What's Your Everest? Conquer It!

Contributed by Michele Gonzalez,  wife, mother, ultrarunner, and FitFluential Ambassador. A former Captain in the US Army, she is now a stay at home mom who is currently training for a sub 3:10 marathon and her first Ironman (NYC – Aug 2012). Her blog, NYCrunningmama, focuses on her training and races, as well as pregnancy and motherhood. To learn more about Michele, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or blog. 
I think we all have our own version of Everest – that one seemingly insurmountable race or adventure we want to do one day…
It’s likely that you don’t go around broadcasting this lifetime goal.  Maybe you feel that it would be as crazy as saying “I want to go to the moon”.   Maybe you don’t feel qualified.  Maybe you are like me and are constantly worried about telling everyone and then failing to accomplish it.  Maybe you don’t have a timeline of when it is going to happen.  Maybe vocalizing it would finally make seem “real”.
But as I’ve learned from previous experiences, vocalizing these dreams is the first step that is necessary to make it become more than just a thought and finally become a reality.
I decided to share with you MY Everest.  It is all I’ve been reading, thinking, and dreaming about for the last week – not too hard to do since the 35th anniversary of the race was earlier this week.
My dream is to race the Badwater Ultramarathon (BW), aka The Challenge of Champions…aka The World’s Toughest Foot Race one day. 
What is the Badwater Ultramarathon?
  • 135 mile non-stop race from Death Valley to Mt Whitney, CA

    Source: www.badwater.com
Some details on the Badwater Ultramarathon:
  • The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 280 ft below sea level and finishes at the Mt. Whitney Portals at almost 8,300 ft
  • Course takes runners over THREE mountain RANGES
  • Total elevation gain = 13,000 ft; total elevation loss = 4,700 ft
  • Temperatures typically climb up to 130 F
  • Course Support is not provided (each runner must arrange for his/her own support crew/vehicle which will provide the runner with food, water, first aid, gear, etc)
  • Just getting into this race is tough – you need to be invited (typically ~90 runners) – see below for details on how to gain entry

    Source: www.badwater.com
Current Course Records
  • Women: 26 hrs, 16 min, 12 sec – set by Jamie Donaldson in 2010
  • Men: 22 hrs, 51 min, 29 sec – set by Valmir Nunes in 2007
  • Youngest Woman: Claire Heid – 23 – 2012 (SEE BELOW)
  • Youngest Man: Nickademus Holland – 19 – 2009
How do you gain entry? (Source: www.Badwater.com)
  • There are three qualifying standards:
    • You already successfully finished the Badwater Ultramarathon AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in the previous 12 months
    • You have officially finished at least THREE running races of at least 100 continuous miles in length, at least one of them in the previous 12 months.
    • You have officially finished – in 48 hours of less – the Brazil 135, as well as one running race of at least 100 continuous miles in length, AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in previous 12 months
  • In addition to the qualifying standards, applicants should have extensive experience in ultra endurance sports, defined as at least five years participation in some, or all, of the following: Ultra Running, Ultra Triathlon, Expedition-Length Adventure Racing, or Ultra Cycling.
I’ve blogged about this race a few times already.  Realistically, I know I won’t have the time, resources, or money to attempt it for at least 10-15 years.  The amount of time necessary to train properly for even just the qualifying races (I would have to do 3 x 100 milers) would require more time away from my family then I am willing to commit right now.  I plan to continue running marathons and shorter ultras (probably up to 50m or 100km) for the next 10 years and then look to transition to the necessary 100m.
Tell me this video doesn’t make you want to run Badwater!!!

What is YOUR Everest?  What’s that one race that you want to do *one* day down the road?
Have you heard of Badwater?  What are your thoughts on this race?
Want to be a pacer / crew member for me in 15 years? =) 
*Note: I am super excited to feature Claire Heid, a 2012 Badwater Finisher AND the youngest female EVER to complete the Badwater Ultramarathon, next week!*
For more information on the Badwater Ultramarathon:
  • Badwater Ultramarathon (official website)
  • Inside Badwater – UltraChicksUnite.com
  • 2004 Badwater – 60 Minutes Feature

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