THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST FOOT RACE CELEBRATES 39th ANNIVERSARY OF ICONIC ROUTE FROM DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TO MOUNT WHITNEY
Death Valley, CA: On July 18-20, AdventureCORPS presents its legendary STYR Labs BADWATER® 135. Now in its 39th 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 8,300 feet, runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers from 21 countries and 27 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.
A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2016 STYR Labs Badwater 135 features 51 Badwater veterans and 46 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 by citizenship or residence: Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America (with 27 different American states represented).
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.
There are 25 women and 72 men. The youngest male runner is 25 (rookie entrant Sam Weir of Australia) and the youngest female entrant is 29 (rookie entrant Kayla Delk of the USA). The oldest male is 69 (five-time finisher Mark K. Olson of California) and the oldest female is 60 (rookie entrant Pamela Chapman-Markle of Texas). The overall average age is 46. Full roster details are available here: http://dbase.
The men’s course record is held by Valmir Nunez of Brazil with a time of 22:51:29 set in 2007, while the women’s course record of 26:16:12 was set in 2010 by Jamie Donaldson of Littleton, CO. It is expected that the winners of the 2016 STYR Labs 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 2016 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran contenders include 2015 men’s champion Pete Kostelnick of Nebraska, 2014 champion Harvey Lewis of Ohio, 2013 men’s champion Carlos Sa of Portugal, 2011 men’s champion Oswaldo Lopez of Madera, CA (Mexico citizenship), two-time men’s runner-up Grant Maughan of Australia, and other notable contenders such as Marathon des Sables champion Mohamad Ahansal of Morocco, Grand Union Canal champion Dan Lawson of the UK, 2016 Badwater Cape Fear and 2016 Badwater Salton Sea champion Jared Fetterolf of Texas, among others. Also competing is Marshall Ulrich, 65, of Evergreen, CO, a twenty-time Badwater 135 finisher and four-time winner in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996, along with David Jones, 64, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, seven-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder. For a full preview of the top men’s field, click http://www.zwittyultra.
The women’s field, with 25 entrants, includes 12 rookies and 13 veterans. Notable contenders include the 2015 women’s champion, Nikki Wynd of Australia, 2014 women’s champion, Alyson Venti of Barbados, Badwater 135 veteran Brenda Guajardo who is a three-time winner of the Nove Colli ultramarathon in Italy, 2016 Brazil 135+ women’s champion Sada Crawford of Cayman Islands, and others. For a full preview of the top women’s field, click http://www.zwittyultra.
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.
The STYR Labs 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 May, and now concludes with the STYR Labs 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 remarkable athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed the 2015 BadwaterUltra Cup, while seventeen racers completed the first two Badwater races this year and will toe the line at the third and final Badwater race on July 18.
Now in its seventeenth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome our title sponsor, STYR Labs – an innovative nutrition customization and tracking platform delivering cutting-edge supplements to connected athletes and health and fitness consumers worldwide. The advanced ecosystem includes an activity tracker, wireless scale, and free app that collects health and fitness data to create personalized multivitamins or protein blends specific to the user’s health and fitness goals and needs. Sergio Radovcic, founder of STYR Labs, is no stranger to this race with three consecutiveBadwater 135 finishes. More info at www.styr.com
AdventureCORPS also greatly appreciates the support of Farm to Feet Socks, Fisher Space Pen, Caring House Project Foundation, ZZYXXZ, and ZombieRunner.com, plus the local support of Furnace Creek Ranch, 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-
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: www.badwater.com/about-
This year, over 50 of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice. Some of those include 100 Mile Club, Break the Stigma Project, Caring House Project Foundation, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Association, Homes for our Troops, Hope So Bright, The Herren Project, and others.
This year’s race celebrates the 39th anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer and human potential guru, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement. For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:
1977 Al Arnold: http://www.badwater.
PRESS CREDENTIALS, IMAGE GALLERY, and PERMITS
Download the 5-Page Press Kit and Media Credential Application here:
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/
The Badwater 135 is held under permits from Death Valley National Park, California Department of Transportation, Inyo National Forest, and Inyo County. Media attending the event may be required to obtain permits from some of those same agencies.
FOLLOWING THE STYR LABS BADWATER 135 ONLINE
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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, BADWATER® Cape Fear, and Silver State 508™, 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: www.adventurecorps.com
Badwater® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS, Inc.