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2021 Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 44th ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

To download the basic Press Release along with the Media Kit and Media Credential Application in PDF format, click here.

To download the July 2021 issue of BADWATER Magazine, click here.

See the bottom of this page for many more links.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lone Pine, CA:  On July 19-21, 2021, AdventureCORPS will present its legendary BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon, the 135-Mile World Championship. Now in its 44th year – with the 2020 race canceled last-minute due to the pandemic – this world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements in a crucible like no other. From below sea level in scorching temperatures to altitudes as high as 8,360 feet (2548m), endurance athletes from 17 countries and 29 American states plus the Navajo Nation will face off in a grueling 135-mile trek non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race,” the invitational Badwater 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet.

The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Darwin, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.

The Badwater 135 Ultramarathon is held under permits from – and in close collaboration with – Death Valley National Park, California Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, and the County of Inyo.

Above: Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds welcomes the 2021 Badwater 135 runners, crew, and staff

AdventureCORPS – on behalf of all competitors and support crews – also gratefully acknowledges that these lands have been lived upon for at least 1000 years by native peoples, including the Timbisha Shoshone and the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribes who live on the race course today. We honor and share their deep reverence for these lands.

While runners began running the course in the 1970s, the race itself has been part of the fabric of life in Inyo County since 1987. A recent study indicated an annual economic impact of 1.2 million dollars, half of it spent in Death Valley National Park and surrounding gateway communities such as Lone Pine, CA. The race is supported by former U.S. Congressman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) of California’s 8th District, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.

RouteMap2016

THE 2021 RACE FIELD

A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2021 Badwater 135 features 38 Badwater veterans and 46 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” who have the necessary running credentials to not only apply for, but be selected, to compete in the race.

Despite COVID-caused international travel restrictions which will keep at least 15 foreign runners from competing this year, the race will still boast an international field. The 84 athletes in the 2021 Badwater 135 represent seventeen countries: Armenia, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States of America, along with the Navajo Nation. See the full roster here.

Twenty-nine different American states and territories are represented: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia.

There are 24 women and 60 men. The youngest runners are Ryan Fecteau, 28, of Malden, MA and Mollie Melton Yonker, 38, of Winter Park, FL; both are rookies. The oldest female is Norma Roberts, 62, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a rookie entrant. The oldest male is Bob Becker, 76, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, a three-time finisher. The overall average age is 49. Full roster details, including links to personal website, charities, social media, race results, and more are available here.

COURSE RECORDS AND FINISHING TIMES:

Men’s: Yoshihiko Ishikawa, 2019, Japan: 21:33:01.

Women’s: Patrycja Bereznowska, 2019, Poland, 24:13:24.

For Age Group records and more info, click here.

It is expected that the winners of the 2021 Badwater 135 will finish in near record time for both men’s and women’s divisions. The average finishing time is approximately 40 hours, while the overall time limit is 48 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle, referred to as “the Holy Grail of Ultra Running.” There is no prize money.

The 2021 edition of the Holy Grail of Ultra Running. Difficilia Quae Pulchra = “Beauty is Difficult to Attain“ in Latin.

MEET SOME OF THE COMPETITORS

The 2021 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran men’s contenders include 2018 champion Michele Graglia, 37, of Big Bear City, CA (Italian citizenship), 2015 and 2016 champion Pete Kostelnick, 33, of Brunswick, OH (who also broke the 36-year-old Trans-USA running record in 2016); 2014 champion Harvey Lewis, 45, of Cincinnati, OH (who placed 2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2017, and 3rd in 2019), 2011 men’s champion Oswaldo Lopez, 49, of Madera, CA (Mexican citizenship), and others including multiple Badwater Salton Sea champion Ray Sanchez, 54, of Sacramento, CA and David Jones, 69, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, ten-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder. There are 33 rookie men and 27 veteran men.

The women’s field is also stacked with talent, but includes no previous women’s Badwater 135 champions. The women’s field of 24 female runners includes 13 rookies and 11 veterans. Notable veteran contenders include several who finished impressively in 2019: third place Lisa DeVona, 45, of Pompano Beach, FL; fourth place Caryn Lubetsky, 50, of Miami Shores, FL; and 6th place Suzi Swinehart, 49, of Fort Wayne, IN who is also a Badwater Cape Fear champion. Making her rookie debut is Lori Mitchener, 44, of Lynnfield, MA, who has won multiple 100-mile races, including the legendary Keys 100. Hoping to dramatically improve on previous performances are Sally McRae, 42, of Huntington Beach, CA, who struggled valiantly – and finished – at her rookie race in 2018 and Nancy Levene, 53, of New York City, who had to drop out in 2019 when her support vehicle broke down.

Notably – due to the pandemic-imposed travel bans – only one non-USA resident female is competing, Norma Roberts of Canada. Others carrying their home country flags – but who live in the USA – are Telma Ghazarian Altoon representing Armenia, Sandy Geisel representing Canada, and Karla Kent representing the Czech Republic.

Both Harvey Lewis and Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen will be attempting their tenth finishes this year, while Danny Westergaard is going for his 14th consecutive finish, Karla Kent is going for her ninth consecutive finish, and Kimberlie Budzik is going for her eighth finish.

This brief handicap of the race notwithstanding, every year is a new year at the Badwater 135, with both veterans and rookie athletes impressing everyone with incredible, gutsy performances. With every single runner hungry to go home with the coveted Badwater 135 Official Finisher Belt Buckle, both known and new stars will shine as the race unfolds.

WAVE STARTS

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Monday evening, July 19. They are assigned according to their predicted finishing time, with the Fast Runners going first, Faster Runners going second, and Fastest Runners (at least on paper) going third.

• Wave 1 (800pm): 21 men and 13 women; 23 rookies and 11 veterans = 34 runners

• Wave 2 (930pm): 19 men and 5 women; 13 rookies and 11 veterans = 24 runners

• Wave 3 (1100pm): 20 men and 6 women; 11 rookies and 15 veterans = 26 runners

BAD-UltraCup.2The Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in April, and now concludes with the Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater.com website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. In 2014, seven athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed it in 2015, sixteen in 2016, fifteen in 2017, eight in 2018, and eleven racers completed the Badwater Ultra Cup in 2019. Time will tell how many complete this three-event challenge in 2021.

OFFICIAL SPONSORS AND CHARITIES

Now in its twenty-second year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome Pure Vitamin Club, Joe Nimble Shoes, NSNG Foods, and First Discount Brokerage  as Official Sponsors of Badwater. We also thank the Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, and Dow Villa of Lone Pine, the community of Lone Pine, CA, the County of Inyo, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and other generous companies and individuals who support Badwater 135 each year. More info about our sponsors.

Official Charities of Badwater include 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 thirty million dollars and directly assisted thousands of challenged athletes world-wide. AdventureCORPS has – as of 2021 – raised over $776,000 for Challenged Athletes Foundation, and AdventureCORPS athletes have also raised impressive sums for CAF.

AdventureCORPS also supports the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Death Valley Natural History Association, Conservation Alliance, and One Percent For The Planet. One of the goals of the Badwater 135 is to raise funds for, and awareness of, these organizations. More info. Additionally, many of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice, and these are noted and linked from the race roster.


A LEGENDARY HISTORY

This year’s race celebrates the 44th anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater Basin to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer, human potential guru, and health club manager, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. It took him three efforts before he was successful, having first attempted the route in 1974 and then 1975.

Four years later, Jay Birmingham also completed the course, in 1981. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually since then without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement. (The race was sadly canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020.)

We brought Al to the race in 2002, the 25th anniversary of his run, and he was treated like a rock star by everyone in attendance. Sadly, we lost our incredible friend Al Arnold when he passed away on September 6, 2017 at the age of 89.  He is sorely missed, but his spirit lives on with each year’s edition of the world’s toughest foot race.

Jay Birmingham, now 76, remains very active with the world of Badwater, first by serving on the Badwater 135 Application Review Committee, but also as an athlete. He has competed in all of the Badwater races and plans to run our Artsakh Ultra Stage Race Armenia in 2022.

Al Arnold at the start line of the 2002 Badwater Ultramarathon.

For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:

1977 Al Arnold 1987 Race


WEBCAST, RACE UPDATES, PRESS CREDENTIALS, AND FURTHER INFO:

A stock image gallery – for bona fide media use only – may be accessed at this link, with Photographer Name / Badwater.com attribution required.

For media attending the event in person, download the full 2021 Badwater 135 Press Kit at at this link.

FOLLOWING THE BADWATER 135 ONLINE

For the duration of the 2021 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived at that link.)

Follow the 2021 time splits and results at this link.

Follow the race on Twitter @Badwater: http://twitter.com/badwater

Official Hashtag across all social media: #Badwater135

Follow the race staff’s live photostream on Instagram @BadwaterHQ

Follow the race director’s live photostream on Instagram @ChrisKostman

Follow the AdventureCORPS race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr

Follow the race director Chris Kostman’s photostream archive on Flickr

Follow our Facebook @Badwater135 page and the #Badwater135 Facebook conversation

Download the July 2021 issue of BADWATER Magazine at this link.


ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS, INC.:

Oak Park, CA-based AdventureCORPS®, Inc. has made its name producing the world’s toughest endurance races in dramatic, remote locations that few people would ever visit, let alone run or bike across. Held under the Badwater® banner, these events have allowed runners and bicyclists to explore Death Valley, the Salton Sea, Cape Fear, the Mojave Desert, and the Nevada outback in the USA, as well as the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Mustang region of Nepal, Yunan Province of China, and now in the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia.

AdventureCORPS®, Inc. owns and represents BADWATER®, “The World’s Toughest Brand, Gear, and Races.” As a brand, BADWATER represents digging deep and going farther; it is the lifestyle brand for all who push their limits while exploring the outer and inner universes.

Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.

More info: www.adventurecorps.com and www.badwater.com.

CONTACT:

Chris Kostman
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director
AdventureCORPS, Inc. 638 Lindero Canyon Road, #311
Oak Park, CA 91377 USA

AdventureCORPS® announces Joe Nimble® as the Official Shoe of Badwater®

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oak Park, CA: AdventureCORPS®, the organization behind the legendary Badwater® brand and world-wide series of Badwater races, is pleased to announce Joe Nimble® as the Official Shoe of Badwater® for 2021. Joe Nimble® is the German shoe pioneer that has been championing the cause of toefreedom® since 1982 and has a long history with Badwater and ultramarathon events.

Joe Nimble® is the pioneer in the field of Functional Footwear with the mission to enable runners to run pain-free with toefreedom®. This family-owned Germany shoe company brought the foot-shaped, zero-heel elevation footwear concept known as toefreedom® to the world marketplace forty years ago. Since 2004, multiple athletes wearing their shoes have competed many times in the invitational Badwater 135, widely recognized as the world’s toughest foot race because of its epic 135-mile (217km) route from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in the heat of summer. While other competitors were forced to change into increasingly larger pairs of shoes during the race, or even resort to cutting out the toe box to account for the swelling of their feet, those in the Joe Nimble shoes have completed the race in just one pair from start to finish. 

Joe Nimble® CEO Sebastian Bär was a member of Badwater 135 runner support teams in 2004 and 2007 and witnessed the debilitating effect of 135 miles (217km) of running in the world’s hottest place. “The Badwater 135 is legendary and I am amazed at the human achievement, every single time. The two times I was crewing at the race, I realized there are no tougher test conditions for material in the whole world. With our toefreedom philosophy we can bring a unique benefit to the runners and help them run more pain-free!” 

These insights led to Bär and his team developing road-specific ultra running shoes in 2008 and now a special Badwater-inspired Joe Nimble shoe being specially developed and offered to every 2021 Badwater 135 competitor. These limited Badwater® Edition Joe Nimble® shoes feature the toefreedom® shape combined with the latest technology such as Michelin’s long-lasting and durable outsole, energy return foam, super breathable upper, and soft inner lining, plus light colors to reflect the desert sun and reflectivity to increase visibility at night. 

Chris Kostman, the chief adventure officer at AdventureCORPS and race director of the Badwater events, added “I have been a huge fan and proponent of Joe Nimble’s foot-shaped shoes ever since wearing my first pair in 2008. And now we are super excited to work with Sebastian Bär and his Joe Nimble performance team to develop a Badwater-specific shoe and to offer every Badwater 135 runner the opportunity to run in the most comfortable, long-lasting, and performance-driven shoes on the planet! This will benefit not just our athletes, but every runner who embraces and realizes the benefits of toefreedom!”

Runners and race fans can follow the July 19-21, 2021 Badwater 135 – and all the Badwater races – at Badwater.com and can learn about Joe Nimble shoes at joe-nimble.com/int/.

ABOUT JOE NIMBLE:

Joe Nimble® is the creator of the Functional Footwear design concept based on the philosophy of toefreedom® which CEO Sebastian Bär’s father developed 40 years ago. Together with world renowned bio-mechanist Lee Saxby and other industry experts, Sebastian has taken these four decades of family shoe-making know-how and created a shoe concept that helps runners to run pain-free.

Learn about Joe Nimble, the German shoe pioneer with the mission to enable runners to run pain-free with toefreedom® at joe-nimble.com/int/.

Joe Nimble® is a registered trademark owned by Bär GmbH.

ABOUT BADWATER 135:

Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the Badwater® 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m), which is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. The 43rd edition is scheduled to take place Monday-Wednesday, July 19-21, 2021. More info at Badwater.com 

ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS, INC.:

Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, Oak Park, CA-based AdventureCORPS® owns and represents BADWATER®, “The World’s Toughest Brand, Gear, and Races.” BADWATER represents digging deep and going farther; it is the lifestyle brand for all who push their limits while exploring the outer and inner universes. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the Badwater® 135, BADWATER® Salton Sea, and BADWATER® Cape Fear, Artsakh Ultra Stage Race, and other events. More into at AdventureCORPS.com

BADWATER® and AdventureCORPS® are registered trademarks owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc. 

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2021 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

RESULTS / ROSTER / RACE WEBSITE

@Badwater Twitter / @BadwaterHQ Instagram / FB Event Page

OFFICIAL CHARITY: Bald Head Island Conservancy: Please join and donate to BHIC today!

2021 Badwater Cape Fear Image Galleries:

2021 Racer Mugshots by Robert Lee

2021 Pre-Race, Race Day, and Post-Race iPhone Images by Chris Kostman

2021 Runners Rounding Cape Fear Images by Chris Kostman

2021 Badwater Cape Fear Facebook Live Videos:

Live from the Maritime Forest trail section of the race route, the Tuesday prior to the race

Live from the Ferry from Southport to Fort Fisher, the Wednesday prior to the race

Live from Fort Fisher, location of Aid Station 3, the Wednesday prior to the race

Live from a Sea Turtle Nest Excavation with Bald Head Island, two days prior to the 2021 Badwater Cape Fear

Stuffing the 2021 Badwater Cape Fear goodie bag, with Ted Williamson

Live from the 2021 Racer Check-In

Live on The Weather Channel from the Start Line

Live from the 2021 Start Line, and than the first several miles of the race!

Live from Cape Fear itself on race morning

The seventh Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon took place on October  2, 2021 on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. A field of 125 runners competed in either the 50km race or the 51-mile race, with all but seven finishing officially. Click here for the race results.

The 2021 race featured 125 runners representing Armenia, Canada, India, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, and United Kingdom, plus 21 American states: Alabama (2), California (8), Colorado (1), Florida (11), Georgia (1), Illinois (3), Iowa (1), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (1), New York (7), North Carolina (48), Ohio (6), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (6), Tennessee (3), Texas (2), Vermont (3), and Virginia (6). Ages range from 21 to 76. There were 30 females and 95 males, 102 rookies and 23 race veterans. For the full race roster, click here.

With 50km and 51-mile race options and a start line at the foot of Old Baldy, Badwater® Cape Fear features a twelve-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads and maritime forest trails of Bald Head Island, followed by either 19 or 38 miles of running on the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. The beach stretch features spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and the wild and undeveloped marshlands to the west. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating, and inspiring manner in which to experience Bald Head Island, Fort Fisher State Recreation, and the Cape Fear region in all its grandeur! 

This exquisite natural setting is the perfect antidote to the “real world” and a wonderful counterpart to the desert sands and mountains of Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert featured in the two West Coast BADWATER® races.

Registration is already open for the March 19, 2022 edition, and there is a 200-runner limit which will sell out. Whether you are a grizzled Badwater veteran, or looking to take on your first Badwater race, we hope you will join us!

Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU made it happen!

Pre-Race Support: Ted Williamson, Bob Becker, Jay Lee, Stacey Shand, Luke Way, Keith Weitz, Telma Altoon, Noora Alidina, Julie Lee, and Robert Lee.

Trail Prep: Bob Becker and Jay Lee

Start Line: Keith Weitz, Stacey Shand, Barry Siff, Brian Recore, and Chris Kostman

Broom Wagon (first 10.5 miles): Brian Recore

Directions: Chris Shank, Julie Lee, Barry Siff, Sebastian Prieto, BHI Conservancy interns (Abigail, Adele, Judith, Jenn, and others)

AS1 at Bald Head Island Conservancy: Emily Ryan and Leslie Carboni

AS2 at Mid-Beach: Ted Williamson and Bonny McClain (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

AS3 at Fort Fisher: Keith Weitz, Hailey Leon, and Eleanor Erickson (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

Timing: Julie Lee with assistance from Barry Siff and Robert Lee.

Finish Line: Stacey Shand, Chris Kostman, Chris Shank, Brian Recore, Sebastian Prieto, and others

Photography: Robert Lee of BeamCatchers and Chris Kostman

Public Safety Support: Village of Bald Head Island Public Safety and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Rangers

Thank You!

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

Official Race Sponsors

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 135 next year?”

EVERYBODY who sends us that email receives the same reply, and here it is:

Thanks for writing and for your interest in the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon. We really appreciate your enthusiasm, however we have a policy of not “giving odds” on the likelihood of being accepted to race.

Every year we receive a greater number of applications than the year before, despite the fact that we routinely raise the minimum qualifying standard required to apply. The system is clearly explained on the website for all to see and review. In other words, we don’t give “secret tips” to people who take the time to email us for more information.

We will say that It’s a good idea to plan a few – or several – years in advance for this race, not only to prepare yourself mentally and physically, but also to line up the qualifications and experiences that will give you a decent shot at being invited to compete.

Additionally, we encourage all prospective Badwater 135 applicants to do the following:

1. Very carefully study the minimum qualifying standards to apply, as outlined on this website, and which are occasionally refined or redefined. Be sure to take note of Section C: Preferred Qualifying Races.

2. Compete in, and successfully complete, other official Badwater® races, such as Badwater Salton Sea, Badwater Cape Fear, and Artsakh Ultra. They all provide an authentic Badwater® experience: They are held in fantastic, beautiful, little-known locations; they offer an extremely challenging, iconic route; they are produced with a world-class attention to detail and provide an intimate, personal experience for every participant. They also help us get to know you.

3. Attend the Badwater 135 as a pacer / crew member. Not only would you be helping somebody complete the race, but you would learn a lot in the in process and also acquire another important component for any future Badwater 135 application. You can post your interest in the Badwater Participants/Crew/Pacers group on Facebook as well as on the 2021 Facebook Event Page. We encourage you to pay attention during the runner selection and announcement process – or check the roster when it is published – and look for anyone that you might know, live nearby, or have some sort of connection with, then contact them directly and see if you can join their crew. (Move quickly, most runners select their crew immediately in February when they are invited to competed.)

4. Consider the various avenues available for Badwater 135 Automatic-Qualification outlined on the Entry Tab of the Badwater 135 webpage

5. Do hard races! Tackle the toughest 100-mile (or longer) ultras and have those bona fides ready to submit on your Badwater 135 application!

Finally, we encourage you follow us on Twitter (@Badwater) Instagram (@BadwaterHQ) and our Badwater 135 page on Facebook, so that you stay in the loop.

Thank you again for your inquiry. We hope to see you “out there” in the near future!

Do Badwater 135 Rookies Just Want That Buckle More?

As we finalize qualifying standards to apply for the July 6-8, 2020 Badwater 135, we’ve been analyzing DNF data from the past five races:
 
2015:
8 of 38 rookies = 21% DNF’d
10 of 59 veterans = 17% DNF’d
 
2016:
5 of 46 rookies = 11% DNF’d
8 of 51 veterans = 16% DNF’d
 
2017:
6 of 38 rookies = 15.8% DNF’d
14 of 57 veterans = 24.6% DNF’d
 
2018:
9 of 49 rookies = 18.4% DNF’d
21 of 51 veterans = 41.2% DNF’d
 
2019:
6 of 51 rookies = 11.8% DNF’d
10 of 44 veterans = 22.7% DNF’d
 
Based on the data, there is a clear trend for veterans (defined as those who have FINISHED the race previously) to be more likely to drop out.
 
Of course, whether veteran or rookie, DNFs happen because of many reasons, some of them out of the control of the runner. Just a few of a zillion possible examples:
 
– The runner getting sick right before the race starts
 
– The support vehicle breaking down during the race
 
– A crew gets tired of crewing and packs up and leaves the course when their runner just needed a nap, effectively forcing the DNF, even with the finish clearly within reach.
 
– And this year (2019), your race director couldn’t help but wince when one veteran who DNF’d told him that he dropped because he wasn’t going to meet his time goal.
 
Finishing as the Top Priority is the foundation upon which ultra running is built.
 
And there’s a reason that every Badwater 135 finisher – whether first, last, or in between – receives the same “holy grail of ultra running” belt buckle and Official Finisher t-shirt: because finishing the race – above all else – is the goal of the event.
 
Two-time champion Pete Kostelnick was having issues this year, but he staked out at mile 101 and drove into Lone Pine to rest and recover for six hours. HIs crew member Scott Bridgeman described the situation thusly:
 
“He was having an unblemished race and had worked his way into 4th position. Around mile 90 I witnessed one of the most superhuman feats of my life, including my 23 years of military service. Pete began having hamstring issues that prevented him from running. He trudged on for many miles. TBH, I was saddened and heartbroken for him. I thought his race was over. Little do I know. Finally, at mile 101 he made the decision to “stake out” and have a rest. He had a cheeseburger and a nap and returned to his stake 6 hours later. He made the final run from miles 101-135 in a blistering 6.5 hours. He did the final 13 mile monstrous climb in 2:23, the fastest known time. I have never witnessed anything like this. I saw many other world class racers from around the globe go through similar issues. These people not only come back from the dead, but they do so with strength, determination and resilience. I am inspired and changed.”

Pete Kostelnick and crew at the 2019 Badwater 135 finish line.

 
So, hats off to Pete, who was just as much a champion this year as when he won the race in 2016 and 2017.
 
To state the obvious, the race isn’t over until the 48th hour has passed! We have 100 belt buckles and 100 t-shirts ready to hand out: the runners and their crews just need to arrive within 48 hours to claim theirs!
 
Consider Kim Budzik: She hit Darwin at mile 90 just one hour ahead of the 500am cut-off there on Wednesday morning. Yet – with her crew supporting her every step of the way – she became the final finisher with a time of 47:34:29. That was her slowest finishing time yet, but you know it was the sweetest of all her seven finishes!

Kim Budzik and crew at the 2019 Badwater 135 finish line.

 
But what about the last male rookie to finish? Ted Williamson of SoCal had been on a crew last year, but it was his first time competing this year (having completed Badwater Cape Fear in March and Badwater Salton Sea in April.) He hit Darwin at mile 90 in 29.5 hours, so he was 3.5 hours ahead of the cut-off there. He hit Lone Pine in 40:53 (which has a 42-hour cut-off), and then worked his way methodically up the mountain to the finish line. I’m guessing there was nothing “glamorous” about it. But he got it done, with a 46:41:44 finish (a 5:49 half-marathon split)!

Ted Williamson and crew at the 2019 Badwater 135 finish line.

 
And the last female rookie? That tip of the hat goes to Wendy Murray of North Carolina. Like Ted, she had crewed last year, and ran both Badwater Cape Fear and Badwater Salton Sea this year. She hit Darwin at mile 90 in 30:04, so she was just under three hours ahead of the cut-off there. She hit Lone Pine in 41:14 (42-hour limit) and ascended to Whitney Portal with that buckle in mind. She crossed the line in 46:45:59 (a 5:32 half-marathon split)!

Wendy Murray and crew at the 2019 Badwater 135 finish line.

 
So what do you think? Are those Badwater 135 entrants with no “holy grail of ultra running” yet in their possession simply hungrier to finish than those who have already a buckle?

Behold the 2019 edition of the Holy Grail of Ultra Running: Detur Digniori means “Let it be given to those most worthy.” and it truly was given to those 79 runners! (“XX” represents 20 years of AdventureCORPS organizing and Chris Kostman directing the race.)

NOTE: This was posted to the Badwater page on Facebook on August 3, 2019 and received a lot of commentary. You can view that here.

 

In 2021, Join AdventureCORPS for a Brand New Vision of Stage Racing in the Republic of Artsakh!

Above: Race Director Chris Kostman announces and explains the race.

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

World-class adventure awaits in Artsakh’s dramatic, mountainous landscape!

AdventureCORPS presents Artsakh Ultra, a six-day running race through the Republic of Artsakh

Oak Park, CA – In 2021, AdventureCORPS® – organizers of the world-famous Badwater® ultramarathon running races in Death Valley and across the USA – will host a six-day, point-to-point, 160-mile (260km) trail running stage race from Armenian into and across the Republic of Artsakh. The inaugural race will be held August 30 through September 4 of 2021, and the goal is to have 50 runners representing at least ten different countries participating.

Formerly known as Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet era, Artsakh is a fascinating, wonderful country that few people have even heard of, and even less have visited. AdventureCORPS aims to change both of those facts by bringing runners from all over the world to compete in the Artsakh Ultra™. The event will be held annually and AdventureCORPS already has plans underway to develop additional endurance sports events in Artsakh in the near future.

The Artsakh Ultra race will be held primarily on the Janapar Trail, a hiking trail network which stretches from adjacent Armenia into and across Artsakh.  The route is primarily held on jeep tracks, along with single track trails, some dirt roads, and about 10 miles (16km) of paved roads.

The race will be organized in a “stage race” format, in which runners will run a certain section of the Janapar Trail each day. Each day’s “stage” will be timed separately, and overall results will be calculated by adding all six days’ times together. The first stage will be 22mi / 36km; the next four stages will vary from 26 to 34 miles (42 to 55km), while the final stage will be 16mi / 26km. With a total distance of 160mi (260km), there is a total of 26,000 feet (8000m) of elevation gain along the route.

Beginning in the northeastern Armenian city of Vardenis, after 15 miles (24km) and at the top of a 9000-foot (2743m) pass, competitors in the Artsakh Ultra will leave Armenia and cross into the Republic of Artsakh. From here they will follow the Janapar Trail – with a few side diversions to see ancient sites – and transect the majority of this magnificent country. The six nights on the trail will include tent camping the first three nights and hotel stays the final three nights. Luggage transport will be provided each day and most breakfast and dinner meals will be provided. (Runners will provide their own energy food while running, and will be on their own for restaurant dining on two nights: in Vank and in Stepanakert.)

Stage four of the Artsakh Ultra will finish in dramatic fashion at 1000-year-old Gandzasar Monastery, above the eclectic village of Vank, Artsakh.

Some of the exciting landmarks along the route include the monasteries of Dadivank, Gandzasar, and Hakobvank, Zuar hot springs, the lofty peak of Kachaghakaberd, the “We Are Our Mountains” sculpture in Stepanakert, and Hunot Canyon. Towns and villages along the route include Tsar, Karvachar, Zuar, Vank, Patara, Stepanakert, and Shushi.

The final stage will begin with a festival hosted by the Artsakh government in the capital city of Stepanakert, and will conclude with a celebratory bonfire, music, food, and dinner party in the city of Shushi, known as Artsakh’s cultural capital.

While the route will be incredibly beautiful and challenging, the race itself will also be a culturally immersive experience. Each day’s route will pass through one or more villages, while the overnights will be in or near villages and cities. Runners will eat the local, super healthy, incredibly fresh food. They will enjoy Armenian music, dance, and culture. Along the way, the runners will visit 1000-year-old Armenian churches, monasteries, and historic sites. And while each competitor will run as part of an international field of runners, they will be embraced, surrounded, and supported by the people of Artsakh and their Armenian food, music, language, and culture.

AdventureCORPS’ local charitable partner is Trails For Change NGO, the organization which is developing and signposting the Janapar Trail, along with other trails in Artsakh and Armenia.

This event is fully supported in principle and in action by the Government of Artsakh:

The Ministry takes the opportunity of this letter for expressing its readiness to provide this race with organizational support and all the other assistance that may be required from the Ministry’s side.

We highly appreciate your efforts to promote Artsakh as a welcoming destination for runners from all over the world and to show the great potential of adventure tourism of our country.

We wish you all the success in your endeavours to promote Artsakh’s tourism potential in general and Janapar Trail in particular through organizing such a great event.

– L. HOVHANNISYAN, Minister of Culture, Youth Affairs, and Tourism, Republic of Artsakh

The catalyst for the race is Armenian ultraunner Telma Ghazarian Altoon, who ran the entire 178-mile (286km) Janapar Trail in just two days, ten hours in June of 2017. (See video.) Her run effectively put the Janapar Trail on the map and led to a dramatic increase of support for trails by the Artsakh government and for Trails For Change NGO. Telma is a veteran of multiple Badwater races and a neighbor, friend, and ally of AdventureCORPS’ Chris Kostman. Telma is a major supporter of Artsakh Ultra™ and will be on hand to support the runners during the inaugural race. (See interview.)

“I have proudly carried the Armenian flag in ultra running races all around the globe, but nothing prepared me for the beauty and wonderful people of Artsakh when I ran the length of the Janapar Trail in 2017. I was entranced by the landscape, the warm hearts of the Artsakhzi people, and the awe-inspiring majesty of the historic monuments and gorgeous green mountains. But even as I finished my run, my dream turned to the idea of bringing runners from around the world to enjoy these adventurous trails and to soak in the Armenian culture. Ours is an ancient civilization, alive and well in the 21st century. I can’t wait to have runners come see and experience Artsakh!” – Telma Ghazarian Altoon

Chris Kostman, the race organizer – whose biography is below – had this to share:

“I have never been more excited on both personal and professional levels: First, Artsakh Ultra features the hallmarks of all my AdventureCORPS events: 1) Challenging Route. 2) Beautiful Route. 3) A fantastic, off-the-beaten-track location. 4) An intimate event experience organized to world-class standards.

But Artsakh Ultra goes even beyond my usual standards because of its focus on cultural immersion coupled with a close working relationship with the locals along the route and the very supportive Artsakh government. Also, as a lifelong lover of history, culture, language, and travel, it’s an absolute thrill for me to merge my personal passions with my professional pursuits.

“I’m organizing Artsakh Ultra for many reasons. First, yes, to provide an awesome racing experience in an extremely unique location, but also to promote the Republic of Artsakh as a tourism destination, to spur development of eco-tourism there, and to directly support the local economy. Back in the USA, I have all of my usual, tried-and-true vendors, but for this event I want to support the local economy as much as possible. As such, in either Artsakh or Armenia, I will have our race shirts produced, our race magazine printed, our race awards manufactured, and more. I will also hire locals to support the event. And beyond that, I am also working to promote running and outdoor adventuring in Artsakh as fantastic pursuits for the local citizens. (We have very special pricing, too, for Armenian citizens who live in Armenia or Artsakh; please inquire.) Trails For Change NGO is our local charitable partner, so we will promote and support their efforts, too. Also, Artsakh Ultra is the first in a long-range plan to develop and produce several endurance sports events in Artsakh. It’s an incredible country with so much to offer and I want to be at the forefront of making exciting things happen!”

Race organizer Chris Kostman hosted a Facebook Live announcement of the race on November 12, 2019 and that can be viewed at this link or at the top of this page.

Chris Kostman and Telma Ghazarian Altoon welcome you to the Republic of Artsakh! Here they are standing in front of the “We Are Our Mountains” sculpture in Stepanakert, the finish line for stage 5 of the Artsakh Ultra.

2021 Artsakh Ultra Schedule of Events and Route:
8/29, Sunday:  Racer Check-In and Gear Check, Yerevan. (Hotel)
8/30, Monday:    Bus drive from Yerevan to Vardenis; Stage 1: Vardenis, Armenia – Tsar, Artsakh (Camp)
8/31 Tuesday:    Stage 2: Tsar – Karvajar – Nor Verinshen – Zuar Hot Springs (Camp)
9/1 Wednesday:      Stage 3: Zuar Hot Springs – Dadivank Monastery – Zuar Hot Springs (Camp)
9/2 Thursday: Stage 4: Zuar Hot Springs – Andzavner – Vank – Gandzasar Monastery (Hotel)
9/3 Friday:    Stage 5: Vank – Hakobvank – Kachaghakaberd – Patara – Stepanakert (Hotel)
9/4 Saturday:         Stage 6: Stepanakert – Vararakn Canyon – Shushi – Hunot Canyon – return to Shushi (Hotel)
9/5 Sunday:     Bus drive from Shushi to Yerevan

Telma Ghazarian Altoon pauses for a photo at Umbrella Rock in Hunot Canyon during her 2017 run along the length of the Janapar Trail. This spot is featured in the final stage of the Artsakh Ultra.

WEBSITES, SOCIAL MEDIA, PRESS CREDENTIALS, AND FURTHER INFO:
For more information about the Artsakh Ultra, visit the event webpage on the Badwater website.

For more information about visiting Artsakh, visit www.artsakh.travel

For accreditation for foreign journalists to attend and cover the event, click here.

An image gallery showing highlights of the entire route is available here, with “Photo Courtesy AdventureCORPS” attribution required for any posting or publication.

Official Hashtag across all social media: #ArtsakhUltra
Suggested Hashtags: #VisitArtsakh   #PutArtsakhOnTheMap   #TrailsForChangeNGO
Twitter: @Badwater
Badwater Instagram: @BadwaterHQ
Race Director Instagram: @ChrisKostman
Flickr Photostream: @AdventureCORPS
Facebook pages: AdventureCORPS and Badwater

Website for Trails For Change NGO, our local charitable partner:  https://www.trailsforchangengo.org/
 
Website for the Janapar Trail: http://www.janapartrail.org

ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS, INC.:
California-based AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm producing and promoting ultra-endurance sports events and the world’s toughest brand, BADWATER®. Adventure is their way of life. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the Badwater® 135, BADWATER® Salton Sea, and BADWATER® Cape Fear, ARTSAKH Ultra™, and other events. Their products include the Badwater® line of apparel, skin care products, gear, and services. Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, this group effort is dedicated to exploring the inner and outer universes, seeking adventure, energy, and insight both in daily life and “out there.” More info about AdventureCORPS and Badwater is available at  www.adventurecorps.com and www.badwater.com

Badwater® and AdventureCORPS® are U.S. federally registered trademarks owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc. AdventureCORPS additionally claims “Artsakh Ultra™” as its exclusive trademark.

ABOUT CHRIS KOSTMAN (shown above while cycling across Artsakh):
The organizer and race director of the Artsakh Ultra is Chris Kostman, the Chief Adventure Officer at AdventureCORPS, Inc.

As an athlete, Chris Kostman got his start early in ultra sports: He set world ultra cycling records in high school in 1984 and 1985 (riding against the clock from San Francisco City Hall to Los Angeles City Hall) and completed the 3127-mile (5000km), eleven-day Race Across America bicycle race at age 20 in 1987. That was a springboard to competing in events as diverse as the Triple Ironman in France, the 6.5-mile Skaha Lake Ultra Swim in Canada, three 100-mile (162km) wintertime snowshoe running races in Alaska, and scores of long-distance road and mountain bike races.

His special event production career began in high school and grew in tandem with his athletic career. Chris has now produced over 150 world-class sporting events through his company, AdventureCORPS. Hosted in California’s Death Valley and Borrego Springs and on the slopes of Mt. Whitney and Palomar Mountain, as well as on the shores of North Carolina’s Cape Fear, these events include the world-famous Badwater Ultramarathon 135-mile foot race and its sister events, Badwater Salton Sea and Badwater Cape Fear.

Chris also directed the venerable Furnace Creek 508 ultracycling race from 1990 through 2013, and the Silver State 508 ultracycling race from 2014 through 2016. He also co-hosted an eight-day trail running stage race in the Kingdom of Mustang, Nepal in 2015 and a 100-mile (162km) trail race in the Yunan Province of China in 2016. Chris has also published over 250 articles about the endurance world, adventure, travel, archaeology, and human potential.

Chris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in archaeology – with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia – from the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked on archaeological excavations in Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt. His deep love of history, culture, language, and travel – and a lifestyle based upon “seeking and sharing adventure” – were instilled in him by his school teacher parents, Wayne and Shelby Kostman.

CONTACT:
Chris Kostman,
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director

AdventureCORPS, Inc.
638 Lindero Canyon Rd #311
Oak Park, CA 91377 USA
Email: adventurecorps “at” gmail.com

Subscribe to the AdventureCORPS email newsletter at this link.

Please enjoy this five-minute video about the cultural and geographic wonders of Artsakh:

2019 Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 42nd ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

To download the full Press Release, Media Kit, and Media Credential Application in PDF format, click here.

To download the July 2019 issue of BADWATER Magazine, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lone Pine, CA:  On July 15-17, 2019, AdventureCORPS will present its legendary BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon. Now in its 42nd year, the world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements. In scorching temperatures and at altitudes as high as 8,360 feet (2548m), runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers from 21 countries and 30 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race,“ it is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet.

The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Darwin, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.

The Badwater 135 is held under permits from Death Valley National Park, California Department of Transportation, Inyo National Forest, and Inyo County. Media and/or commercial photographers attending the event may be required to obtain permits from some of those same agencies.

AdventureCORPS – on behalf of all competitors and support crews – also gratefully acknowledge that these lands have been lived upon for at least 1000 years by native peoples, including the Timbisha Shoshone and the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribes who live on the race course today. We honor and share their deep reverence for these lands.

While runners began running the course in the 1970s, the race itself has been part of the fabric of life in Inyo County since 1987. A recent study indicated an annual economic impact of 1.2 million dollars, half of it spent in Death Valley National Park and surrounding gateway communities such as Lone Pine, CA. The race is supported by U.S. Congressman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) of California’s 8th District, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.

RouteMap2016

A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2019 Badwater 135 features 44 Badwater veterans and 51 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” of every speed and ability, as well as athletes who have the necessary running credentials, but are primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or in other extreme pursuits.

With one of the most international fields in race history, the athletes represent twenty-one countries: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and United States.

Thirty different American states and territories are represented: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

There are 26 women and 69 men. The youngest runners are Matthew Collins, 28, of Philadelphia, PA and Annie Weiss, 31, of Milwaukee, WI; both are rookies. The oldest female is Pamela Chapman-Markle, 63, of San Leon, Texas, a three-time finisher and the 60+ female age group record holder. The oldest male is Mark K. Olson, 72, of Covina, CA, a seven-time finisher. The overall average age is 47. Full roster details are available here:

http://dbase.adventurecorps.com/roster.php?bw_eid=89&bw=Go

Both men’s and women’s course records were broken in 2016: Pete Kostelnick, 28, of Lincoln, NE set the men’s record of 21:56:31, while Alyson Venti (now Allen), 34, of New York, NY, set the women’s record of 25:53:07. It is expected that the winners of the 2019 Badwater 135 will finish in near record time for both men’s and women’s divisions. The average finishing time is approximately 40 hours, while the overall time limit is 48 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle, referred to as “the Holy Grail of Ultra Running.” There is no prize money.

The 2019 edition of the Holy Grail of Ultra Running exist. Detur Digniori = “Let it be given to those most worthy.“ (“XX” represents 20 years of AdventureCORPS organizing and Chris Kostman directing the race.)

The 2019 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran men’s contenders include 2015 and 2016 champion Pete Kostelnick, 31, of Brunswick, OH (who also broke the 36-year-old Trans-USA running record in 2016); 2014 champion Harvey Lewis, 43, of Cincinnati, OH (who placed 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2017), 2008 men’s champion Zach Gingerich, 40, of Newberg, OR, and other notables such as multiple Badwater Salton Sea champion Ray Sanchez, 21, of Sacramento, CA, and two-time Badwater Cape Fear champion Eric Hunziker, 50, of Cincinnati, OH. Also of note is David Jones, 67, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, ten-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder. There are 38 rookie men and 33 veteran men.

The women’s field is also stacked with talent, but includes no previous women’s Badwater 135 champions. The women’s field of 26 female runners includes 14 rookies and 12 veterans. Notable contenders include 2017 second place female Amy Costa and 2017 3rd place female Pamela Chapman-Markle. Competing as a rookie is 2018 Badwater Cape Fear champion Suzi Swinehart, 47, of Fort Wayne, IN. Also entering as a rookie is Patrycja Bereznowska, 43, of Poland, a 24-Hour World Champion and winner of the Spartathlon race in Greece. With a large number of women competing – includes those with podium finishes at some of the world’s toughest ultramarathons – it will be an intense battle.

Every year is a new year at the Badwater 135, with rookies and “previously unknown” athletes surprising the contenders with top performances. New stars will shine as the race unfolds.

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Monday evening, July 15:

• Wave 1 (800pm): 16 men and 14 women; 18 rookies and 12 veterans = 30 runners

• Wave 2 (930pm): 26 men and 7 women; 19 rookies and 14 veterans = 33 runners

• Wave 3 (1100pm): 30 men and 6 women; 20 rookies and 16 veterans = 36 runners

BAD-UltraCup.2The Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in April, and now concludes with the Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater.com website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. In 2014, seven athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed the 2015 Badwater Ultra Cup, sixteen completed the 2016 Badwater Ultra Cup, fifteen racers completed the 2017 Badwater Ultra Cup, eight completed the 2018 Badwater Ultra Cup, and fourteen racers have completed the first two Badwater races this year and will toe the line at this third and final Badwater race on July 15-17.

Now in its twentieth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS greatly appreciates the support of Pure Vitamin ClubCaring House Project Foundation, and ZZYXXZ, plus the local support of The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Dow Villa, Pizza Factory, the community of Lone Pine, CA, the people of Inyo County, and other generous companies and individuals. More info: www.badwater.com/about-us/sponsors/

Official Charities of the Badwater 135 include 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 thirty million dollars and directly assisted thousands of challenged athletes world-wide. AdventureCORPS also supports the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Death Valley Natural History Association, Conservation Alliance, and One Percent For The Planet. One of the goals of the Badwater 135 is to raise funds for, and awareness of, these organizations. More info. Additionally, many of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice.


This year’s race celebrates the 42nd anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater Basin to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer, human potential guru, and health club manager, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. It took him three efforts before he was successful, having first attempted the route in 1974 and then 1975. Four years later, Jay Birmingham also completed the course, in 1981. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually since then without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement.

We brought Al to the race in 2002, the 25th anniversary of his run, and he was treated like a rock star by everyone in attendance. Sadly, we lost our incredible friend Al Arnold when he passed away last year on September 6, 2017 at the age of 89.  He is sorely missed, but his spirit will live on with each year’s edition of the world’s toughest foot race.

Al Arnold at the start line of the 2002 Badwater Ultramarathon.

For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:

1977 Al Arnold: http://www.badwater.com/blog/category/al-arnolds-insights/

1987 Race: http://www.badwater.com/blog/1987-the-year-badwater-became-a-race/


WEBCAST, RACE UPDATES, PRESS CREDENTIALS, AND FURTHER INFO:

A stock image gallery – for bona fide media use only – may be accessed at the following link, with Photographer Name / Badwater.com attribution required: www.flickr.com/photos/chriskostman/sets/72157654693333871

For the duration of the 2019 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at http://www.badwater.com/2019-badwater-135-webcast/

FOLLOWING THE BADWATER 135 ONLINE

Follow the 2019 webcast at this link.

Follow the 2019 time splits and results at this link.

Follow the race on Twitter @Badwater: http://twitter.com/badwater

Official Hashtag across all social media: #Badwater135

Follow the race staff’s live photostream on Instagram @BadwaterHQ:

http://instagram.com/badwaterHQ

Follow the race director’s live photostream on Instagram @ChrisKostman:

http://instagram.com/chriskostman

Follow the race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventurecorps/

Follow the race director’s photostream archive on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriskostman/

Join the Facebook conversation:

http://www.facebook.com/badwater135

Download the July 2019 issue of BADWATER Magazine at this link.

Download the full 2019 press kit at http://www.badwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Press-Kit.pdf


ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS, INC.:

Oak Park, CA-based AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm producing and promoting ultra-endurance sports events and the world’s toughest brand, BADWATER®. Adventure is our way of life. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the Badwater® 135, BADWATER® Salton Sea, and BADWATER® Cape Fear, and other events. Our products include the Badwater® line of apparel, skin care products, gear, and services. Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, this group effort is dedicated to exploring the inner and outer universes, seeking adventure, energy, and insight both in daily life and “out there.” More info is available at  www.adventurecorps.com and www.badwater.com.

Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.

CONTACT:

Chris Kostman
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director
AdventureCORPS, Inc. 638 Lindero Canyon Road, #311
Oak Park, CA 91377 USA

2019 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

RESULTS / ROSTER / RACE WEBSITE /

2019 SPRING BADWATER MAGAZINE

@Badwater Twitter / @BadwaterHQ Instagram / FB Event Page

OFFICIAL CHARITY: Bald Head Island Conservancy: Please join and donate to BHIC today!

2019 Badwater Cape Fear Image Galleries:

2019 Racer Mugshots and Pre-Race Activities

2019 Race Day

2019 Finish Line

Robert Lee’s “Beamcatchers” photography site

The sixth annual Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon takes place March 16, 2019 on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. A field of 159 runners competed in either the 50km race or the 51-mile race, with all but two finishing officially. Click here for the race results.

The 2019 race featured 159 runners. This includes runners from Armenia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Germany, India, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom, plus from 23 American states, districts, and territories: California (6), Colorado (2), District of Columbia (1), Florida (18), Georgia (1), Illinois (7), Louisiana (4), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (1), Mississippi (1), New Jersey (4), New Mexico (1), New York (7), North Carolina (54), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (8), South Carolina (14), Tennessee (4), Texas (5), Vermont (1), Virginia (3), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (1). We had one 15-year-old and one 16-year-old runner, while the rest ranged in age from 22 to 73. There were 46 females and 113 males, 108 rookies and 51 race veterans. For the full race roster, click here.

With 50km and 51-mile race options, Badwater® Cape Fear features a twelve-mile warm-up on the car-free, one-lane-wide roads of Bald Head Island, followed by either 19 or 39 miles of running on the wild and secluded sandy beach between Cape Fear and Fort Fisher. The race is held along the Atlantic Seaboard with spectacular views of the Frying Pan Shoals to the east and wild and undeveloped marshlands to the west. Running this remote coast is a dramatic, invigorating, and inspiring manner in which to experience the Cape Fear region in all its grandeur!

This exquisite natural setting is the perfect antidote to the “real world” and a wonderful counterpart to the desert sands and mountains of Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert featured in the two West Coast BADWATER® races.

Registration will open soon for the March 2020 edition, and there is a 200-runner limit which will sell out. Whether you are a grizzled Badwater veteran, or looking to take on your first Badwater race, we hope you will join us!

Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU made it happen!

Pre-Race Support: Stacey Shand, Luke Way, Scott Kollins, Telma Altoon, Keith Weitz, Bob Becker, Pamela Hogue, Bernadette DuBois, and others

Race MC: Keith “Wildman” Hanson

Start Line: Keith Hanson, Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, and Chris Kostman

Directions: Chris Shank, Julie Lee, Marie Duvall, Duke Moseley, BHI Conservancy staff and interns, and others

CP1 / Bald Head Island Conservancy: Emily Ryan and Rachel Bonistalli

CP2 / Mid-Beach: Andrea Pitera, Amy Costa, Megan Steinebach, Courtney Spratt; Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks: Isabel Rose, Shannon & Dick Rowe, Anne Terry and others (with massive assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

CP3 / Fort Fisher: Scott Kollins, Keith Weitz, Michelle Beasley, Ellie Beasley, Hailey Leon, and Eleanor Erickson (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

Timing: Pamela Hogue, Julie Lee, and Aidan Peers

Finish Line: Stacey Shand, Luke Way, Chris Kostman, Poul Lindegaard, Chris Shank, Sid Motwani, and others

Photography: Robert Lee of BeamCatchers and Chris Kostman

Public Safety Support: Village of Bald Head Island Public Safety and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Rangers

Thank You!

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

2018 Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 41st ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

To download the full Press Release, Media Kit, and Credential Application in PDF format, click here.

To download the July 2018 issue of BADWATER Magazine, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Death Valley, CA:  On July 23-25, AdventureCORPS presents its legendary BADWATER® 135. Now in its 41st year, the world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements. In scorching temperatures and at altitudes as high as 8,360 feet (2548m), runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers from 22 countries and 22 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race, “ it is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet.

The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.

While runners began running the course in the 1970s, the race itself has been part of the fabric of life in Inyo County since 1987. A recent study indicated an annual economic impact of 1.2 million dollars, half of it spent in Death Valley National Park and surrounding gateway communities such as Lone Pine, CA. The race is supported by U.S. Congressman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) of California’s 8th District, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.

RouteMap2016

A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2018 Badwater 135 features 50 Badwater veterans and 49 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” of every speed and ability, as well as athletes who have the necessary running credentials, but are primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or in other extreme pursuits.

With one of the most international fields in race history, the athletes represent twenty-two countries: Armenia (first-ever Armenian entrant Telma Ghazarian Altoon), Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Greece (first ever Greek female entrant Georgia Mitsou), Hungary, India, Indonesia (first-ever Indonesian entrant Hendra Wijaya), Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Twenty-two different American states and territories are represented: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

There are 32 women – a record number – and 67 men. The youngest runners are Ryan Montgomery (24) and and Kayla Delk (31). The oldest female is 62 (2016 and 2017 finisher and age group record holder Pamela Chapman-Markle of San Leon, Texas) and the oldest male is 71 (seven-time finisher Mark K. Olson of Covina, CA). The overall average age is 45. Full roster details are available here: http://dbase.adventurecorps.com/roster.php?bw_eid=85&bw=Go

Both men’s and women’s course records were broken in 2016: Pete Kostelnick, 28, of Lincoln, NE set the men’s record of 21:56:31, while Alyson Venti (now Allen), 34, of New York, NY, set the women’s record of 25:53:07. It is expected that the winners of the 2018 Badwater 135 will finish in near record time for both men’s and women’s divisions. The average finishing time is approximately 40 hours, while the overall time limit is 48 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle. There is no prize money.

The Holy Grail of Ultra Running

The 2018 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran men’s contenders include 2015 and 2016 champion Pete Kostelnick, 30, of Hannibal, MO (who also broke the 36-year-old Trans-USA running record in 2016), 2014 champion Harvey Lewis, 42, of Cincinnati, OH (who placed 2nd in 2016), 2011 men’s champion Oswaldo Lopez, 46, of Madera, CA (Mexico citizenship), 2008 men’s champion Zach Gingerich, 39, of Newberg, OR, and other notable contenders such as multiple Badwater Salton Sea champions Jared Fetterolf, 29, of Dallas, TX and Ray Sanchez, 51, of Sacramento, CA, and two-time Badwater Cape Fear champion Eric Hunziker, 49, of Cincinnati, OH.

The largest women’s field in race history is also stacked with talent, but no recent women’s Badwater 135 champions. The women’s field of 31 runners includes 14 rookies and 18 veterans. Notable contenders include Badwater 135 veteran Brenda Guajardo who is a three-time winner of the Nove Colli ultramarathon in Italy and placed 2nd female and 10th overall in the 2016 Badwater 135, along with 2017 second place female Amy Costa and 3rd place female Pamela Chapman-Markle.  With a record number of women competing – includes those with podium finishes at some of the world’s toughest ultramarathons – it will be an intense battle.

Also competing are Badwater legends Marshall Ulrich, 67, of Evergreen, CO, a twenty-time Badwater 135 finisher and four-time winner in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996, along with David Jones, 66, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, nine-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder.

Every year is a new year at the Badwater 135, with rookies and “previously unknown” athletes surprising the contenders with top performances. New stars will shine as the race unfolds.

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Monday evening, July 23:

• Wave 1 (800pm): 13 men and 18 women; 15 rookies and 16 veterans = 31 runners

• Wave 2 (930pm): 25 men and 5 women; 13 rookies and 17 veterans = 30 runners

• Wave 3 (1100pm): 29 men and 9 women; 21 rookies and 17 veterans = 38 runners

BAD-UltraCup.2The Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in April, and now concludes with the Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater.com website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. In 2014, seven athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed the 2015 Badwater Ultra Cup, sixteen completed the 2016 Badwater Ultra Cup, fifteen racers completed the 2017 Badwater Ultra Cup, and fourteen racers have completed the first two Badwater races this year and will toe the line at this third and final Badwater race on July 23-25.

Now in its nineteenth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS greatly appreciates the support of Pure Vitamin ClubFarm to Feet Socks, Caring House Project Foundation, ZZYXXZ, Nathan Sports, Joshua Tree Products, and ZombieRunner, plus the local support of The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Dow Villa, Pizza Factory, the community of Lone Pine, CA, the people of Inyo County, and other generous companies and individuals. More info: www.badwater.com/about-us/sponsors/

Official Charities of the Badwater 135 include 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 thirty million dollars and directly assisted thousands of challenged athletes world-wide. AdventureCORPS also supports the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Death Valley Natural History Association, Conservation Alliance, and One Percent For The Planet. One of the goals of the Badwater 135 is to raise funds for, and awareness of, these organizations. More info. Additionally, many of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice.


This year’s race celebrates the 41st anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater Basin to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer, human potential guru, and health club manager, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. It took him three efforts before he was successful, having first attempted the route in 1974 and then 1975. It took four more years until Jay Birmingham also completed the course, in 1981. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually since then without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement.

Sadly, we lost our incredible friend Al Arnold when he passed away last year on September 6, 2017 at the age of 89. When I first took over this race in 1999, Al was one of the very first people that I tracked down and went to go meet. The previous race organizers had never contacted him, so he was pleased that somebody with an appreciation of history had taken over the event and made an effort to reach out to him. We became incredible friends and stayed in touch regularly and I visited him in his home in Walnut Creek whenever possible; he would regale me with stories about his life and always cooked up a veggie burger. He had a zest for life that was incredible.

Al served on the Badwater Application Review Committee for about a decade – helping to select the race field – and also wrote yearly essays to inspire and enlighten the Badwater 135 competitors and crews. (These are permanently archived on the Badwater.com website.)

We brought Al to the race in 2002, the 25th anniversary of his run, and he was treated like a rock star by everyone in attendance. Since then, he was in regular email contact with runners all over the world, some of them Badwater 135 veterans and some were long-term hopefuls looking for advice from the man who first showed us what was possible. Just last summer, race veteran Cory Reese went to visit Al to interview him for his book about the race, “Into The Furnace.” Speaking of stories about Al, besides opening our July 2018 magazine with his obituary, we are also pleased to reprint therein the entire ten-page article from the Spring 1978 issue of Marathoner Magazine about Al’s pioneering run. What a story, what a life!

There is no doubt that Al was well loved and respected within the Badwater Family and the running world at large. He will be sorely missed, but his spirit will live on with each year’s edition of the world’s toughest foot race.

Al Arnold at the start line of the 2002 Badwater Ultramarathon.

For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:

1977 Al Arnold: http://www.badwater.com/blog/category/al-arnolds-insights/

1987 Race: http://www.badwater.com/blog/1987-the-year-badwater-became-a-race/


WEBCAST, RACE UPDATES, PRESS CREDENTIALS, AND FURTHER INFO:

A stock image gallery – for bona fide media use only – may be accessed at the following link, with Photographer Name / Badwater.com attribution required: www.flickr.com/photos/chriskostman/sets/72157654693333871

For the duration of the 2018 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast – including live GPS tracking of all racers – at http://www.badwater.com/2018-badwater-135-webcast/

The Badwater 135 is held under permits from Death Valley National Park, California Department of Transportation, Inyo National Forest, and Inyo County. Media and/or commercial photographers attending the event may be required to obtain permits from some of those same agencies.


FOLLOWING THE BADWATER 135 ONLINE

Follow the 2018 webcast at (including real-time GPS tracking of all runners) at this link.

Follow the 2018 time splits and results at this link.

Follow the race on Twitter @Badwater:

http://twitter.com/badwater

Official Hashtag: #Badwater135

Follow the race staff’s live photostream on Instagram @BadwaterHQ:

http://instagram.com/badwaterHQ

Follow the race director’s live photostream on Instagram @ChrisKostman:

http://instagram.com/chriskostman

Follow the race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventurecorps/

Follow the race director’s photostream archive on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriskostman/

Join the Facebook conversation:

http://www.facebook.com/badwater135

Download the July 2018 issue of BADWATER Magazine at this link.

Download the 2018 press kit at http://www.badwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-Press-Kit.pdf


ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS, INC.:

Oak Park, CA-based AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm producing and promoting ultra-endurance sports events and the world’s toughest brand, BADWATER®. Adventure is our way of life. AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic races such as the Badwater® 135, BADWATER® Salton Sea, and BADWATER® Cape Fear, and other events. Our products include the Badwater® line of apparel, skin care products, gear, and services. Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, this group effort is dedicated to exploring the inner and outer universes, seeking adventure, energy, and insight both in daily life and “out there.” More info is available at  www.adventurecorps.com and www.badwater.com.

Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.

CONTACT:

Chris Kostman
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director
AdventureCORPS, Inc. 638 Lindero Canyon Road, #311
Oak Park, CA 91377 USA

Badwater 135: The Ideal Support Vehicle (and its Set-Up)?

In the lead-up to the 2018 race, we asked 2017 veterans of the Badwater 135 to weigh in with their suggestions and experience with selecting, setting up, and using their “ideal” support vehicle at the world’s toughest foot race, as well as best crewing practices.

We – the race organizers – are big fans of using smaller vehicles, such as mini-vans or even small to medium SUVs, even though they make it a bit harder to carry lots of ice, food, water, and gear for the runner and all the crew members. (Just be space-efficient with your packing and have and implement a good plan to buy ice, water, and supplies at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, and Lone Pine, and you will have all that you need.) We prefer smaller support vehicles because they are much easier to park on narrow shoulders, less likely to get stuck in the sand on those shoulders (which happens many times every year at the race), and they are much easier to drive, easier to pass, and easier to park than larger vehicles.

But first, let us state that – without a doubt – the most popular support vehicle at the race every year is the Dodge Caravan (also known as the Chrysler Town and Country), a mini-van that is less than 79″ wide, less than 68” in height, and less than 203″ in length. We highly recommend this vehicle! If you are renting one, be sure yours is equipped with “Stow & Go” seats which almost magically disappear into the floor of the vehicle.

Above: a Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town and Country is less than 79″ wide, less than 68” in height, and less than 203″ in length. (See the current spec’s.) this is the ideal Badwater 135 support vehicle, because it holds all you need, but is small enough to park on most narrow shoulders.

Here is a selection of the race veterans’ suggestions regarding support vehicles and best crewing practices:

From Pete Kostelnick, four-time finisher and two-time overall champion and course record holder:

I’m a big believer in less is more. Usually I’m the guy with the least amount of equipment, etc—not because I’m ignorant, but because I bring a lot of items in smaller quantities. This race is all about risk management. For example, don’t bring four pairs of the same shoe. Bring one that you love and another that you could see being a little roomier or cushioned if you get a bad blister. Don’t bring a cabinet with blister gear—bring a ziplock bag with the essentials for quickly treating a blister and getting back out on the run. Don’t bring an additional ice chest just to sit in—bring a mini Gatorade cooler that you can dip your clothing and hat in.  The two years I finished first, we used my wife’s Honda CRV (shown in photos). I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller, but because I didn’t have a million bulky items packed, my crew was able to do a superb job getting me what they knew I would need!

From Frank McKinney, 10-time entrant and seven-time finisher:

• Ideal size of crew: 3

• Chrysler minivans work best. Double sliding doors, with the traffic-side door lockable.

• Driving the course from Furnace Creek to the finish line the Saturday before has proven very helpful and improves crew efficiency. We do it every year and helps all learn where we can and can’t park, and where we might prefer to park/take breaks.

• NEVER take key out of ignition.

• Perform the van set-up during Monday while runner rests, NOT before

• Having one primary driver allows them to focus on this most important responsibility 

• Keeping Air Conditioning off during the race is NO longer needed. New vehicles are engineered for constant A/C.

• Runner has own ice cooler. Because of compromised immune system due to fatigue, keeping a dedicated cooler for the runner with no unprotected hands going into its ice is a must.

• Always have an ice bandana, small ice baggie, and bottle made up and ready in advance of every crewing stop

• Pacer should carry a walkie talkie to radio ahead the runner’s needs. Be sure to find obscure (quiet) channel to avoid confusion with other teams.

• Pacer/crew always comes across the road to runner. Keep runner moving toward finish line, not crisscrossing to van and back. The race is long enough!

• Having at least one crew member stay at Stovepipe Wells at the start of the race keeps a smaller crew fresh and more efficient. (That crew member then joins the crew when they and the runner arrive in Stovepipe Wells during the race.)

• Covering the front seat with a taped down towel for runner/crew rest. If for runner, recline it before they get there.

• Having a tarp to cover the windshield and/or windows to block heat in the event of mid-race issues is a good way to stay cool during an extended break, and may avoid the need to stake out.

• Always keep a record of the runner’s intake of calories, electrolytes, protein, fluids, etc. This makes for a more efficient second day when all are tired and can’t remember these details for reference.

• For those who aren’t frontrunners, insist on certain rest stops for the runner, especially on Day 1. We implement mile rest stops vs. time stops. By running to a certain mile stop it keeps the runner moving a bit faster than saying “let’s break after 5 hours.” As I’m a 40+ hour finisher, we typically break at mile 27, 50 (just past the time cut-off point), 59 (top of Towne Pass), 72 (just past the time cut-off point), 80.6 (Father Crawley turn-off). From there to the finish most plans go out the window.

• Crew rest is as important as runner rest.

• Put one crew in charge as the Crew Chief well in advance of the start, and that person has full authority during the race. As sleep deprivation sets in, crew members’ worst characteristics come to the surface, creating multiple “bosses.” This is alleviated with a designated crew chief.

From David Coats, four-time entrant and two-time finisher:

1. All crewmembers should pack light and use collapsible duffel bags. Not only do you have to get people and supplies for the race in the car, but you are also going to have to carry all of your personal gear: Pack carefully to minimize space!

2. Don’t use duct tape or other similar materials to affix race numbers and signs on the vehicle, especially a rental vehicle. These are very hard to remove after baking in the hot sun. (Use blue “painter’s tape” instead.)

3. A plastic tarp in the back of the vehicle is a very good idea and will protect the carpet of the vehicle. 

4. Bring a vehicle that has a light colored interior and exterior, if at all possible. 

From Adam Connor, crew member in 2016 and race finisher in 2017:

We are currently supporting one of the Aussies who is running this year with the same tips, so here goes:

– in 2016 we used a Dodge caravan. It was great except it didn’t have any 12v outlets at the back to plug in lights etc.

– 2017 I think we had a similar sized Kia, again no rear power but it did have a couple for the back seat that we used. Also, make sure you go over the car in detail: we only discovered a huge space we could have stashed things in when we dropped the van off after the race!

– We used 2 coolers- one for clothes and one for food. Some unbroken ice bags in the food one so we could get ice that wasn’t contaminated for drinks etc. (Yes we had a cooler full of ice dedicated to keeping clothes cool. Probably a bit over the top, but the most important part was we circulated about 6 ‘Buffs’ between runner and cooler. You probably already know that there’s a particular technique for rolling up a buff with a few ice cubes in it. When you put this around your neck, it gives blissful cool for 20-40 minutes, right where the arteries are in your neck. You can make up several of these at a time and have a few hours of peace, just grab one and hand to runner, chuck old one in the cooler for later. And of course this meant we had heaps of ice in an emergency….. but it tasted like a runner’s neck.)

– For similar races in Australia I love to get a roof mounted ‘pod’ where all of the non-race stuff is stored during the race. That gets it out of the car. We were not able to hire one, so that tip is probably only good for your USA-based competitors.

– Get an unusual light for the outside of van so your runner can tell which is the correct van at night because of flashing, colours, etc.

– Because you’re only allowed to open the van doors from right side, we put the sleeping crew member on the left side. Also an eye mask is good.

– For bragging rights, get an LCD thermometer and tape it to the outside of your van so you can photograph it during the race without actually getting out and experiencing what your runner is feeling…..

– We tested the remote locking system and found that the car would not lock if the keys were in the ignition. So we made a rule that during the race, the keys were to stay in the ignition. This means you don’t have to constantly ask ‘who has the keys?’

– We tested making a shelter with a couple of poles and a tarp, connected to the car but it was just annoying in the end and we gave up.

– We taped our ‘stake’ to the inside of the car:

– Antibacterial hand wash, and the coolers, were also marked as in the above pic.

– Oh, and we had a mascot on our dashboard. His name was Ernie, for no particular reason:

Andrea Kooiman, three-time finisher, recommends a mid-size SUV, such as her own personal Jeep that she used in 2017 with a four-person crew:

Finally, we want to conclude with some photos of what is the largest “legal” vehicle to use as a support vehicle at the Badwater 135 (per the race rules), the Nissan NV 3500HD 12. This vehicle was used at the 2018 Badwater Salton Sea and the 2018 Badwater 135 by Tom Atwell, and is now – as of 2019 – officially allowed at Badwater 135 and Badwater Salton Sea. (In 2019: Width is 79.9”. Height is 84”. For comparison, a standard-size minivan,  like a Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town and Country, is less than 79″ wide, less than 68” in height, and less than 203″ in length.

But please note, although there are certain advantages to using a vehicle this large (mainly, lots of space for crew members and for lots of coolers and gear), it will also be VERY difficult to park along many parts of the race route because of very narrow shoulders. We therefore do not generally recommend this vehicle, although it is allowed.

Nissan NV Size Specifications (as of 2018-2019): Width is 79.9”. Height is 84”.  For comparison, a standard-size minivan,  like a Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town and Country, i less than 79″ wide, less than 68” in height, and less than 203″ in length. A Mercedes Sprinter Van, by comparison, is 110” (or more) tall (and not allowed.)