, Meredith Dolhare, Bradford Lombardi, Frank McKinney, Keith Hanson, Breanna Cornell and Kelly Lavallee Facteau. Photo by Alix Shutello, CEO, Owner-Editor of Endurance Racing Magazine.

Old Baldy Lighthouse Start Line. From left: Jim Schroeder, Norma Bastidas -Compayre, Meredith Dolhare, Bradford Lombardi, Frank McKinney, Keith Hanson, Breanna Cornell and Kelly Lavallee Facteau. Photo by Alix Shutello, CEO of Endurance Racing Magazine.

I live along the Atlantic Ocean on a barrier island just off Melbourne, FL and run most every morning on the beach. This I assumed would give me a leg up in trying to better my age group competition against Bob “Badwater” Becker and others. I would be wrong. Bob and I see-sawed through the first 46 miles. As Bob said one time as he passed me yet again, “Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!” At the mile 45.77 Checkpoint 10, I was out of water and food so I needed to cross the deep sand and pull in for a refill. I turned around to say something to Bob only to see that he was still running on the firm sand bypassing CP 10 and appeared to be picking his pace up. I knew what he was up to of course, putting some distance on me, when he spied the opportunity! With just over 5 miles left I tried in vain to catch up, but I could not close the distance. Bob finished in 11:20 with me 9 minutes behind at 11:29. That was a lot of fun and Bob was waiting at the finish line, the first to congratulate me on my finish on a tough course. Also waiting for me, cold IPA in hand for my pleasure, were Bradford, Keith, Laura, Tim and Jenni! I could not have been more pleased! All my roommates turned in impressive performances as can be seen on the results link.

Jim Schroeder Grinding it out on the Sands of Bald Head Island. Photo by Chris Kostman, AdventureCORPS, Founder and Race Director.

Jim Schroeder Grinding it out on the Sands of Bald Head Island. Photo by Chris Kostman, AdventureCORPS Founder and Race Director.

On the course I saw at least 14 or so friends from Florida who flew up together from the Ft. Lauderdale area. See Jodi Weiss’ excellent race report to savor all of their experiences! Naturally I saw numerous other ultra friends from around the US. As always, AdventureCORPS brings the family together and makes the reunion happen!

BADWATER CAPE FEAR Finish Line. From left: Bradford Lombardi, Time Finholm, Jim Schroe de r, Je nni Holle nbeck and Ke ith Hanson. Photo by Chris Kostman, Adve nture CORPS, Inc.

BADWATER CAPE FEAR Finish Line. From left: Bradford Lombardi, Tim Finholm, Jim Schroeder, Jenni Hollenbeck and Keith Hanson. Photo by Chris Kostman, Adventure CORPS, Inc.

I witnessed some very impressive running on the BADWATER CAPE FEAR course! The state of Wisconsin presented us with three top finishing runners in the 51.4 mile race. It must have been the relief from their record long cold winter that spurred them on!

First Overall in the 50 Km was Michael Peragine, down from Carnegie, PA in 4:27, followed closely by Andres Fleury, Clinton, NC in Second Place with a 4:34 and Mark McGeough, Huntersville, NC posting a 4:38. First Female Addie Green, Port Saint Lucie, FL ran 4:54. Sarah McKeough, Huntersville, NC took Second Place Female with a 5:18 followed by Megan Maiser, Naples, FL running a 5:27.

In the 51.4 Mile run, three runners vied all day for First Overall. Eventually Michael Borst of La Crosse, WI ran a blistering 6:29 for First Overall with Jacob Hegge of Onalaska, WI second with 6:37, then Pete Kostelnick of Lincoln, NB third in 6:38. First Female went to Suzanne Tulsey of Oak Harbor, NC, running a 7:56. April Anselmo of Hammond, WI took Second Place Female in 8:18, while Kelly Facteau of Siasconset, MA finished Third Female in 8:51.

The results for all events can be viewed online here.

Not surprisingly, Saturday night was quiet and we all retired early. We planned an early ferry after the Sunday breakfast buffet preparing to say our goodbyes. The weather was changing with rain forecast later that day. The ferry ride was scenic of course, but also rather special in a surprising way. The South Floridians remembered that it was Bradford’s birthday and organized a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” on the ferry. That would be the first time I’ve seen Bradford speechless! And blushing slightly. What a hoot. I expect Bob Becker was behind it all, but I cannot be sure.

A hearty thank you goes to Chris Kostman, AdventureCORPS, Inc. Founder, CEO, Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director, Laurie Streff Kostman, and all of the enthusiastic volunteers and ultra-runners, for a fantastic ultra- running experience. I will see many of you, my ultra running family, at the upcoming BADWATER events this year.


Badwater Cape Fear 2015: new location + beach = fun weekend!

2015 Badwater Cape Fear 51.4, by Jodi Weiss

In 2014, I signed up for the inaugural Badwater Cape Fear 51.4 in the same manner I climb on board for any other ultra event: a new location + beach = fun weekend. I was in! Soon the word was out amongst my Florida ultra buddies, and before we knew it we had gathered a group of 10+ runners and their families to share a house on the remote Bald Head Island in North Carolina. This turned out to be one of the funniest and most memorable race weekends of the year for our group – grammar lessons and kitty cat shenanigans and all – so when it was time to sign up for the 2015 race, it took all of about three hours for 14 of us to jump on board and opt to share a house, fly down together, and race!


Destination: Bald Head Island

If you seek serenity, beauty, the chance to room with buddies in rustic, beachy mansions, and life with seriously limited internet/Wi-Fi for the weekend, Badwater Cape Fear is the perfect destination race. Add to that no cars – bikes or golf carts are the transportation mode on the island – and less than a handful of restaurants + one market, and you are truly in getaway heaven. There is a quaintness to the island that is reminiscent of New England charm, only a bit more down to earth.

This year we rented the roomy Marsh Madness, which overlooked – you guessed it – a marsh, that Bob Becker noted would likely be mosquito heaven in the summer months. Within a few hours, MM became our home away from home, with each of us cozy on the living room couches, the fireplace blazing, magazines sprawled across the dining room table, and the kitchen humming with our famous chefs, not to mention enough food and treats tucked in our refrigerator and across our countertops to feed a small army versus a dozen runners. The best thing about sharing a house with buddies is that it alleviates pre-race jitters as we are all too busy discussing everything but the race to worry.

51.4: Road, Trail, Beach

After a pleasant day of lounging around the island, it was time to lace up our running shoes and get moving! The race commences at Old Baldy Lighthouse, and continues along the winding roads of Bald Head Island, weaving in and out of alleys and paths filled with sprawling mansions and picturesque beach landscapes. A tad over 10 miles, just when you start to feel super at ease and comfortable with your gait, you enter the enchanted tangle of North Carolina trail, which requires you to maneuver tree branches overhead, roots and tree stumps below, and the occasional log and other trail debris to stumble over. And yet, the trail is a magical element of the race. For 1.4 miles you are immersed in a faraway world that forces you to focus, navigate, and utilize your obstacle-course skills. Just when you get comfortable in the trail’s shade, you are back on the road, making your way towards the beach: Endless stretches of majestic, solitude-ridden beach. The waves crashing the shore and drifting out to sea. Birds coming in for a landing and flocks of baby birds scattering the shore like school children out to play. This year the high tide coincided with the mass of us runners hitting the beach, along with a fierce wind that permeated your ears and chest, so that each step forward was a bit of a struggle, until you acclimated, and were absorbed by the ocean’s mesmerizing crash and retreat.

Jodi Weiss on East Beach. Photo by Robert Lee II of

Jodi Weiss on East Beach. Photo by Robert Lee II of

For me, the 39 or so miles on the beach stretch is a time to think and not to think. A time to push and a time to be pulled. An opportunity to be alone in your own mind, which is something that we so rarely achieve in our everyday on-the-go lives. I am a believer that monotony forces us to go inside, to a place where the possibility of change and growth resides – a place where our true magic is born. The first 30 or so miles I was more silent than not, which is untypical for chatty me. But I was afraid that if I spoke, I would break down and all sorts of “I can’t do this; it’s too hard; I don’t have it in me” would come out of me. I was scared I would talk myself out of the possibility of success. And so I let silence take over. I let the rhythm of my feet guide me. I listened to my breath. I followed my running partner and moved and breathed and tried not to project ahead. I tied my goals to arriving at one aid station after another. In an ultra-race, there are so many little mini triumphs: hitting the halfway mark, the 50K mark, then knowing that it is only one more stretch of 10 miles separating you from all the things you want to enjoy in life when the race is over!

Beyond the running, beyond the struggles, and the triumphs – PR’s and 1st-time ultra finishes – one of the most fulfilling aspects of running ultras for me is the camaraderie on the course. At Badwater Cape Fear, you get to run amongst 100+ of your old and new friends, cheering one another on and offering accolades along the way – “you got this,” to “almost done,” to “great jobs” abound. Crossing the finish line is a perk, but it is by no means the reward. For me, when it comes to ultra races, what I gain is deeply internal and personal and something that is in no way tied to a finish time or performance: I get that much closer to accepting and understanding elements of myself.

Just some of the Florida contingent. Photo by Chris Kostman of

Just some of the Florida contingent. Photo by Chris Kostman of

The Badwater Cape Fear Groupies

But a race is about so much more than a race. It is about friendship. It is about the day before the race traveling via planes, shuttles, ferries, and trams to arrive at your race-weekend digs. It is about sitting around on couches in a rented mansion and sharing stories and laughter. It is about fun and games and taking a time out from our everyday lives. It is about setting the long dining room table for the pre-race house dinner, and the morning-of-the race 5 am foot-taping party. It is about waiting at that finish line to cheer in each and every runner friend, and sharing a glass of wine or beer when the race is over. It is about the following day, when a bit broken, a bit more put together, you all attend the post-race group breakfast, and then catch the ferry to journey home together, to your own little lives and back into worlds that are not about races, not about finish lines, not about medals and buckles, but about memories and friendships that last throughout the year. It is about not hesitating for one moment when it’s time to sign up for the 2016 edition of Badwater Cape Fear – and immediately starting the dialogue about which house you want to rent on the island come next year.

2015 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

Helpful Links: Race Results | Race Magazine | Race home

Official Charity: Bald Head Island Conservancy Please Join / Donate!

BHIC Logo-Plantin




Image Galleries on Flickr

Pre–Race Activities: March 17-20, 2015 | Photos by Chris Kostman

Badwater Cape Fear Racer Mugshots | Photos by Chris Kostman, March 20, 2015
Badwater Cape Fear: the first 10 miles on Bald Head Island: | Photos by Chris Kostman and Monica Hennessy
Badwater Cape Fear: Runners round Cape Fear itself | Photos by Monica Hennessy and Chris Kostman

Badwater Cape Fear Finish Line | Photos by Chris Kostman, March 21, 2015

Special thanks, Event Volunteers!

Finish Line Team: Poul Lindegaard, Laurie Kostman, Monica Hennessy, Louise Lindegaard, Ralph Griggers, Kim Winstead, José Lopez, Jaime McDonald, and Margaret McDonald

Bald Head Island Conservancy (CP1): Linda Quirk, Randy Quirk, and Jason Bennett

Mid-Beach: Marybeth Ray, George Ray, Rebecca Ann Bruton, Khwan Bolton, Beth Price, and Gloria Agnew

Fort Fisher: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Eleanor Erickson, Kristen Weitz, Owen Weitz

Start Line: John Alexander, Scott Kollins, and Keith Weitz

Flagpole, and Broom Wagon for first 10.5 Miles: Kevin Thomas

Directions: Heather Caveny, Kim Winstead, Ralph Griggers, and others

Timing: Trasie Phan and Carroll Pope

Media: Trasie Phan of Ultra Racing Network, Alix Shutello of Endurance Racing Magazine, Robert Lee of BeamCatchers, Chris Kostman of RokkorPro

Chris Kostman: Race Director, Photography, Webcast, Finish Line

Thank You!

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


More Image Galleries on Flickr


Badwater Cerro Gordo


We are excited to announce that we are making progress on the BADWATER® Cerro Gordo concept and race. We’ve had a map created and a simple race logo.

The Badwater Cerro Gordo 102-mile footrace will be based upon the Badwater 135 route used in 2014, but excluding the 33-mile out-and-back section between Keeler and Darwin. It will cover 102 miles (166km) non-stop from Lone Pine, CA to the summit of Horseshoe Meadow (elev. 10,000 feet / 3048m), then across the Owens Valley to a 5,500 foot dirt road ascent to the ghost town of Cerro Gordo, and then, after passing back through Lone Pine, a final dramatic ascent to the highest paved point on Mt. Whitney, CA. The start line is at Lone Pine, CA, and the race finishes at Mt. Whitney Portal at 8,360’ (2530m). The Badwater Cerro Gordo course covers three mountain pass ascents for a total of over 17,000’ (5,800m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 12,700’ (4450m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

It will be a terrific winter counterpoint to the Badwater 135!

The first edition will be held in Winter 2015 / 2016 or 2016 / 2017. Details forthcoming on the event webpage here on the site.


Badwater 135 Course Description

Badwater Basin, Death Valley (- 85m / 280ft)
The race begins here adjacent to a pool of saltwater located at the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere.

Furnace Creek Ranch (-170′), Mile 17.5 (Time Station #1)
The first oasis in our journey. A small general store, restaurant, hotel, camping, and ice are available, plus a gas station just 2/10 of a mile up the road next to the National Park Service Visitors Center. Stock up here!

Stovepipe Wells (Sea Level), Mile 42.2 (Time Station #2)
A small general store, gas station, restaurant and motel. Location of the race’s Medical HQ for most of the first 15 hours of the race. Stock up here!

Towne Pass (4956’), Mile 58.7
17-mile long ascent with 5000′ of elevation gain, then a 10-mile long descent with 3000′ feet of elevation loss into the Panamint Valley. It’s a steep and narrow road with limited opportunities to park. Support vehicles, crews, and runners must be cautious and extra aware of the traffic.

Panamint Springs Resort (2000′), Mile 72.7 (Time Station #3)
Gas station / mini-mart, plus restaurant and motel. Stock up here! Also, we rent out “The Cottage” as a way station for any and all race entrants and crews to use during the race: Bring your own towel, soap, and shampoo and make a big effort to keep the room and bathroom tidy. After passing Panamint Springs, a long, steep climb follows on a steep and narrow road with limited opportunities to park. Support vehicles, crews, and runners must be cautious and extra aware of the traffic, and ONLY park in the eight designated parking zones between Panamint Springs Resort and unmarked “Panamint Pass” at mile 84.9.

Father Crowley’s Turnout (4000′), Mile 80.65
The bathrooms and parking lot that designate this view point are not the top of this ascent, though you may hope so. Beyond here, the road continues to rise to 5000’ over rolling hills, then eventually descends into the Owen’s Valley.

Darwin Turn-Off (5050′), Mile 90.6 (Time Station #4)
Just a few miles to the south of our route is the small inhabited ghost town of Darwin, the website for which touts “NO broadcast TV; NO AM/FM radio, NO cell signal; NO stores; NO restaurants.” This is where the race usually starts to get serious for all entrants. Look for Mile Marker 28 about nine miles ahead to indicate your 100-mile mark!

Keeler (3610′), Mile 108.1
This is a small mining town with no facilities which abuts the Owens Dry Lake Bed to the left of the highway. Amazing views of Mt. Whitney and the Sierra Nevada abound. A dirt road to the right ascends to Cerro Gordo, an authentic ghost town which was featured in the 2014 Badwater 135 and will be featured again in the upcoming “Badwater® Cerro Gordo” 102-mile Ultramarathon.

Lone Pine (3610′), Mile 122.7 (Time Station #5)
Lone Pine offers the weary runner and crew all the amenities of a real town: fast food, pizza, restaurants, motels, gas stations, grocery stores, and more, not to mention our Race Headquarters at the Dow Villa. Restock here for the climb to Whitney Portal. Turn left onto the Whitney Portal Road to begin the final leg, the longest and steepest climb of the race (13 miles with 5000 feet of elevation gain). After the turn from Hwy 395, it’s 8.4 miles to Time Station #6, located at the start of the switchbacks. Temperatures will steadily decrease during the ascent (though depending on time of day). Be prepared with extra layers of clothing and rain gear the final few miles; at night it can approach freezing temperature. Be sure your support vehicle is always parked completely off of the road and that you do not block traffic, even for a moment.

Whitney Portal Road Switchbacks, (6890’), Mile 131.1 (Time Station #6)
Just before you enter the infamous “switchbacks” section of the Whitney Portal Road climb to the finish, there is a time station (checkpoint) on the right in the large pullout. From here it’s “just” a four-mile sprint to the finish line (one a road that gets increasingly steeper.)

Mt. Whitney Trailhead, (8360’), Mile 135
Congratulations! You have finished the world’s toughest foot race! A small diner/shop are open during daylight hours. There is also a stocked fishing pond and a campground (because, of course, after running 135 miles, you really want to go fishing and camping!).

For all the Badwater 135 race route details, click here.

Course Profile Breakdown

Flat Miles:

Badwater to Stovepipe Wells 41 miles
Panamint floor 2 miles
Darwin flats 4 miles
Owens Valley to Lone Pine 22 miles
69 miles total

Uphill Miles:

Stovepipe Wells to Townes 18 miles + 5,000 ft.
Panamint grade (west) 15 miles + 3,400 ft.
Lone Pine to Whitney Portal 13 miles + 4,600 ft.
46 miles total +14,600 ft. total

Downhill Miles:

Townes to Panamint Valley 8 miles – 3,400 ft.
Darwin to Owens Valley 12 miles – 1,300 ft.
20 miles total – 6,100 ft. total

Below are real, actual time splits from 2015 and 2016 racers, which are far more useful than average speed time splits, which vary widely in reality due to the severe changes of topography along the course, not to mention the heat, or cold, wind, and more.
Note there is some range: some runners “fall behind” or “make up time” in various stretches depending on how they feel, eat, drink, and many other factors. This is why we included real-time splits for several different runners in the 34-hour, 40-hour, 44-hour, and 46-hour range. Everything is in elapsed time.
Note the time limits for point of reference:
The time limit at Panamint Springs (72 miles) is 24 hours.
The time limit at Darwin (90 miles)  is 33 hours.
The time limit at Lone Pine (122) is 42 hours.
For an Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx) version of this data, click here.

Pace Chart

hours mph min/mile
24 5.62 10:40
25 5.40 11:07
26 5.19 11:33
26 5.14 11:41
27 5.00 12:00
28 4.82 12:26
29 4.65 12:53
29 4.63 12:58
30 4.50 13:20
31 4.35 13:46
32 4.21 14:13
33 4.09 14:40
34 3.97 15:07
35 3.85 15:33
36 3.75 16:00
36 3.71 16:08
37 3.64 16:26
37 3.64 16:27
38 3.55 16:53
39 3.46 17:20
40 3.37 17:48
41 3.29  18:14
42 3.21  18:41
43 3.14  19:06
44 3.07  19:32
45 3.00  20:00
46 2.93  20:28
47 2.87  20:54
48 2.81  21:21


2014 Badwater 135 Route

Race Route: 2014 Edition

Course Profile

Garmin GPS Map

Behold the new and improved 2014 edition of the Badwater 135, the world’s toughest foot race!

Essential Race Route for 2014
Start in Lone Pine and run up Tuttle Creek
Run to the top of Horseshoe Meadow (23 miles uphill with 6500 feet of elevation gain)
Run back down to Lone Pine
Run southeast to Keeler on Hwy 136
Run up Yellow Grade Road to Cerro Gordo (7.5 miles uphill with 5500 feet of elevation gain)
Run back down Yellow Grade Road to Hwy 136
Run southeast on Hwy 136 / hwy 190 to the Darwin Turn-Off.
Turn around and run Hwy 190 / Hwy 136 back to Lone Pine
Finish by running from Lone Pine to Whitney Portal (13 miles uphill with 5000 feet of elevation gain)

Compared to the traditional route, the 2014 version has over 17,000’ (5,200m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 12,700’ (3900m) of cumulative descent, while the traditional Death Valley-based route has 13,000’ (3962m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700’ (1433m) of cumulative descent. Though the 2014 edition does not start in Badwater and traverse Death Valley and Panamint Valley, the actual topography of the new route is significantly more challenging and very much worthy of the moniker, “world’s toughest foot race.”


Route Landmarks

2014 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon Route Landmarks

Created with GPS measurement: June 2014.

Distance Landmark Elevation
NOTE: TL = Traffic Light; SS = Stop Sign; T-Int = T-Intersection
0.0 Start west on Whitney Portal Road from Brewery Street 3740′
0.4 Left on Tuttle Creek Road             NO SUPPORT VEHICLES NEXT 3.1 MILES 3780′
0.6 Pass Portagee Joe Campground on right (toilet 50 yards west of road) 3790′
1.55 Cross LA Aqueduct 3800′
3.8 Pass Hopalong Cassidy House on Right 4500′
4.1 Pass Thundercloud Lane on Left VEHICLE SUPORT BEGINS 4580′
5.8 Right on Lubken Canyon Rd. (SS, T-Int) 4700′
6.2 Left on Horseshoe Meadows Rd. (SS, T-Int) 4800′
Dangerous, narrow area! No slow driving or stopping on road!
9.2 DeLaCour Ranch (Switchback #1 starts)  TOILET 5470′
10.6 Enter Inyo National Forest 6000
11.65 Switchback #2 starts 6400′
13.3 Switchback #3 starts 7000′
14.8 Switchback #4 starts 7600′
15.9 Switchback #5 starts; watch for rocks on road 8000′
16.6 Cell Service ends for Verizon; AT&T continues to work for 1.4 miles
16.7 Switchback #6 starts 8400′
16.9 Switchback #7 starts 8500′
18.0 Walt’s Point (AT&T cell service ends) 9000′
19.0 Summit, followed by short downhill 9300′
19.9 Low Point; resume climbing 9050′
21.6 “Wood Gathering Prohibited” / Gate 9600′
21.7 Stay left / Straight (Old Pack Station location) 9700′
21.9 Stay left / Straight towards Cottonwood Pass 9720′
22.1 Left into Day Use area: Time Station #1     (6135′ cumulative ascent) 9730′
22.2 Toilet on short loop road 9730′
22.3 Right to return down/east on Horseshoe Meadows Rd. (SS, T-Int) 9730′
24.4 Low Point; begin 250′ ascent 9050′
25.25 Summit; begin long descent 9300′
26.4 Walt’s Point (AT&T cell service resumes) 9000′
27.4 Switchback #7 starts 8500′
27.8 Switchback #6 starts 8400′
27.9 Verizon cell service resumes
28.4 Switchback #5 starts 8000′
29.4 Switchback #4 starts 7600′
30.9 Switchback #3 starts 7000′
32.6 Switchback #2 starts 6400′
35.0 DeLaCour Ranch (Switchback #1)  TOILET 5470′
38.4 Right on Lubken Canyon Rd. 4800′
38.5 Left on Tuttle Creek Road 4700′
40.0 Cross Sunset Drive (Crew vehicles go west to meet runners at Mile 43.9) 4580′
40.2 Pass Thundercloud Lane on Right         NO SUPPORT VEHICLES NEXT 3.1 MILES 4580′
42.8 Cross LA Aqueduct 3800′
43.8 Pass Portagee Joe Campground on left (toilet 50 yards west of road) 3790′
43.9 Right on Whitney Portal Rd. (SS, T-Int)             VEHICLE SUPPORT RESUMES 3780′
44.4 Right on Hwy 395 (TL) 3740′
44.5 Pass Dow Villa on Left: Time Station #2 3740′
45.9 Pass last gas and food: Chevron / Lee’s Frontier Deli on right 3700′
46.2 Left on SR 136 / SR 190 3690′
48.8 Cross Owens River 3610′
49.6 Left onto Dolomite Loop 3600′
54.2 Left onto Hwy 136 (SS, T-Int)        WATCH FOR SOFT SHOULDERS 3440′
59.1 Pass Cerro Gordo Rd. on right in Keeler 3680′
59.4 Left on Cerro Gordo Rd: Time Station #3  TOILET NO SUPPORT VEHICLES NEXT 15.4 MILES 3680′
64.0 False Summit “Geology Flats” (Water/Ice)   (8650′ cumulative ascent) 5750′
65.0 Enter Joshua Tree forest 6200′
65.8 “No Hunting” sign on wooden mining equipment on left 6930′
67.1 American Hotel in Cerro Gordo: Time Station #4 TOILET (11,000′ cumulative ascent) 8000′
70.2 False Summit “Geology Flats” (Water/Ice) 5750′
74.8 Left onto Hwy 136 (SS, T-Int): Time Station #5    VEHICLE SUPPORT RESUMES 3670′
79.3 Straight onto Hwy 190  (No Cell Service until Mile 102) 3830′
80.6 4000′ Elevation Sign on left 4000′
82.6 Gunsight Pass 4340′
85.9 Gravesite / Large Cross on left 4540′
90.7 Mile Marker 36.0 on right 5000′
91.25 Large pull-out on right: Time Station #6 (0.9 mile before Darwin turn-off) 5150′
96.5 Gravesite / Large Cross on right 4540′
99.8 Gunsight Pass 4340′
100.7 “100 MILES” painted on road on left side 4160′
101.9 4000′ Elevation Sign on right 4000′
103.1 Straight onto Hwy 136 at Hwy 190 junction (Cell service resumes) 3830′
107.7 Pass Cerro Gordo Road on rightinI Keeler (former TS #3/5) 3670′
113.0 Pass Dolomite Loop on right 3440′
117.2 Pass Dolomite Loop on right again 3600′
118.0 Cross Owens River 3610′
120.7 Right on Hwy 395 (SS, T-Int) 3690′
122.4 Pass Dow Villa on right: Time Station #7 3740′
122.5 Left on Portal Road (TL) 3740′
No slow driving or stopping on road!
125.6 Pass Horseshoe Meadow Rd. on left 4520′
126.8 Pass Cuffe Ranch on right 5100′
128.1 Pass Olivas Ranch Rd. on left 5300′
129.0 Pass Lone Pine Campground on left 5700′
Dangerous, narrow area! No slow driving or stopping on road!
130.8 Large pullout on right before switchbacks section: Time Station #8 6890′
131.8 “The Switchback” 7215′
132.4 Vista Point on left 7400′
133.4 Whitney Portal Recreation Area sign 7700′
133.7 Family Campsites on left 8100′
134.3 Overflow Parking Lot on left 8200′
134.4 Finish Line 100 yards beyond Mount Whitney Trail sign (17,000′ cumulative ascent) 8360′
Copyright ©AdventureCORPS, Inc.

Official distance is 135.0 miles. Remember all car odometers have error. Distances above are accurate in a relative sense, but you may find variation in the overall distance, as we did when creating the above route sheet.


>  Description of the major ascents by 2014 entrant Josh Spector

> Mile by Mile Images of the Horseshoe Meadows ascent from Mile 0 to Mile 23 by Ben Jones

>  More Images of the Horseshoe Meadows ascent from Mile 0 to Mile 23 by Ben Jones 

>  Images of the Cerro Gordo ascent / descent from Mile 60 to Mile 75 by Ben Jones.
While 2014 race entrant Josh Spector and his crew trained on that stretch of the route.


Read about Cerro Gordo, the Ghost Town.
Ghost Town Explorers   Wikipedia   Ghost Towns   Cerro Gordo


Lone Pine Map and Services Guide: a very handy reference tool for Badwater runners and crews
Lone Pine Guide [PDF]

 Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce 


> Lone Pine weather

> Lone Pine historical weather trend data

> Information about the history (1977-2013) race route



2014 Badwater Salton Sea Webcast

Download the May 2014 issue of BADWATER Magazine, featuring Badwater Salton Sea!

BADWATER® Immersion Training Camp / Workshop / Retreat, held in Borrego Springs, CA, immediately prior to BADWATER® Salton Sea


Photos by Chris Kostman, Friday – Sunday, May 2-4, 2014

Badwater® Salton Sea Runner and Support Crew Mugshots


Photos by Marco Apostol, Sunday, May 4, 2014


Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Start Line to Mile 26, through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Instagram Pix)


Photos by Chris Kostman, Monday, May 5, 2014

Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Mile 7 – Mile 27, through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park


Photos by Chris Kostman, Monday, May 5, 2014

Badwater® Salton Sea Pre-Race Activity: Start Line Tour, Runner Check-In, and more Mugshots of Runners and Support Crews


Photos by Chris Kostman, Monday, May 4, 2014


Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Mile 31, approaching Borrego Springs


Photos by Marco Apostol, Monday, May 5, 2014

Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Start Line to Mile 7, through Salton City


Photos by Chris Kostman, Monday, May 5, 2014


Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Borrego Springs Mile 35 to Ranchita Mile 50


Photos by Chris Kostman, Monday, May 5, 2014

Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Mile 5, Teams leave the Salton sea behind


Photos by Marco Apostol, Monday, May 5, 2014


Badwater® Salton Sea Race Day: Finish Line


Photos by Trasie Phan and Chris Kostman, Monday, May 5-6, 2014


Special thanks to the Race Staff!

Marco Apostol, Medical Team

Jimmy Dean Freeman, Roving Official, Trail Sweep, Finish Line

Lori Hoechlin, Post-Race Brunch

Tim Kjenstad, Roving Official, Time Station 1 (Mile 14.4), and TS 5 (Ranchita)

Chris Kostman, Race Director, Roving Official, Photography, Webcast, Finish

Laurie Kostman, Post-Race Brunch


Anna Leeg, Webcast Design

Eric Meech, Medical Team

Don Meyer, Roving Official, Time Station 2 (Borrego Springs) and Finish

Dave and Margaret Nelson, Roving Officials and Photographers

Trasie Phan, RD’s assistant

George Vargas, Roving Official, Time Station 3 (Lower Trailhead), Finish

Bradley Zlotnick, Medical Team

2013 Badwater Salton Sea Webcast

Blog Reports, Podcasts, Video from 2013 Badwater Salton Sea

Photographer David Nelson’s incredible race photos

Ashley Walsh of Team AAAsugar and

One-Hour Podcast with Jimmy Dean Freeman of Team Coyote and Ashley Walsh of Team AAAsugar

Team Ultra University’s Remarkable Video Compilation

Jimmy Dean Freeman of Team Coyote

Elizabeth Kocek of Team ULTRA University

Davd Krupski of Team Miami Thrice

Molly Sheridan of Team FOMO

John Vigil of Team FOMO Part One | Part Two

Special thanks to the Race Staff!

Michael Angelos, Roving Official, Time Station 3 (Lower Trailhead), Finish

Marco Apostol, Medical Team

Jeff Bell, Roving Official, Time Station 3 (Lower Trailhead), Finish

Tim Kjenstad, Roving Official, Time Station 1 (Mile 14.4), and TS 5 (Ranchita)

Chris Kostman, Race Director, Roving Official, Photography, Webcast, Finish

Laurie Kostman, Roving Official, Finish Line, and Post-Race Brunch

Anna Leeg, Webcast Design

Eric Meech, Medical Team

Don Meyer, Roving Official, Time Station 2 (Borrego Springs) and Finish

Dave and Margaret Nelson, Roving Officials and Photographers

Bradley Zlotnick, Medical Team


Hall of Fame: Lisa Smith-Batchen

In 2012, Lisa Smith-Batchen was inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame. Her plaque reads:

Lisa Smith-Batchen

is proudly inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame

in recognition of her seventeen years of devotion

to the world’s toughest foot race

as competitor, champion, and coach

July 2012

Lisa’s Badwater 135 history | An article about Lisa’s induction | Lisa’s Site

Lisa Smith-Batch: A 17-Year Journey at Badwater

Lisa Smith has been synonymous with the Badwater Ultramarathon since the mid-90s when she competing at the front of the race and appearing on magazine covers. As an athlete, she has blazed trails across the globe, winning races like Marathon des Sables, and inspiring others to chase their own dreams. She set the precedent for competing with the top men, paving the way for later standouts like Pam Reed and Jamie Donaldson.

Lisa’s name pops up regularly in the essay section of the race application as the person who inspired the applicant to run, or to compete in Badwater. Coaching athletes is another way Lisa touches athletes across the globe and her students compete every year at Badwater. Likewise for her work as a race promoter; Lisa knows what the athletes need and want in a classic race, and she delivers that with aplomb through Dream Chaser Events, the company she runs with her husband Jay Batchen. Naturally, they met through running and they ran the 2000 Badwater together as newlyweds.

Lisa’s reach extends even further, far beyond sport, as she’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for AIDS Orphans Rising, an effort recognized in person by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.

As an athlete, coach, event promoter, philanthropist, and inspiration, Lisa is an ideal role model and ambassador for the Badwater Ultramarathon. She’s been a shining light at our race for 17 years, and though she has retired from competitive ultrarunning, she will no doubt be a welcome asset to the race for many years to come.

Q&A with Lisa

Why Badwater: The challenge, the people; the desert is where I feel most at home. I love the course and I love Ben and Denise Jones who have inspired me since my first day in Death Valley in 1995. Also, AdventureCORPS always has the most amazing volunteers. As a race director myself, I know all the time, effort and dedication that goes into putting on a successful event. They are very much appreciated!

Funniest moments? Laughing so hard with my crew until I threw up. Sand storms where you are being thrown backwards and all you can do is laugh. Many moments when you would rather cry but choose to laugh: getting a flat tire, hearing people use all kinds of swear words when in there every day life they never swear.

Coaching: I have coached so many people for Badwater: I am coaching four for this year’s race and I have coached every year. My coaching started years ago with coaching high school, then college, and it grew and grew as I learned and learned and learned: Not just through experience but through education. I have coached many of the top runners at Badwater, even Marshall Ulrich and Ray Zahab! I love to coach and even more so now that I have retired from racing!

Badwater Life Lessons: Badwater was my first ultra and my last. I went from a marathon to 135 miles. I fell in love with endurance and distance running. Badwater taught me that it is not really about the race, yet a journey that will stay with you for the rest of your life. I have learned to trust other people who are there to help you, I have learned that most of the time you can work through about anything. I have learned that a “DNF” does not mean you did not finish, it means “MTRC”: Made The Right Choice and learn to race another day. There are reasons people don’t finish a race. We all start a race with the intention and desire to finish. Something goes wrong along the way and you must make a choice that is right for you! Marshall Ulrich got me into my first Badwater and he is still one of my best friends, more like a brother to me. The relationships and bonding with people that really do care about you will stay in your life forever.

Lisa’s Badwater History

1995: 2nd female and 4th overall in 41:24:31.

1997: 1st female and 3rd overall in 37:01, a new women’s course record.

1998: 1st female and 4th overall in 37:33.

1999: Featured in the film, “Running on the Sun.” Finished unofficially in 48:24 after receiving IV fluids.

2000: 3rd female and tied for 17th overall with her husband Jay in 43:23:56.

2001: Crew for Marshall Ulrich during his Death Valley Quadruple Crossing (“I ran over 350 miles with him.”)

2002, age 41: 4th female and 10th overall in 40:28:22.

2003, age 52: 11th female and 33rd overall in 52:11:39.

2006, age 45: 13th female and 55th overall in 49:23:49. Ran a Badwater Double.

2007, age 46: 8th female and 43rd overall in 41:54:17.

2008, age 47: 20th female and 67th overall in 47:17:30. (“This was the year I ran from Las Vegas to the race start. I had the 2nd fastest time up the Portal Road, the last 13 miles, of any male or female who only did the race. I then ran up Mt. Whitney for a total of 306 miles.”)

2011, age 50: Hoping for her 10th finish, Lisa DNF’d. She announced prior to the 2011 race that it would be her last Badwater, regardless of the result that year. (“Yes and after five days in the hospital for almost killing myself, I realized that I have done 10 Badwater races and it is OK for myself to give myself credit for my DNF in 1999, the year I got an IV because I did go on to finish!”)

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