Ninety-six runners are set to embark on a 135-mile trek through furnace-like conditions in Death Valley, California for the 2013 Badwater Ultramarathon, which gets underway today. Six Canadians are among the participants in what is often considered the toughest footrace on Earth.
It’s certainly one of the hottest. Temperatures typically hover around the 50 C mark, and runners are required to have a support crew on hard to do everything they can to keep the them hydrated. Runners often jog along the painted lines on the road to avoid having the bottoms of their shoes melt off.
Waterloo,, Ont.’s Jeff Ashizawa, 47, ran the 2012 Badwater in 38 hours, 18 minutes, finishing in 51st place overall. This year, he’s back to try and improve upon his time and placement.
The other Canadians in the race, Lori Alexander, 54, of Vernon, B.C., Marylou Corino, 35, of Georgetown, Ont., Alexander Lalonde, 30, of Cambridge, Ont., Glen Redpath, 47, a Canadian living in New York, and Stacey Shand, 33, of Regina are all competing in their first Badwater.
A couple of weeks ago, we posted a story about a guy who ran a mile in Death Valley dressed as Darth Vader. Well, no one we know of in Badwater will be wearing a Star Wars costume, but these competitors will be covering 135 times that distance.
To receive the coveted Badwater belt buckle finisher’s medal, runners must complete the course in under 48 hours.