Looking Back, Looking Forward

Dear Badwater ‘Joggernauts’:

You are my inspiration, all of you. It is difficult for me to appreciate the level of potential that exists in the 2007 Badwater Ultramarathon. Amazing: the 30th anniversary of my epic “run” on August 6, 1977. Today, it is removed from my reality, that is, until Chris Kostman blows his horn for the annual 135-mile race. Those of you that respond have committed themselves to the ultimate demands of “physical and mental excellence required” in the pursuit of human “curiosity” that will explore the unknown. My solo trek was an experience of unusual unknowns and consequences that kept everything exciting. Cal-Trans road repair crews were closing the road at Panamint Springs, for six hours of demolition throughout the Panamint Valley. I had no choice but to grab a gallon of water and head into the Panamint Desert which eventually led me into deep canyons that emerged just below the winding roads near Father Crowley Point. Invincible, that was my state-of-mind, as I left my crew, not realizing that they had “left me.” I was on top of Inyo Mountains, heading to to Lone Pine. I had forgoten that I was “mortal.” Unfortunately, while nearing Keeler, an alert, and rare, passing vehicle stopped and assisted me with water AND information: I had a “problem” with my support team. On foot, I turned around and headed back to Crowley Point. After “re-organizing the crew”, not something that I had anticipated, I headed back into the quest: the Summit of Mt Whitney. The total distance was at least 200 miles by the time I finished. 84 hours, my total elapsed time was, in-it-self, a miracle. I am so fortunate to be of that small band of “Dare Devils,” trekking Death Valley, without mass vehicular traffic. Those days are gone BUT, the mind is an excellent “cave” in which to escape the horde. I urge all of you to take the opportunity in allowing the trodden footsteps, sweat and toil of years past, to blend with the beauty of all that surrounds the depth of the Badwater Ultramarathon. I predict that, for the first time, sub-24 hours will become the new record, by more than one runner. These runners will have poured out their hearts and guts. They will have surpassed the old level of human endurance barriers. Both runners will be from the West Coast. Who knows what memories they will carry, only time will tell. Meanwhile, “back-at-the-ranch,” the rest of you have the privilege of re-tracing the slowest and the fastest Death Valley Joggernaut, ever! Good Luck and may you all finish with pride and in good health. I will miss you all. And, thanks to you, Eberhard, I’m becoming my own “ROCKY!”

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