Records Fall at the 135-Mile Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, the World's Toughest Foot Race
Death Valley, CA — Eighty-one runners from twelve countries and nineteen American states ran 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney on July 11-13, 2005 in the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet.
Scott Jurek, 31, of Seattle, WA took first place honors with a record time of 24 hours, 36 minutes, eight seconds in his first appearance in this event. Jurek is recognized as one of the world's greatest endurance athletes, in particular for his seven consecutive victories in the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, a race held on remote mountain trails. The previous record of 25:09:05 was set by Anatoli Kruglikov, 42, of Russia in 2000.
Ferg Hawke, 48, from White Rock, BC, Canada placed second with a time of 26:33:00. Hawke was also the runner-up in the 2004 race, which he completed in 27:30:20. In 2005, Hawke led the race on several occasions, before Jurek took the lead and kept it around mile 95. Hawke's 2005 finishing time is the fourth fastest in the history of the event.
Charlie Engle, 43, of Greensboro, NC took third with a time of 28:49:47. A veteran of the race, he placed 8th in the 2003 edition with a time of 38:39:38.
Pam Reed, 43, of Tucson, AZ, the overall race champion in 2002 and 2003, placed first among female entrants and fifth overall with a time of 30:29:55. The second female, with a time of 37:39:22, was Monica Scholz, a three-time finisher and the 2004 women's champion. The third female, with a time of 39:33:09, was Judit Pallos, a Hungarian citizen who lives in Newport Beach, CA. At age 28, she was the race's youngest entrant.
Geoffrey Hilton-Barber, 58, of South Africa, became the first blind athlete to complete the race. With a time of 46:30:17, he was guided along the entire course by fellow South African entrant Flip Jergens.
Daniel Jensen, 55, of Sioux Falls, SD, with a time of 57:44:15, became the second amputee athlete in history to complete the event. As a result of stepping on a landmine during the Vietnam War, Jensen wears a prosthetic limb below his right knee.
Jack Denness of Rochester, Kent, UK, with a time of 57:52:12, became the first 70-year-old to complete the race since its inception in 1987. This was the 12th time he has completed the race. He has vowed to retire.
Sigrid Eichner, 64, of Berlin, Germany, became the oldest woman in history to complete the event. A rookie entrant, her finishing time was 52:45:46.
Scott Weber, 52, of Mt. Shasta, CA became the third athlete in history to complete the race ten times. He completed the course in 57:42:00.
The international field of athletes, fourteen women and 67 men ranging from 28 to 70 in age, represented Brazil, Canada, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Hungary, Jordan, Mexico, Monaco, South Africa, the UK, and USA.
A total of 67 of the 81 runners completed the distance within the 60 hour overall cutoff, an 83% finishing rate. The conditions in the 2005 race were particularly challenging, even for this event and its hostile venue. The official high temperature was 118 on the first day. It was also nearly that hot during the latter parts of the race where it's usually cooler. Despite that, the race enjoyed one of its highest finishing rates in the event's history, a testimony to the caliber of athletes in the race and the support crews and medical staff who tended to them. Of the 67 official finishers, forty-five received the coveted belt buckle for completing the course in under 48 hours.
The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 280' (85m) below sea level. Following 135 miles of paved roads, the race finishes at Mt. Whitney Portal at 8360' ' (2533m). The Badwater course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 13,000' (3962m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700' (1433m) of cumulative descent. The Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places or landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil's Cornfield, Devil's Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Keeler and Lone Pine.
The title sponsor of the 2005 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon is Kiehl's Since 1851. Kiehl's was founded as an old-world apothecary at the corner of Thirteenth Street and Third Avenue in New York City. Its unique and extensive background represents a blend of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge developed and passed on through generations. For more than 150 years, Kiehl's has served its customers skin and hair care products formulated with the finest ingredients. The company is characterized by a strident commitment to service standards of the highest quality. For more info, click here.
Additional race sponsors include E-CAPS, Hammer Nutrition, Injinji Anatomical Interface Systems, Seasons Restaurant of Lone Pine, Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort, Dow Villa of Lone Pine, the community of Lone Pine, CA, and many other generous companies and individuals. For more info, click here.
The Official Charity of the 2005 Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon is 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 six million dollars and directly assisted over 1200 challenged athletes world wide. For more info, click here.
The Badwater Hall of Fame expanded to five members this year with the induction of Jeannie Ennis, the first American woman to ever complete the event. Then 40 years of age, she was one of only four competitors in the original Badwater Ultramarathon, held in 1987. She currently resides in Loomis, CA and is still an active endurance athlete.
For further information, images, or to contact the race participants, please contact the race director, Chris Kostman.