Category: Badwater 135

2024 Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 47th ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

For the duration of the 2024 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived there.)

AS in 2022 and 2023: Facebook Live-Streaming at the Start Lines and along the route, thanks to our satellite internet system!

Follow the 2024 time splits and results at this link.

To download the July 2023 issue of BADWATER Magazine (2024 edition coming soon), click here.

For the 2024 Press Kit, click here.

See the bottom of this page for many more useful links.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lone Pine, CA:  On July 22-24, 2024, AdventureCORPS will present its legendary BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon, the 135-Mile World Championship. Now in its 47th year, 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), 100 endurance athletes representing 21 nations plus 25 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop running race 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 in Death Valley National Park, 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 2022 Badwater 135 runners, crew, and staff (2024 video coming soon)

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 the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.


Above: 2023 Badwater 135 Route with detour near Owens “Dry” Lake (2024 map coming soon)


THE 2024 RACE FIELD

The ultimate “challenge of the champions,” the 2024 Badwater 135 features 38 Badwater veterans and 62 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” who have the necessary running credentials to not only apply for, but be selected, to compete in the race.

As always, the race will boast a very international field.

The 100 athletes (33 women and 67 men) in the 2024 Badwater 135 represent twenty-one nations: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States of America. See the full roster here.

Twenty-six different American states are represented: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

There are 33 women and 67 men. The youngest runner is Kaylee Frederick, 19, of Johnstown, PA, and the oldest is Keith Straw of Malvern, PA (representing the United Kingdom); both are Badwater 135 veterans. The overall average age is 48.

Of special note, this year Amy Costa and Keith Straw are going for their tenth finishes, Joshua Holmes is going for his tenth consecutive finish, Karla Kent is going for her twelfth consecutive finish, Harvey Lewis is going for his thirteenth consecutive finish, Ray Sanchez is going for his 16th consecutive finish, and Danny Westergaard is going for his 17th consecutive finish.

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 – and give their absolute best performance – both known and new stars will shine as the race unfolds.

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: Ashley Paulson, 2023, USA, 21:44:35.

For Age Group records and more info, click here.

It is expected that the winners of the 2024 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 2023 edition of the Holy Grail of Ultra Running. On the obverse is engraved DETUR DIGNIORI = “Let it Be Given to those Most Worthy“ in Latin.

WAVE STARTS

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Monday evening, July 22. They are assigned according to their predicted finishing time, with the Fast Runners going first, Faster Runners going second, and – at least on paper – the Fastest Runners going third.

• Wave 1 (800pm): 23 men and 11 women; 24 rookies and 10 veterans = 34 runners

• Wave 2 (900pm): 23 men and 10 women; 24 rookies and 9 veterans = 33 runners

• Wave 3 (1000pm): 21 men and 12 women; 14 rookies and 19 veterans = 33 runners


A LEGENDARY HISTORY

This year’s race celebrates the 47th 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.)

AdventureCORPS brought Al to the race in 2002 and inducted him into the Badwater Hall of Fame. This was 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, who turns 79 in July, remains very active with the world of Badwater, not only by serving on the Badwater 135 Application Review Committee for more than 15 years, but also as an athlete. He has competed in all of the Badwater races over the past twenty years.

The first women to complete the course were Jeannie Ennis (USA) and Eleanor Adams (United Kingdom), both of whom competed in the inaugural race in 1987. Ennis was brought to the race as a special guest in 2005 and inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame.

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

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

1977 Al Arnold1981 Jay Birmingham 1987 Race


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 late 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, eleven in 2019, six in 2021, seven in 2022, and 12 in 2023. In 2024, eight Badwater 135 runners have already completed both Badwater Cape Fear and Badwater Salton Sea, and will now attempt the final – and most difficult – leg of this epic, three-event series.


OFFICIAL SPONSORS AND CHARITIES

Now in its twenty-fifth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to recognize Joe Nimble Shoes as the Official Shoe of Badwater and RoadID and Fenixlight as Official Sponsors. 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, De Soto Sport, 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 159 million dollars and directly assisted more than 44,000 challenged athletes in all 50 states and 70 countries world-wide. Since 2002, together with our athletes, we have raised over $900,000 for Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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.


FOLLOWING THE BADWATER 135 ONLINE

For the duration of the 2023 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived at that link.)

Follow the 2024 time splits and results at this link.

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

Official Hashtags across all social media: #Badwater135 and #WorldsToughestFootRace

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

Follow the AdventureCORPS race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr

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

Download the July 2023 issue of BADWATER Magazine at this link. (2024 edition coming soon!)

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 wishing to attending the event in person, please contact us directly for the Media Kit and Credentials Application.


ABOUT ADVENTURECORPS, INC.:

Founded in 1984 by Chris Kostman, Oak Park, California-based AdventureCORPS® 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, AdventureCORPS events have allowed runners and bicyclists to explore the Death Valley, Salton Sea, Cape Fear, Mojave Desert, and Nevada outback regions in the USA, as well as the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Mustang region of Nepal, Yunnan Province of China, and the Republic of Artsakh. AdventureCORPS has now produced more than 170 endurance sports events, and this is our 25th Badwater 135.

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: Adventurecorps.com and Badwater.com.

CONTACT:

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

2024 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

RESULTS / ROSTER / RACE WEBSITE

@Badwater Twitter / @BadwaterHQ Instagram

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

2024 Badwater Cape Fear Image Galleries on Flickr:

2024 Racer Mugshots by Robert Lee of BeamCatchers.com (Same gallery on FB)

2024 Pre-Race Activities, by Robert Lee, Erika  (FB version)

2024 Start Line at Old Baldy Lighthouse, the race gets under way on Bald Head Island, and runners rounding Cape Fear at Mile 13.1

2024 Mid-Beach (AS2) Image and Video Gallery

2024 Badwater Cape Fear Finish Line Gallery

2024 Badwater Cape Fear Videos and FB Live Videos:

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

Live Video from the Ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport, the Saturday prior to the race

Live Video from Southport, giving a brief geography lesson, the Tuesday prior to the race

Pre-race TikTok (on FB) from Bald Head Island during Racer Check-In

Short Video of Badwater Legend Jay Birmingham performing during Racer Check-In

Short Video of the Maritime Forest Preserve 

Short Video of the Badwater Cape Fear goodie bag

Live Video from the 2024 Start Line at the foot of the Old Baldy Lighthouse

Live Video as the 2024 Badwater Cape Fear gets under way on Bald Head Island

Part 1 Live Video / Part 2 Live Video from Cape Fear itself on Mile 13.1 as the Badwater racers round the Cape and head up the beach to Fort Fisher

The tenth Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon took place on March 23, 2024 on Bald Head Island and Fort Fisher, North Carolina. A field of 176 runners competed in either the 50km race or the 51-mile race, with 77 completing the 50km race officially and 90 completing the 51.4-mile race officially. Click here for full race results.

The 2024 race included runners representing Canada, Philippines, United States, and United Kingdom, plus 31 American states and territories: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Ages ranged from 19 to 78. There were 46 females and 130 males, and 112 Badwater Cape Fear rookies and 64 race veterans. For the full race roster, click here.

With 50km and 51-mile race options and a start line at the foot of the Old Baldy Ligthouse, 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 Cape Fear River 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.

Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU make it happen!

Racer Check-In: Stacey Shand, Keith Weitz, Scott Kollins, Julie Lee, Robert Lee, Chris Shank, Thomas & Anne Marie Brock, Bob Becker, Jay Birmingham, Erika Small, Sandy Kades, Brian Million, Alix Shutello, and others

Trail Marking: Bob Becker and Jay Birmingham

Start Line: Keith Weitz, Scott Kollins, Erika Small, Julie Lee, Stacey Shand, and Chris Kostman

Broom Wagon (first 10.5 miles): Brian Million

Trail Sweep: Jay Birmingham and Brian Million

Morning Directions: Chris Shank, Julie Lee, and many Bald Head Island Public Safety volunteers and other Bald Head Island residents

UTV Pilot: Karlee Szympruch

AS1 at Bald Head Island Conservancy: Emily Ryan, Anne-Marie Brock, Thomas Brock, Margaret Pisacano, Susan Parker, Sandy Kades, and many others

AS2 at Mid-Beach: Bonny Mcclain, Marcia Bosch, Jeff Winchester, Erika Small, and Josie, Kathy, Mell, and Peter from Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks, with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!

AS3 at Fort Fisher: Eleanor Erickson, Keith Weitz, Scott Kollins, and Denise Fox.

Timing: Julie Lee

Finish Line: Chris Kostman, Stacey Shand, Brian Million, Jay Birmingham, Chris Shank, 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!

Join us Sunday, October 27, 2024 for the inaugural Cape Fear Marathon & Half Marathon on Bald Head Island, North Carolina!

 

 

 

AdventureCORPS Presents the Innaugural Cape Fear Marathon & Half on Bald Head Island, NC

AdventureCORPS® – the organizers of the iconic worldwide series of Badwater® races – are pleased to present the Cape Fear Marathon & Half Marathon on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. This is the home of fabled and legendary Cape Fear, and the home to our annual Badwater Cape Fear ultramarathon – now in its 10th year – the “(B)east Coast” counterpart to our two California-based ultramarathon races, Badwater Salton Sea and Badwater 135. The Cape Fear Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 27, 2024, with a 1000am start time, and a 6.5-hour cut-off for the marathon and 3.5 hours for the half. Registration is open now at RunSignUp.com, with discounted entry until April 30. 

With 26.2 and 13.1-mile race options, Cape Fear Marathon and Half Marathon take places entirely on Bald Head Island and its car-free, one-lane-wide roads, plus a short but spectacular stretch on the beach around Cape Fear herself. The start and finished are located at Old Baldy, the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, while another main checkpoint will be located at the Bald Head Island Conservancy, our local charitable partner.

Essentially, half-marathoners will do one and a half laps of the island, with one .75-mile sand stretch around Cape Fear, while full marathoners will do three laps of the island and three trips around Cape Fear for a total of 2.25 miles of beach running. There will be three aid station locations along the race route, which is more than adequate, BUT this is an adventure marathon in a remote location, so carrying a hand-held water bottle, waist pack, and/or hydration pack is a must. Additionally, this is a “cupless” race, so carrying the provided Badwater race cup is critical.

LOCATION and TRAVEL:

Bald Head Island and nearby Southport, NC (featured in the film “Safe Haven”) are ideal vacation get-away spots for the entire family, located less than one hour from Wilmington, NC and its major airport with American, United, and Delta service. (Flying into Myrtle Beach, SC is another convenient option.) Runners will enjoy the remarkable beauty and quaint southern charm of this area, as well as this impeccable and one of a kind race experience, no doubt making this race an annual pilgrimage!

ISLAND LOCATION:

Participants are responsible for making their own travel and ferry arrangement to get to and from Bald Head Island. Visit BaldHeadIslandFerry.com and download the Bald Head Island Ferry app to book ferry tickets.

SWAG and AWARDS:

All entrants will receive a Cape Fear Marathon goodie bag with a Cape Fear Marathon t-shirt, Cape Fear Marathon hat by BOCO Gear, a Badwater race cup as this is a “cupless” race, a Badwater sticker, and Badwater sunglasses. Let us know your preferred t-shirt size when you register!

Finishers will receive a Cape Fear Marathon Medal by Maxwell Medals at the finish line.

Those who complete Badwater Cape Fear (50km or 51mi) and Cape Fear Marathon (26.2 or 13.1) in the same calendar year will receive an additional special award.

MORE ABOUT CAPE FEAR:

Cape Fear – shown above – is a prominent headland jutting into the Atlantic Ocean from Bald Head Island on the coast of North Carolina in the southeastern United States. It is largely formed of barrier beaches and the silty outwash of the Cape Fear River as it drains the southeast coast of North Carolina through an estuary south of Wilmington. 

Cape Fear is formed by the intersection of two sweeping arcs of shifting, low-lying beach, the result of longshore currents which also form the treacherous, shifting Frying Pan Shoals, part of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. 

Dunes dominated by sea oats occur from the upper beach driftline back to the stable secondary dunes, where they mix with other grasses such as Saltmeadow Cordgrass and panic grass, as well as seaside goldenrod, spurge and other herbs to form a stable salt- tolerant grassland. 

Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Italian explorer sailing for France, made landfall after crossing the Atlantic at or near Cape Fear on March 1, 1524. 

The name comes from the 1585 expedition of Sir Richard Grenville. Sailing to Roanoke Island, his ship became embayed behind the cape. Some of the crew were afraid they would wreck, giving rise to the name Cape Fear. It is the fifth-oldest surviving English place name in the U.S.

Cape Fear was the landing place of General Sir Henry Clinton during the American Revolutionary War on May 3, 1775. The 1962 movie Cape Fear and its 1991 remake were set at Cape Fear. 

The legend of Cape Fear lives on with BADWATER® CAPE FEAR, and now the CAPE FEAR MARATHON! 

Source: Wikipedia 

MORE ABOUT OLD BALDY:

Bald Head Lighthouse, known as Old Baldy, is the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina. It was built to help guide ships past the dangerous shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear river. Old Baldy was completed by 1817 for just under $16,000 using bricks salvaged from the previous Bald Head lighthouse. A stone plaque above the entrance identifies the builder as Daniel S. Way, and the foundry for the lantern room, that was also salvaged from the old tower, as R. Cochran. Old Baldy was originally equipped with an array of 15 lamps and reflectors, and as technology improved, it later housed a Fresnel lens. It was decommissioned in 1958, but stands as a day beacon and symbol of Bald Head Island. The lighthouse has been restored and is open to the public; come climb its stairs to the top! Since 2014, Old Baldy has stood watch over the Badwater Cape Fear start line. Learn more at OldBaldy.org.

MORE ABOUT BALD HEAD ISLAND CONSERVANCY

The Bald Head Island Conservancy was founded on Bald Head Island, NC in 1983 with a focus on barrier island conservation, preservation, and education. The Conservancy sponsors and facilitates scientific research that benefits coastal communities and provides numerous recreational and educational activities to the public. In coordination with various organizations, partnerships, and collaborations, the Conservancy has led the nation in conservation and research efforts and is uniquely poised to become a leader in Barrier Island Conservation world-wide. 

Badwater fans and race participants will appreciate that BHIC cares for the pristine setting for the Badwater Cape Fear race route and its role as a seat turtle nesting site and sanctuary. The Conservancy also serves as the host and finish line for our event. As such, our goal is to annually raise $10,000 to purchase one of the special UTV vehicles which BHIC uses to patrol the beach and care for sea turtle nesting sites. 

Since 2014, AdventureCORPS has made or facilitated more than $125,000 in donations to the Bald Head Island Conservancy. 

More info: BHIC.org or click their logo above to donate now!

Register now for Cape Fear Marathon & Half on October 27, 2024!

 

2023 Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 46th ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

For the duration of the 2023 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived there.)

AS in 2022: Facebook Live-Streaming at the Start Lines and along the route, thanks to our satellite internet system!

Follow the 2023 time splits and results at this link.

To download the July 2023 issue of BADWATER Magazine, click here.

For the 2023 Press Kit, click here.

See the bottom of this page for many more useful links.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lone Pine, CA:  On July 4-6, 2022, AdventureCORPS will present its legendary BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon, the 135-Mile World Championship. Now in its 46th year, 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), 100 endurance athletes representing 26 nations plus 25 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop running race 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 in Death Valley National Park, 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 2022 Badwater 135 runners, crew, and staff (2023 video coming soon)

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.


Above: 2023 Badwater 135 Route with detour near Owens “Dry” Lake

 

There is a detour to the 2023 Badwater 135 route due to flooding of the Inyo River due to excessive Sierra Nevada snowpack melting. Click here for ALL the 2023 route details


THE 2023 RACE FIELD

The ultimate “challenge of the champions,” the 2023 Badwater 135 features 34 Badwater veterans and 66 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” who have the necessary running credentials to not only apply for, but be selected, to compete in the race.

As always, the race will boast a very international field. The 100 athletes in the 2023 Badwater 135 represent twenty-six nations: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America. See the full roster here.

Twenty-five different American states are represented: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington.

There are 40 women – a record number – and 60 men. The youngest runners are Kaylee Frederick, 18, of Johnstown, PA, – the youngest entrant ever – and Kornel Miszczak, 25, of Klecza Dolna, Poland; both are rookies. The oldest runners are Linda Quirk, 70, of Las Vegas, NV, and David Jones, 71, of Murfreesboro, TN; both are Badwater 135 veterans. The overall average age is 49.

Of special note, this year Amy Costa, Jonathan Gunderson, and Keith Straw are going for their ninth finishes, Joshua Holmes is going for his ninth consecutive finish, Karla Kent is going for her eleventh consecutive finish, Harvey Lewis is going for his twelfth consecutive finish, David Jones and Pam Reed are going for their twelfth finishes, Ray Sanchez is going for his 15th consecutive finish, and Danny Westergaard is going for his 16th consecutive finish.

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 – and give their absolute best performance – both known and new stars will shine as the race unfolds.

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. (He will compete again this year.)

Women’s: Ashley Paulson, 2022, USA, 24:09:34. (She will compete again this year.)

For Age Group records and more info, click here.

It is expected that the winners of the 2023 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 2023 edition of the Holy Grail of Ultra Running. On the obverse is engraved DETUR DIGNIORI = “Let it Be Given to those Most Worthy“ in Latin.

WAVE STARTS

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Tuesday evening, July 4. They are assigned according to their predicted finishing time, with the Fast Runners going first, Faster Runners going second, and – at least on paper – the Fastest Runners going third.

• Wave 1 (800pm): 22 men and 17 women; 30 rookies and 9 veterans = 39 runners

• Wave 2 (900pm): 18 men and 14 women; 22 rookies and 10 veterans = 32 runners

• Wave 3 (1000pm): 20 men and 9 women; 14 rookies and 15 veterans = 29 runners


A LEGENDARY HISTORY

This year’s race celebrates the 46th 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.)

AdventureCORPS brought Al to the race in 2002 and inducted him into the Badwater Hall of Fame. This was 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, who turns 78 in July, remains very active with the world of Badwater, not only by serving on the Badwater 135 Application Review Committee for more than 15 years, but also as an athlete. He has competed in all of the Badwater races over the past twenty years.

The first women to complete the course were Jeannie Ennis (USA) and Eleanor Adams (United Kingdom), both of whom competed in the inaugural race in 1987. Ennis was brought to the race as a special guest in 2005 and inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame.

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

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

1977 Al Arnold1981 Jay Birmingham 1987 Race


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 late 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, eleven in 2019, six in 2021, and seven in 2022. In 2023, thirteen Badwater 135 runners have already completed both Badwater Cape Fear and Badwater Salton Sea, and will now attempt the final – and most difficult – leg of this epic, three-event series.


OFFICIAL SPONSORS AND CHARITIES

Now in its twenty-fourth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to recognize Joe Nimble Shoes as the Official Shoe 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, De Soto Sport, 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 159 million dollars and directly assisted more than 44,000 challenged athletes in all 50 states and 70 countries world-wide. Since 2002, together with our athletes, we have raised over $900,000 for Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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.


FOLLOWING THE BADWATER 135 ONLINE

For the duration of the 2023 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived at that link.)

Follow the 2023 time splits and results at this link.

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

Official Hashtags across all social media: #Badwater135 and #WorldsToughestFootRace

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

Follow the AdventureCORPS race staff’s photostream archive on Flickr

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

Download the July 2023 issue of BADWATER Magazine at this link.

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 wishing to attending the event in person, please contact us directly.


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 the Death Valley, Salton Sea, Cape Fear, Mojave Desert, and the Nevada outback regions in the USA, as well as the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Mustang region of Nepal, Yunan Province of China, the Republic of Artsakh, and now Armenia and the Santa Ynez Valley.

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: Adventurecorps.com and Badwater.com.

CONTACT:

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

 

2023 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

 

RESULTS / ROSTER / RACE WEBSITE

@Badwater Twitter / @BadwaterHQ Instagram

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

2023 Badwater Cape Fear Image Galleries:

• 2023 Racer Mugshots by Robert Lee of BeamCatchers.com + Pre-Race Activities and Racer Check-In, by Chris Kostman: Flickr Album

• 2023 Start Line at OId Baldy Lighthouse, runners at Mile 6, and runners round Cape Fear Mile 13 at Cape Fear, by Chris Kostman and Stacey Shand: Flickr Gallery

• 2023 Finish Line at Bald Head Island Conservancy, by Chris Kostman: Flickr Gallery / Facebook

• COMING SOON! Massive gallery of incredible images from the start line bridge and on the beach by Robert Lee of BeamCatchers.com

2023 Badwater Cape Fear Facebook Live Videos:

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

Live from Cape Fear, the Tuesday prior to the race

Live from the Southport to Bald Head Island Ferry, the Tuesday prior to the race

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 the 2023 Start Line at the foot of Old Baldy Lighthouse

Live from Cape Fear itself on race morning as racers round the Cape | Part 2 | Part 3

The ninth Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon took place on March 18, 2023 on Bald Head Island and Fort Fisher, North Carolina. A field of 195 runners competed in either the 50km race or the 51-mile race. Eighty-nine runners completed the 50km race, while 103 completed the 51-mile race. Click here for the race results.

The 2023 race included runners representing Argentina, Bosnia, Canada, Japan, Philippines, United States, and United Kingdom, plus 33 American states and territories: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Ages ranged from 15 to 77. There were 61 females and 134 males, and 150 Badwater Cape Fear rookies and 45 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 Cape Fear River 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.

Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU made it happen!

Racer Check-In: Stacey Shand, Keith Weitz, Keith Pardue, Julie Lee, Robert Lee, Abigail, Emily Lyons, Chris Shank, Ted Williamson, Thomas & Anne Marie Brock, Rita Castro, Linda O’Brien, Bob Becker, and others

Trail Marking: Bob Becker and Armen Manukyan

Start Line: Keith Weitz, Keith Pardue, Julie Lee, Stacey Shand, and Chris Kostman

Broom Wagon (first 10.5 miles): Brian Million

Trail Sweep: Armen Manukyan

Morning Directions: Chris Shank, Julie Lee, Craig Bandoroff, Margaret Piscano, Susan Parker, Nicole Orringer, John Ivan, Bald Head Island Public Safety volunteers, and other Bald Head Island residents

UTV Pilot: Ali of BHIC

AS1 at Bald Head Island Conservancy: Emily Ryan, Anne-Marie Brock, Thomas Brock, Rita Castro, Julie O’Brien, and others

AS2 at Mid-Beach: Ted Williamson, Bonny Mcclain, Marcia Bosch, and Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks, with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!

AS3 at Fort Fisher: Eleanor Erickson, Keith Weitz, Keith Pardue, and Hailey Leon.

Timing: Julie Lee with assistance from Stacey Shand and others.

Finish Line: Chris Kostman, Stacey Shand, Armen Manukyan, Telma Altoon, Brian Million, Chris Shank, 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!

 

 

Badwater 135: Big Fish in a Small Pond, Beware!

– Some History and Context about “Outlier” Performances
 
For the past 23 years, it has been my great pleasure to lead the team which hosts the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon. Since our very first race in 2000, Badwater 135 runners have been giving amazing – and sometimes astonishing – performances on the race course. Human potential is truly incredible and we love providing the venue and opportunity for women and men to redefine what is possible.
 
For the first 13 editions of the race, there was very little International participation. It was mostly Americans, Brits, and other English speakers. The field was normally 12 to 25 runners (with 42 in 1999, the last year under the original leadership of the race.)
 
When I took the event over in 2000, my vision was that Badwater 135 would intentionally welcome runners carrying flags from across the globe, as well as endurance athletes with all kinds of varying backgrounds. We encouraged and embraced not only all the ultra runners who wanted to participate, but also ultra triathletes, mountaineers, and ultra cyclists, as long as they met the qualifying criteria and were selected to race. My goal was and remains to make Badwater 135 as competitive, as interesting, as diverse, and as international as possible.
 
We instantly began to achieve that goal at our first race in 2000, when the top five finishers came from Russia, Slovenia, Japan, Russia, and Russia, in that order. The Badwater veterans learned they had been “big fish in a small pond” when the men’s and women’s records were broken, with the Russian men’s winner five hours ahead of the lead American and the Russian women’s winner over 11 hours ahead of the next woman. It was a wake-up call to the nearly entirely American race field that there was a much wider body of ultra athletes out there capable of excelling at this race. But they weren’t only foreigners.
 
Just two years later, in 2002, a woman won the race overall: Pam Reed of Tucson, Arizona took first overall with an astonishing gap of over four hours and forty minutes ahead of the next runner, the first man (27:56:47 versus 32:38:57.) She was over nine hours ahead of the next woman.
 
In 2002, Pam had started in the first wave and ran away from the whole race field immediately. She came back in 2003, started in the third wave, and won again. This time Dean Karnazes finished 24 minutes behind her, but the next finisher – the 2nd woman – was over five hours back. (The following year, Reed took fourth while Karnazes won with a four-hour margin over Reed, but just eight minutes over 2nd place.)
 
In 2005, Scott Jurek won the race in his rookie debut in a time of 24:36:08. He was arguably the greatest male American ultra runner at the time, but what made his win startling was that it came just one weekend after his seventh – and final – Western States 100 win. That is some amazing recovery. (The following year he dedicated his season to training for Badwater 135, and did all the right things in terms of heat training, road training, and such; he won again, but in a slower time.)
 
In 2006, David Goggins entered for the first time. He is a very muscular, large man, and he had extremely limited running experience, basically just one 24-hour race plus the HURT 100. (In real life, he was a Navy SEAL and has phenomenal overall fitness and strength.) In his rookie debut, he placed fifth in 30:18:54, coming in behind four of the biggest names in ultra running at the time: Scott Jurek, Akos Konya, Charlie Engle, and Ferg Hawke. He was also three hours ahead of Dean Karnazes.
 
In 2007, Goggins finished in third place with a time of 25:49:40, behind new course record breaker Valmir Nunes and runner-up (again) Akos Konya, something nobody would have predicted given Goggins’ physique and his limited running background.
 
In 2007, Jamie Donaldson took over 41 hours during her rookie debut, but then she returned in 2008 to win in a time of 26:51:33, a shocking 17 hour improvement and a new women’s record. She won three years in a row and broke her own women’s record in 2010 with a 25:53:07. (She then retired from the sport.)
 
In 2012, 70-year-old Arthur Webb completed the race in 33:45:40, setting a still unbroken 70+ age group record. Webb had started competing in Badwater 135 at age 56; it was this 15th consecutive race in 2012 when he not only set his amazing 70+ record, but also set his fastest personal record. He placed 29th out of 96; the average age of the runners ahead of him was 43.7 and the oldest ahead of him was just 60.
 
In 2013, a “previously unknown” 49-year-old Australian named Grant Maughan entered the race and placed second, just 15 minutes behind the winner, in 24:53:57. (He would take second again the following year, and eventually finish seven times.)
 
In 2015, Pete Kostelnick entered for the second time. He had run an impressive 30:38:09 in his rookie debut in 2014, but just one year later he ran 23:27:10 – an astonishing improvement of over seven hours. A year later, in 2016, he broke Valmir Nunes’ nine-year-old men’s record with a time of 21:56:32. (Since then, Pete has finished seven hours slower, thirteen hours slower, and DNF’d twice. But during Pete’s slowest Badwater 135, he ran from Lone Pine to the Whitney Portal finish line faster than anyone before or since: 2:21 for the 13 miles 5000 feet of ascent.)
 
In 2019, both course records were broken by rookie entrants. Yoshihiko Ishikawa of Japan set a new men’s record of 21:33:01, finishing 2 hours and 40 minutes ahead of the 2nd place finisher – and new women’s record breaker – Patricyja Bereznowska of Poland. Bereznowska broke Jamie Donaldson’s 2010 women’s record by 23 minutes and was the first woman to finish on the podium (top three overall) since 2010 and the first woman to ever place second overall. Nearly five hours behind Ishikawa and two hours behind Bereznowska was the third finisher, and second man, American Harvey Lewis in 26:11:18.
 
In 2022, the women’s course record fell as Ashley Paulson, a professional triathlete with six ultramarathon wins, ran just under four minutes faster than Bereznowska two years prior, and also placed third overall.

Ashley Paulson and pacer descend Towne Pass into the Panamint Valley during the 2022 Badwater 135.

 
Of course there have been MANY incredible performances besides those that I have mentioned here, but this gives a good idea of the “outlier” performances that take place somewhat often at Badwater 135 while the rest of the field puts in pretty consistent performances. (Scientists call this “punctuated equilibrium.”)
 
None of this should be a surprise, because the sport is still young, everyone is still learning, plus the overwhelming majority of the planet doesn’t participate in ultra running. (The pond is still relatively small, but when new big fish make it to Badwater, amazing things will often happen.)
 
The previous Badwater 135 race director told me that he didn’t let in non-English speakers, plus the race field was very small. But when I promoted the race world-wide, five foreigners came in and set the bar much higher at our first race. (Five years went by before Scott Jurek broke the men’s record and returned it to American hands. But two years later, as ultra running grew in Brazil – in large part because of our sister race, Brazil 135 – the Brazilian Valmir Nunes broke Jurek’s record by nearly two hours.)
 
The majority of these incredible performances are simply the result of remarkable talent coming to Death Valley to compete in the Badwater 135. Basically, the pond is becoming bigger and bigger as it becomes more and more international. As a result, those previously “big fish” have found they aren’t as big as they thought.
 
Races are generally won – and records sometimes broken – by runners with more talent, higher pain thresholds, better and more consistent training and preparation. (That, plus being born with excellent DNA.)
 
When I look over the amazing Badwater 135 performances cited above, it basically comes down to bigger fish joining the race, or existing fish becoming bigger over time. For example, Badwater 135 has featured breakout performances by:
 
– Athletes who are world-class ultra runners, such as 24-hour and 48-hour record holders, Spartathlon champions, and similar, as in the case in 2000 and 2019 (and some years in between) and with many of our top foreign runners who finish on the podium.
 
– Athletes who are just exceptional and they “discovered” their incredible talent – as we discovered them – because of Badwater 135, such as Pam Reed and Grant Maughan.
 
– Athletes with simply more will and the most mind-blowing training and commitment (Goggins, in particular.)
 
– Athletes who “become bigger fish” during their years of Badwater 135 competition by training harder and smarter each year, honing their craft, and executing exceptional race strategies. (Pete Kostelnick’s first three races, plus Jamie Donaldson and Arthur Webb.)
 
– And one last category of athlete who I will describe below.
 
Despite how “astonishing” the various Badwater 135 performances cited above are, I have never heard a single one of these exceptional athletes be accused of cheating. Likewise, I have never believed that any of these athletes cheated, nor was I ever presented with evidence – or even a suggestion – that they cheated in any way. On the contrary, the ultra running community has accepted ALL of these incredible athletes and their exceptional performances with open arms and has celebrated all of them.
 
I believe this is because people trust “their own” people (fellow ultra runners) and because people generally accept one another at face value and with good will. I would also hope that the ultra running community knows that we take our organization of this race extremely seriously and that we work very hard to provide a safe, fair, and well managed race.
 
And yet, here we are today with swift condemnation of an “outlier” performance by an “outlier” athlete, Ashley Paulson, our women’s champion, third place overall finisher, and new women’s course record holder.
 
She was a rookie this year, and was accepted into the race with an exceptional athletic resumé – but a resumé that is not the “standard, well-known ultra runner” resumé that the majority of the field has.
 
Yes, she had won the six ultramarathons that she has entered, including The Bear 100 in Utah. But she has also been a professional triathlete for eight years, placing in the top ten in multiple Ironman Triathlons, with a personal best of 9:18:48 at Ironman Cozumel in 2017. That represents a level of athletic talent that is far beyond what nearly any triathlete – or ultra runner – can imagine, let alone deliver.
 
And yes, her history does include a six-month doping infraction suspension that she served seven years ago – something that we discussed and considered internally. Given that her own professional triathletes organization welcomed her back into triathlon, we felt no obligation nor desire to discriminate against her and refuse her entry in the race. She deserved the chance to race, and to be judged exclusively on the merits of her performance on the Badwater 135 race course.
 
During the 2022 Badwater 135, we consistently saw Ashley Paulson running a fast, smooth, impressive, competitive race. As far as we know and observed, she and her support crew participated in an exemplary manner.
 
We have nearly 50 race staff who are out on and patrolling the course continuously. Every time we observed her, she was running fast, she was running with exceptional form, and she was smiling, happy, and engaging. She was clearly thriving as she competed against some of the best ultra runners on a brutal course. Living in both Florida and Utah, she didn’t seem to be impacted by the heat, either. She never wavered. From what we saw, she ran a perfect race.
 
And so I would add that there is one more type of athlete who may give an “outlier” performance at Badwater 135:
 
– World-class athletes from other endurance disciplines, who bring a level of fitness, strength, endurance, and highly effective training that exceeds the training typical for ultra runners who mainly – or exclusively – run lots of big miles. (In this case I am referring to Ashley Paulson, and having the highly respected Ryan Hall as her coach is also a huge asset to Ashley and further evidence of her exceptional training.)
 
Ashley Paulson is an “outlier” in not really being part of the ultra running community. She was not a known name. She doesn’t have the “credentials” that some ultra runners think are necessary to compete at the highest level, or to break records.
 
But for me, and for our organization, with decades of experience organizing – and participating in – ultra cycling, ultra triathlon, and ultra running, we found her victory not only totally believable, but unsurprising. To the best of our knowledge, she earned her win and her record by arriving at the start line as a world-class endurance athlete, and by running faster, smarter, and more consistently than all the women and all but two of the men.
 
One of the principles of American society is the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” That seems to be sadly lost on all those who rush to judgement and we see some keyboard warriors quick to attack Ashley and demand that she “prove her innocence.”
 
But innocence need not be proven; quite the contrary, compelling evidence to prove guilt must be presented. So far, we have seen no such evidence and have mainly seen character assassination, hearsay, conjecture, and bruised egos. We also note that her biggest detractors seem to be men who are perhaps threatened by a woman who can and does beat them, and by women who may be threatened by a talented outsider coming into “their sport.” (“Let’s keep that big fish out of “our” pond!”)
 
Of course, we will continue to look into – and act upon – any credible information that comes our way regarding Ashley, or regarding any other competitor in this year’s race. But without compelling, conclusive evidence of her guilt, we will continue to support and celebrate Ashley Paulson as the 2022 Badwater 135 women’s champion and new course record holder.
 
7-25-2022 Update: Talk about an independent, third party! Without even contacting our organization or me for comments or insights, the Marathon Investigation website operator has completed his detailed analysis of Ashley Paulson’s record-breaking Badwater 135 victory and concluded that “As analyzed by myself, and by a third party, the data is clean and would indicate that Ashley ran the race legitimately.” and “I hope that the community will fully accept that Ashley ran legitimately and recognize her achievement.”
 
Yours in sport,
Chris Kostman,
Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director
AdventureCORPS, Inc., 
organizers of the world-wide series of Badwater® races
 

2022 Badwater 135 Pre-Race Press Release

THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 45th ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY

For the duration of the 2022 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived there.)

NEW FOR THIS YEAR: Facebook Live-Streaming at the Start Lines and along the route, thanks to our new satellite internet system!

Follow the 2022 time splits and results at this link.

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

To download the July 2022 issue of BADWATER Magazine, click here.

See the bottom of this page for many more useful links.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lone Pine, CA:  On July 11-13, 2022, AdventureCORPS will present its legendary BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon, the 135-Mile World Championship. Now in its 45th year, 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), 94 endurance athletes representing 23 nations plus 28 American states and 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 (2022 video coming soon)

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 2022 RACE FIELD

The ultimate “challenge of the champions,” the 2022 Badwater 135 features 32 Badwater veterans and 62 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” who have the necessary running credentials to not only apply for, but be selected, to compete in the race.

As always, the race will boast a very international field. The 94 athletes in the 2022 Badwater 135 represent twenty-three nations: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela, and with the Navajo Nation. See the full roster here.

Twenty-eight different American states are represented: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

There are 32 women and 62 men. The youngest runners are Lindsay Phenix, 31, of Los Angeles, CA, and Iván Penalba Lopez, 31, of Valencia, Spain; both are rookies. The oldest runners are Pamela Chapman-Markle, 66, of SanLeon, TX, and Bob Becker, 77, of Fort Lauderdale, FL; both are many-time finishers. The overall average age is 49.

Of special note, this year Gerald Tabios is going for his seventh finish, Amy Costa is going for her eighth finish, Joshua Holmes is going for his eighth consecutive finish, Kimberlie Budzik is going for her ninth finish, Karla Kent is going for her tenth consecutive finish, Harvey Lewis is going for his eleventh consecutive finish, Ray Sanchez is going for his 14th consecutive finish, and Danny Westergaard is going for his 15th consecutive finish.

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 – and give their absolute best performance – both known and new stars will shine as the race unfolds.

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 2022 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.

Above: The 2022 edition of the Holy Grail of Ultra Running. On the obverse is engraved DETUR DIGNIORI, which means “Let it Be Given to those Most Worthy“ in Latin.

WAVE STARTS

As detailed on the race roster, the race will begin in three waves on Monday evening, July 11. 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): 23 men and 12 women; 26 rookies and 9 veterans = 35 runners

• Wave 2 (930pm): 23 men and 6 women; 19 rookies and 10 veterans = 29 runners

• Wave 3 (1100pm): 16 men and 14 women; 16 rookies and 14 veterans = 31 runners


A LEGENDARY HISTORY

This year’s race celebrates the 45th 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.)

AdventureCORPS 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, who turns 77 in July, remains very active with the world of Badwater, not only by serving on the Badwater 135 Application Review Committee for more than 15 years, but also as an athlete. He has competed in all of the Badwater races over the past nineteen years.

The first women to complete the course were Jeannie Ennis (USA) and Eleanor Adams (United Kingdom), both of whom competed in the inaugural race in 1987. Ennis was brought to the race as a special guest in 2005 and inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame.

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

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

1977 Al Arnold1981 Jay Birmingham 1987 Race


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 late 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, eleven in 2019, and six in 2021. Seven 2022 adwater 135 runners have already completed both Badwater Cape Fear and Badwater Salton Sea this year, and will now attempt the final – and most difficult – leg of this epic, three-event series.


OFFICIAL SPONSORS AND CHARITIES

Now in its twenty-third year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome Joe Nimble Shoes, NSNG Foods, and Pure Vitamin Club 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 112 million dollars and directly assisted more than 26,000 challenged athletes in 70 countries world-wide. Since 2002, we have raised over $800,000 for Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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.


FOLLOWING THE BADWATER 135 ONLINE

For the duration of the 2022 race, fans can follow the race through a “live” webcast at this link (which will remain archived at that link.)

Follow the 2022 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 our Facebook @Badwater135 page and the #Badwater135 Facebook conversation

Download the July 2022 issue of BADWATER Magazine at this link.

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 2022 Badwater 135 Press Kit at 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 the Death Valley, Salton Sea, Cape Fear, Mojave Desert, and the Nevada outback regions in the USA, as well as the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Mustang region of Nepal, and the Yunan Province of China.

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

 

Hall of Fame: Arthur Webb

In 2013, Arthur Webb, a 15-time competitor in the Badwater 135 – who set a personal record and new 70+ Age Group Record during his final appearance at age 70 in 2012 – was inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame.

His plaque reads:

Arthur Webb is proudly inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame

in recognition of his fifteen years of devotion to the world’s toughest foot race

July 2013

 

Badwater Stands With Ukraine

Badwater, AdventureCORPS, and Chris Kostman stand in solidarity with all the people of Ukraine, including Igor Gotsuljak, our 2nd place finisher at the 2021 Badwater 135.
 
Igor is our first ever Ukrainian participant, and he and his support team were a tribute to their country and true sportsmen. Their positive energy was apparent from the moment they arrived to check in
for the race, and it was a delight to to see them in action on the course and to celebrate with them after the race.
 
We offer our wish for a speedy resolution to the war and our hope that Ukraine will prevail and protect its democracy with as little bloodshed as possible.

2022 Badwater Cape Fear Webcast

 

RESULTS / ROSTER / RACE WEBSITE

@Badwater Twitter / @BadwaterHQ Instagram

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

2022 Badwater Cape Fear Image Galleries:

2022 Pre-Race Activities, Racer Check-In, Social Mixer, and Badwater Beer by Chris Kostman & Robert Lee (Visit BadwaterLife.com to learn more about the Beer!)

2022 Racer Mugshots by Robert Lee of BeamCatchers.com

2022 Start Line and the first few miles by Chris Kostman

2022 Runners Rounding Cape Fear at Mile 13.1 by Chris Kostman

2022 Finish Line at Bald Head Island Conservancy + Post-Race Breakfast + Post-Race Activities by Chris Kostman

• Massive gallery of incredible images from the bridge and on the beach by Robert Lee of BeamCatchers.com

2022 Badwater Cape Fear Facebook Live Videos (see all):

Live from Cape Fear, the Tuesday prior to the race

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 the 2022 Racer Check-In, Part 1. Part 2.

Live from the 2022 Start Line

Live as the 2022 Badwater Cape Fear gets under way

Live from Cape Fear itself on race morning as racers round the Cape

The eighth Badwater Cape Fear 50km / 51mi ultramarathon took place on March 19, 2022 on Bald Head Island and Fort Fisher, North Carolina. A field of 124 runners competed in either the 50km race or the 51.4-mile race, with all but five finishing either the 50km or the 51.4-mi race officially. Click here for the race results. Click here to register for the March 19, 2023 race.

The 2022 race featured 124 runners representing Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Iran, Mexico, Philippines, and United States, plus 27 American states: Arizona (2), California (9), Colorado (2), Connecticut (3), District of Columbia (1), Florida (13), Georgia (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), New York (4), North Carolina (39), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (4), Tennessee (2), Texas (7), Utah (1), Vermont (2), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (2). Ages range from 14 to 77. There were 31 females and 93 males, 91 rookies and 33 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 19.6 or 39 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 Cape Fear River 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.

Race Report on the Bald Head Island Conservancy Website: Click here!

Registration for March 18, 2023: Click here to join us!

Badwater® Beer and Badwater® Whiskey

These are the first two of several drinks – including non-alcoholic drinks – being launched in conjunction with Badwater Cape Fear runner Sean Tracy and his brewery and Hewn Spirits distillery in Pennsylvania. Order Badwater Whiskey here. Sign up for further updates at BadwaterLife.com and “Find Your Epic!!

Special thanks, Volunteers! YOU made it happen!

Racer Check-In: Ted Williamson, Bob Becker, Keith Weitz, Scott Kollins, Julie Lee, Robert Lee, Emily Lyons, Bernadette Dubois, Rachel Belmont, Geoff Moore, Chris Shank, and others

Trail Prep: Bob Becker

Start Line: Keith Weitz, Scott Kollins, Emily Lyons, Julie Lee, and Chris Kostman

Broom Wagon (first 10.5 miles): Brian Million

Trail Sweep: Emily Lyons

Morning Directions: Chris Shank, Julie Lee, Craig Bandoroff, Margaret Piscano, Scott Tuttle & Becca Kenney, BHI Conservancy interns, and others

UTV Pilot: Maddie Talnagi of BHIC

AS1 at Bald Head Island Conservancy: Emily Ryan, Anne-Marie Brock, Thomas Brock, Emily Lyons, and Brian Million

AS2 at Mid-Beach: Ted Williamson, Jeff Winchester, and Marcia Bosch (with assistance from Fort Fisher State Recreation Area rangers!)

AS3 at Fort Fisher: Eleanor Erickson, Keith Weitz, and Scott Kollins

Timing: Julie Lee with assistance from Robert Lee and others.

Finish Line: Chris Kostman, Bethany Cazenave, Sandy Kades, Emily Lyons, Chris Shank, 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!