Applying to Compete in the 2014 Badwater Ultramarathon
Globally recognized as the toughest race of its kind, the Badwater Ultramarathon is a pure athletic challenge of athlete, shoes, and support crew versus a brutal 135 mile stretch of highway, a hellish environment of up to 130 degrees, and a forty-eight hour time limit. From the start line in the bowels of Death Valley to the finish line high on Mt. Whitney, this one-of-a-kind foot race offers the promise of a supremely personal achievement along with international accolades for those who rise to the occasion.
A true "challenge of the champions," the Badwater Ultramarathon pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes – runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers – against one another and the elements. The time limit is forty-eight hours and the finisher's award is the coveted Badwater belt buckle.
The Badwater Ultramarathon is, and always has been, an invitational race. Applicants will be considered purely upon their race application and its specific written merits. No applicant is guaranteed entry, including race veterans.
The primary application submission period begins on January 20, 2014 and ends on February 1, 2014. A committee of five race staff members, one of whom is the race director, will then review and rank each application on a scale of 0 to 10. The ranks will be tallied on February 21 and the top 45 rookie applicants with the highest scores, and the top 45 veterans with the highest scores, will be invited (rookies and veterans compete separately for 45 slots for each category). At that time, or later, up to ten more applicants (rookie and/or veteran) may be invited at the race director's discretion, for a total of approximately 100 entrants, and about 95 actual competitors on race day.
It is anticipated that the 2013 race field will include women and men from a dozen or more countries and at least two dozen American states, veterans and rookies, as well as physically challenged athletes.
Badwater Ultramarathon: Will You Get In?
There's a question we're asked all the time and it goes like this:
"I've done X, Y, and Z races. Will I get into Badwater next year?"
Click here for the answer
Badwater Ultramarathon: Schedule of Events
Please review the Need To Know page for all pertinent dates.
Badwater Ultramarathon Qualifying Standards
Those submitting an application to compete in the 2014 Badwater Ultramarathon must meet at least ONE or more of the following THREE Qualifying Standards. Please review these Qualifying Standards to determine which standard(s) describes you, if any. You will be required to select at least one of these when you submit your race application. Those who do not meet at least one of these standards MAY NOT apply.
Let us be more clear on that last point:
To protect the integrity of the event and the safety of those involved, as well as be fair and consistent in the enforcement of all rules and regulations, we don't make exceptions for anybody. If you do not meet one of the Minimum Qualifying Standards, DO NOT APPLY and do not ask us for permission to apply. For further information on the mandatory qualifying standards, please review this page.
Here are the THREE Qualifying Standards, at least ONE of which must be met prior to applying:
- You have officially finished the Badwater Ultramarathon (the actual race held since 1987; “solo” efforts will not be considered, except those made prior to 1990) AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event (or significant ultra cycling or triathlon event) in the previous 13 months (other than Badwater), i.e. between 1/1/2013 and 1/31/2014.
- You have officially finished at least THREE running races of at least 100 continuous miles in length, at least one of them in the prevous 12 months. Exception: Officially finishing the 81-mile BADWATER: Salton Sea race "counts" as one 100-mile race for this qualifying purpose. Note: Those applying from countries in which races of 100 miles in length are not common (i.e. outside North America) may submit an alternate race(s) of considerable distance and difficulty, however the overall requirement of three races of at least 100 continuous miles in length remains in effect for all applicants.)
- You have officially finished - in 48 hours or less - the Brazil 135, as well as one running race of at least 100 continuous miles in length, AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in the previous 13 months, i.e. 1/1/2013 and 1/31/2014.
In addition to meeting at least one of the three qualifying standards listed above, the ideal applicant will have extensive experience in ultra endurance sports, defined as at least five years of participation in some of the following (though this is not strictly required):
- Ultra Running: In particular, completing the Grand Slam, multiple 100-milers, or multiple week-long desert stage races in the same calendar year.
- Ultra Triathlon: Double Iron, Triple Iron, Ultraman, (or longer).
- Expedition-Length Adventure Racing: Eco-Challenge, Raid Gauloises, Primal Quest, or similar.
- Ultra Cycling: Furnace Creek 508 or comparable ultracycling races at least 500 miles in length.
- No applicant is guaranteed entry, including race veterans.
- Some special consideration is given to applicants who are veteran Badwater Ultramarathon pacers. (A letter of recommendation from the athlete for whom you paced at the Badwater Ultramarathon is suggested. It must be sent by email from the person for whom you paced directly to the Badwater race office. It must be sent to raceoffice-at-badwater-dot-com within 24 hours of your application submission, or, preferably, immediately prior to your application submission.)
- Some special consideration is givent to applicants who are BADWATER: Salton Sea veterans.
- You must have significant, relevant, applicable race results from 2012 and/or 2013.
- 24-hour race results may NOT be submitted as equivalent to a 100-miler, regardless of how many miles are completed. However, feel free to include 24-Hour race results in your application, in addition to meeting the minimum qualifying events.
- The three qualifying events of "100 continious miles" means literally 100 continuous miles. Therefore, stage races such as MdS and RTP do not count towards the minimum qualifying standards. However, feel free to include this type of information on your application, in addition to meeting the minimum qualifying events.
- Minimum application requirements must be attained prior to submitting the application to compete in the upcoming Badwater Ultramarathon.
- For every race mentioned, the application must include the full race name, year, place, and finishing time, plus the hotlink to the specific webpage on the event website which will verify your claim. All links listed should be complete, i.e., start with http://.
- "Officially finishing" any event mentioned is defined as meeting all time cutoffs, including the overall time limit, for the event in question.
STEP 1: Between approximately January 20 and February 1, 2014, applicants must visit the website to complete the extensive online Race Application Form. This is the only way to apply. There is no "paper application" that one may submit offline.
STEP 2: As stated above, for those applicants who have experience as a pacer at the Badwater Ultramarathon: A letter of recommendation from the athlete for whom the applicant paced at the Badwater Ultramarathon is suggested. It must be sent by email from the person for whom the applicant paced directly to the Badwater race office. It must be sent to the race office at least 24 hours prior to the application submission.
STEP 3: According to the timeline outllined on the website, we will notify each applicant via email whether he or she is, or is not, confirmed to compete in the 2014 Badwater Ultramarathon. Each accepted applicant will then be emailed the three-page Entrant Contract, Entry Fee Payment Form, and Charitable Donation Form (this last page is optional). The accepted applicants will then have just two weeks to submit the paperwork and entry fee to the race office in order to secure their spots on the race roster. Those potential entrants who miss this deadline will lose their spot on ther roster and that vacated spot will be made available to next most qualified applicant.
Due to permit, safety, and operational restrictions that limit the field to 100 entrants or less, we apologize now that many qualified applicants will not be accepted. We encourage those not invited to attend the race as a crew member, a gratifying experience in itself, as well as an outstanding addition to a future application to compete.
Step 4: Confirmed entrants in the race will have their name and essential biographical information posted on the race website. Complete application forms and/or contact info for any or all athletes may be made available to the media or race sponsors, but will not be made available to the public or posted to the website.
- Approximately 100 applicants will be invited to compete and it is anticipated that a field of approximately 95 athletes will actually begin the race in 2014.
- All Applicants are encouraged to take the application process seriously and compose an extensive, detailed, and accurate application. Simply put, the applicants with the best applications (in terms of their athletic background, demonstrable commitment to sportsmanship, and in terms of their answers to questions posed on the application) will have the greatest chance of being selected to enter the race. Applications should be written as if the reader has never heard of the applicant and has no prior knowledge of the entrant or any of the events in which he/she has participated, including the Badwater Ultramarathon. Acronyms and initials should not be used when listing events and such; please type out the full name of any event, person, or place mentioned in the application. Keep in mind that the five different committee members will review the applications and will have varying levels of direct awareness or personal knowledge of the applicants and the events mentioned in the applications.
- In preparing your application, keep in mind the standard reasons that generally lead to some applicants not being invited:
- The applicant only just met the minimum standards.
- The applicant’s credentials are only recent, i.e., not a seasoned ultra endurance athlete with a breadth of experience.
- The applicant’s credentials are only old, i.e. all or most of the credentials are from too long ago and may not reflect current ability.
- The applicant has no experience in extreme heat or on the Badwater course as a pacer.
- The applicant didn't "prove" his or her claims (i.e., they said they paced at Badwater, but no letter of recommendation was received, or they claimed they finished or won any number of major races, but didn't provide any proof of that).
- The applicant submitted a “thin” application - not only few qualifications were listed, but not much time was put into the preparation of the application itself. (Sometimes the applicant assumed "we've already heard of him/her" and therefore didn't provide the necessary details. Applicants should never assume we’ve heard of them or have heard of the events they mention in their application.)
- There are always A LOT of applicants, all "qualified," and thus some applicants must inevitably be turned away.
Entry Fees, Refunds, Awards, and Details
Race Entry Fee: The entry fee of $995 must be paid by all accepted entrants. Entry fees are non-transferable. Entry fees are refundable, less $250, until May 1, 2014, upon written request.
Where Does the Entry Fee Go?: It costs a fortune to organize a world-class event in this remote, unique, and inhospitable environment. Everything we need - and everybody we need - has to be transported to Death Valley from 150 to 3000 miles away. Some of the key expenditures are insurance, permits, ambulance on patrol, expenses for the 50+ volunteers (hotels, gas, food, and more, for five days for 50+ people), renting 20 satellite phones and 20 high-powered radios, the eight-to-ten person medical team (and associated expenses and supplies), the eight person webcast team (and associated expenses and supplies), graphic design, web hosting, web design, web software and database development, promotional expenses, printing, postage, utilities, overhead, rental cars, airfares, food, drink, ice, medals, buckles, organic cotton t-shirts and hats, post-race pizza party for 400+ people. Last, but not least, the Race Director spends about 1000 hours per year working specifically on behalf of this event. Others work tirelessly year-round, too, to create a safe and successful race. Finally, we only have about 95 entry fees with which to work, not hundreds like some races.
Entry Fee Refunds via CAF Fund-raising: Race entrants may have their entry fee reimbursed by raising at least $6000 for Challenged Athletes Foundation, an Official Charity of the Badwater Ultramarathon. Fund-raising for CAF is made simple with a fully automated and personalized webpage where friends, family, and co-workers may donate in a secure and simple manner. The $6000 must be raised in full by June 1, 2014. On approximately August 1, those race entrants who raised at least $6000 - as verified by CAF - will be refunded $995 by check.
NEW! Free Guaranteed Entry in the Race For One or Two Major CAF Donors: The race organizers will give one or two qualified applicants the opportunity to be guaranteed acceptance into the race in exchange for a $7,500 donation to Challlenge Athletes Foundation. Here are the guidelines for this opportunity:
A full and acceptable application must be submitted during the January 20 - February 1 timeframe. Within the application, the applicant must state "I am willing to make a $7,500 donation RIGHT NOW to Challenged Athletes Foundation, in order to guarantee my acceptance in the race." The Race Committee will immediately review the application, and if they unanimously agree to accept the applicant, the applicant will receive an Entry Acceptance email within three days. At that time, the applicant must immediately donate $7,500 to CAF via the special weblink provided. Upon confirmation of that donation by CAF, the applicant will receive notice of their Confirmed Entry in the race. NO ENTRY FEE will be required. No more than two of these CAF Entry Slots will be available.
PLEASE NOTE: This offer is only available during the January 20 - February 1 timeframe. It may not be utilized later, for example by an applicant who was not accepted into the race, in order to gain entry.
Also please note: under NO circumstances should an applicant make the $7,500 donation - with the intention of earning Guaranteed Acceptance - until advised to do so by the Race Committee.
Finally, any applicant who utilizes this offer to enter the race must take advantage of this opportunity in 2014. If he or she is unable to race in 2014 for some reason, entry will NOT be guaranteed in a later year.
Awards: All racers who begin the event will receive a Badwater Ultramarathon race t-shirt, hat, Race Magazine, and a goodie bag with other one-of-a-kind Badwater items and products from the race sponsors, as well as entry into the post-race pizza party (for the racer and up to six crew members). All racers who officially complete the event within 48 hours will receive a finisher's t-shirt and commemorative Badwater Ultramarathon medal and buckle.
Field Size and Start Waves
- 2014 will feature the traditional (since 2000) staggered start format with groups of racers beginning at 6am, 8am, and 10am. Finishing times will be based upon elapsed time for each starting wave. There will be approximately 30 racers in each starting wave with an expected total field size of approximately 95 racers. Time splits will be kept for each racer at a variety of fixed locations along the route known as Time Stations. Information will be dispersed through these Time Stations and the Internet so that racers and their crews may keep track of one another, regardless of start time.
- Starting Groups will be assigned on approximately May 1. Requests for specific starting times are discouraged and will not be considered.
The link to the 2014 application will be posted here on January 20, 2014 through February 1, 2014 only: Entry to the 2013 Badwater Ultramarathon is now closed.