Are You Tough Enough For Badwater?


(image courtesy rpmbold)

The Northeast USA today “issued” an “excessive heat warning”. That can only mean one thing… everyone is complaining about how hot it is outside. Some people thrive on the heat and enjoy running in it. They might want to start prepping now for the ultimate race goal: Badwater.

What’s a Badwater, you ask? It is a short 135 mile race through Death Valley. Think of it as a nice afternoon stroll… if your idea of a nice afternoon stroll is taking a walk in or around your oven! It is an easy course. As you can see from the elevation chart at the top of this post, at least it is only the LAST 13 miles that are all straight uphill… a special treat for those runner feeling fresh after the first 122 miles.

The 2012 race kicked off this morning, and the superhuman athletes competing have 48 hours to complete the course. Interested in being part of the 2013 race next summer? There are (shockingly!) quite a few prerequisites:

Those submitting an application to compete in the 2012 Badwater Ultramarathon must meet at least ONE or more of the following THREE Qualifying Standards. Please review these Qualifying Standards to determine which standard(s) describes you, if any. You will be required to select at least one of these when you submit your race application. Those who do not meet at least one of these standards MAY NOT apply.

Let us be more clear on that last point:

To protect the integrity of the event and the safety of those involved, as well as be fair and consistent in the enforcement of all rules and regulations, we don’t make exceptions for anybody. If you do not meet one of the Minimum Qualifying Standards, DO NOT APPLY and do not ask us for permission to apply. For further information on the mandatory qualifying standards, please review this page.

Here are the THREE Qualifying Standards, at least ONE of which must be met prior to applying:

You have officially finished the Badwater Ultramarathon (the actual race held since 1987; “solo” efforts will not be considered, except those made prior to 1990) AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in the previous 12 months (other than Badwater), i.e. between 2/1/2011 and 2/1/2012.
You have officially finished at least THREE running races of at least 100 continuous miles in length, at least one of them in the prevous 12 months. (Those applying from countries in which races of 100 miles in length are not common may submit an alternate race of considerable distance and difficulty from the previous 12 months, however the overall requirement of three races of at least 100 continuous miles in length remains in effect for all applicants.)
You have officially finished – in 48 hours or less – the Brazil 135, as well as one running race of at least 100 continuous miles (not kilometers as in the past) in length, AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in the previous 12 months, i.e. between 2/1/2011 and 2/1/2012.
In addition to meeting at least one of the three qualifying standards listed above, the ideal applicant will have extensive experience in ultra endurance sports, defined as at least five years participation in some, or all, of the following:

Ultra Running: In particular, completing the Grand Slam or multiple week-long desert stage races in the same calendar year.
Ultra Triathlon: Double Iron, Triple Iron, Ultraman, (or longer).
Expedition-Length Adventure Racing: Eco-Challenge, Raid Gauloises, Primal Quest, or similar.
Ultra Cycling: Furnace Creek 508 or comparable ultracycling races at least 500 miles in length.

Ok, I am exhausted just thinking about those requirements! It is not surprising they only want people who are truly in shape to handle it.  After all, it is an… uhm… unusual race that includes more dangers than the average event. I am not familiar with the desert races, ultra triathlons or ultra cycling events, but I do know what a Grand Slam is: you simply finish the Western States 100, Leadville Trail 100, Vermont 100 and the Wasatch Front 100 all in the same year. Just three little 100 mile races and you have hit your 100-mile race requirement for Badwater!

The Badwater Ultramarathon started on July 16, 2012, and you can check out the official websitefor all of the updates, and to see the amazing feats of human endurance and determination. And if you want to learn more, pick up

A Few Degrees from Hell: The 2003 Badwater Ultramarathon to hear more stories from runners who completed (and failed to complete) the race!

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Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

2 Comments on "Are You Tough Enough For Badwater?"

  1. Good grief, what sick, twisted, & demented mind would devise let along participate in this so-called race?

  2. Because it’s there. 🙂

    Also, it was originally the lowest point in the contiguous US to the highest, but now it’s slightly shorter due to permit issues:

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