Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Monday, July 11, 2005

Badwater Ultramarathon

The 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon begins today. That's a distance of over 5 marathons. It starts in Death Valley at an elevation of 280 feet below sealevel and ends at Mt. Whitney Portals at an elevation of 8360 feet above sealevel. I don't know how you could create a tougher race.

Dean Karnazes

Last year's winner and famous ultramarathoner, Dean Karnazes, won't be in the race. He's skipping Badwater and instead will be part of the US team in the 24 Hour World Championships in Austria that takes place July 16 and 17th.

Pam Reed

Pam Reed, another famous ultramarathoner, is on this year's Badwater race roster. Pam Reed won the Badwater (gender and overall win) in 2002 and 2003 (complete results). Although she won't have to worry about Dean, two Canadians who finished 2nd and 3rd last year are on the roster this year. Ferg Hawke finished second last year with a time of 27:30:20 (less than 8 minutes behind Dean) and Monica Scholz finished third with a time of 29:22:29. Pam finished fourth with a time of 31:17:55.

Pam Reed has been busy this year with the world's first 300-mile nonstop run in March and a triple marathon at London and Boston in April.

Badwater Entrants Stats

The 2005 roster lists some interesting stats about the entrants. There are 67 males and 14 females from 12 countries and 19 US states. The country with the most runners outside the US is Germany with 13. The state with the most runners is California with 19. This race doesn't attract many young folks. The youngest entrant is 28 years old. The oldest is 70. The average age is 46. And inspite of the grueling nature of the race, there are many repeat runners. Out of the 81 entrants, 35 have run it before.

The Making of a Badwater Runner

This Sun-Sentinel article reports on how Frank McKinney of South Florida became a Badwater runner. This will be his first Badwater run. Just a year ago while on vacation to Death Valley he learned of the race and got inspired. Before then he had just been a 7-mile-a-day runner.

So how does a casual runner become a Badwater runner in one year? Once McKinney made up his mind he recruited Lisa Smith-Batchen, a 7-time Badwater finisher, to be his coach. She first helped him prepare for a 100-miler race in Ohio last November. That would not only help in prepare but also satisfy the Badwater application requirement if he could finish it within 30 hours.

Well, McKinney did it. He finished the 100-miler in 23:23. But the race took its toll on his body. He was in a wheelchair on the 2nd day after the race, on crutches on day 3, with a cane on day 4, and finally walking on day 5. After 3 weeks he was back training for Badwater.

He's now on the race roster and ready to run today.


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