Applying to Compete in the 2014 Badwater 135
Globally recognized as the toughest race of its kind, the Badwater 135 is a pure athletic challenge of athlete, shoes, and support crew versus a brutal 135 mile stretch of highway and a forty-eight hour time limit. From the start line in Lone Pine 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 135 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 Holly Grail of endurance sports.
The Badwater 135 is, and always has been, an invitational race. Applicants will be considered purely upon their race application and its specific written merits.
The primary application submission period begins on January 20, 2014 at 900m PST and ends on February 3, 2014 at 900am PST. 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 10 and the top 90 applicants with the highest scores will be invited. At that time, or later, up to ten more applicants 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 2014 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.
2014: New Route Held Outside Death Valley
Let there be no confusion: As it stands now, the 2014 Badwater 135 will take place on a new Lone Pine-based route which does NOT include any miles within Death Valley National Park. This is a result of the unjustified, unprecedented, unnecessary closing of Death Valley National Park to sports events in 2014 by the current leadership in Death Valley National Park. More about that. More about the 2014 route.
Therefore, if you are applying to race in 2014, you are applying to race on the new Lone-Pine based route, or some version thereof (pending permits approval from various government agencies).
If, by some miracle, the Park Service allows us to host the race with the start line within the Park on the traditional route or a version thereof, we will do that IF the logistics and requirements can be handled this year. However, DO NOT apply to race this year unless you are firmly committed to racing on the new Lone Pine-based route, but you are also willing to race a Death Valley-based route if it becomes available.
In other words, if you are applying to race this year, you must be adventurous, open-minded, and willing to tackle whichever version of the "world's toughest foot race" we produce in the Lone Pine / Inyo County region on July 21-23, 2014. (To be clear, though, we fully expect to host the Lone Pine-based race route featured on the Route Page on this website.)
Badwater 135: 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 135 Automatic Qualifying Spots (Updated 1-29-14)
1) A limited number of qualified applicants have the opportunity to be guaranteed acceptance into the race in exchange for a $7,500 donation to Challenged Athletes Foundation. The guidelines for this opportunity are explained further down this page.
2) The members of the highest placing three-man team, top three-mixed team, and top three-woman team at the 2014 BADWATER SALTON SEA will earn guaranteed entry into the 2015 Badwater 135. NOTE: Said entry winners must also meet the Minimum Qualifying Standards required for all race applicants.
3) From the pool of 2014 BADWATER SALTON SEA Official Finishers, not including the nine athletes mentioned in point 1 above, one individual BADWATER SALTON SEA finisher will be selected in a random drawing at the post-race breakfast to be awarded guaranteed entry into the 2015 Badwater 135. NOTE: Said entry winner must also meet the Minimum Qualifying Standards required for all race applicants.
4) The highest placing male and female finishers at 2014 BADWATER CAPE FEAR will be awarded guaranteed entry into the 2015 Badwater 135. NOTE: Said entry winners must also meet the Minimum Qualifying Standards required for all race applicants.
5) The highest fundraiser for Bald Head Island Conservancy (raising or donating a minimum of $5,000 to BHIC) who also officially completes the 2014 BADWATER CAPE FEAR 51.4-mile race, will earn guaranteed entry into the 2015 Badwater 135 or any other 2015 AdventureCORPS event. NOTE: Said entry winner must also meet one of the Minimum Qualifying Standards required for all race applicants. See Cape Fear page for details.
6) The highest placing male and female finishers at 2014 BRAZIL 135 will be awarded guaranteed entry into the 2014 or 2015 Badwater 135. Note, to earn the Badwater 135 qualifying spot, the men's winning time must be less than 30 hours at the Brazil 135 and the women's finishing time must be less than 36 hours at the Brazil 135.
Organized by a Badwater 135 and Badwater Salton Sea veteran, Mario Lacerda, BRAZIL 135 was created in the spirit of the Badwater 135, featuring 135 miles of hot, mountainous terrain in the middle of Summer (January in Brazil). The 2014 edition celebrates the tenth annivesary of this highly respected event.
7) The men's and women's solo winners of the 2014 KEYS 100 in Florida will earn guaranteed entry into the 2015 Badwater 135.
Organized by a Badwater 135 and Badwater Salton Sea veteran, Bob Becker, the KEYS 100 has become legend in the world of ultra running. It's extremely hot setting in the Florida Keys in May, and its entirely pavement-based route, have proven time and time again to reveal those runners who are ideal candidates to tackle the Badwater 135. Simply put: those ultra runners who do well at the Keys 100 consistently do well at the Badwater 135. Keys 100 also offers a 50-mile race, plus a relay race. (Whether you hope to win or not, when applying for Keys 100, be sure tell them that BADWATER referred you!)
NOTE: For all Automatic Qualifying Spots listed above, in order to gain entry to the Badwater 135, Minimum Qualifying Standards must be met, a full application must be submitted during the standard application period, and the full entry fee must be paid. These Qualifying Spots are non-transferable and have no cash value.
Badwater 135: Schedule of Events
Please review the Need To Know page for all pertinent dates.
Badwater 135 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 please 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 135 (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 135, but possibly including Badwater Salton Sea or Badwater Cape Fear), i.e. between 1/1/2013 and 2/2/2014.
- 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 2/2/2014.
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.
- 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 of at least 500 miles in length.
- No applicant is guaranteed entry, except those noted above in the Badwater 135 Automatic Qualifying Spots section.
- As a one-time offer to thank and recognize those tackling the new and improved Lone Pine-based Badwater 135 in 2014, those runners who officially finish the 2014 Badwater 135 will have priority entry among race veterans when applying in 2015, and will have guaranteed entry in either 2015, 2016, or 2017 (at our discretion, as noted below). Not all 2014 fiishers can be guaranteed entry in 2015, hence the three-year span for the guaranteed reentry for 2014 finishers. Priority will be based upon the following factors: 1st Priority: 2014 BADWATER ULTRA CUP finishers; 2nd Priority: 2014 Badwater 135 top ten men and top five women finishers; 3rd Priority: 2014 Badwater 135 finishers who also completed BADWATER SALTON SEA or BADWATER CAPE FEAR; 4th Priority: Other 2014 Badwater 135 finishers. Final Caveat: Unknown future permitting restrictions placed upon the event by Death Valley National Park or other government agencies could impact the overall field size and thus our ability to provide reentry to 2014 Badwater 135 finishers; under such a circumstance, we will do our best to meet our promise to the 2014 finishers field.
- Special consideration is given ever year to applicants who are BADWATER SALTON SEA veterans and/or BADWATER CAPE FEAR veterans, or who competed the entire BADWATER ULTRA CUP in the previous year.
- Some special consideration is given to applicants who are veteran Badwater 135 pacers. (A letter of recommendation from the athlete for whom you paced at the Badwater 135 is required. 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.)
- 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 135 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 January 20 and February 3, 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. The link for the application is at the bottom of this page (the RunReg logo).
STEP 2: As stated above, for those applicants who have experience as a pacer at the Badwater135 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 135 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 the race location 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 twelve-to-fifteen 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.
Free Guaranteed Entry in the Race For Major CAF Donors: The race organizers will give a limited number of qualified applicants the opportunity to be guaranteed acceptance into the race in exchange for a $7,500 donation to Challenged Athletes Foundation. Here are the guidelines for this opportunity:
A full and acceptable application must be submitted during the January 20 - February 3 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 check or 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.
PLEASE NOTE: This offer is only available during the January 20 - February 3 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 135 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 four crew members). All racers who officially complete the event within 48 hours will receive a finisher's t-shirt and commemorative Badwater 135 Ultramarathon medal and buckle.
Field Size and Start Waves
- 2014 will feature a staggered start format with groups of racers beginning at 800am, 900am, and 1000am. 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.
Please note that a credit card will be required during the application process, but your card will NOT be charged upon submission. Your card will only be charged if you are selected for the race AND if you choose to submit your fee via the RunReg.com system. You may also pay by check or money order (and thus avoid the $50 RunReg service charge). Please advise your payment preference if and when you are selected for the race.
WARNING: If you take too long filling out your application, the website will "time out" and everything that you typed will be lost. We recommend keeping your responses to the detailed questions saved in a text file or email, just in case you have to input them again. ALL applicants were sent a confirmation email after their application was submitted. If you did not receive that email, we did not receive your application.
The 2014 application was available through RunReg from 900am PST, January 20, 2014 through 900am PST, February 3, 2014 only.