Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Badwater Ultramarathon

I have always associated the marathon with an ultimate test of human physical and mental capabilities. Running 26 miles (42 km) without a stop, and running it fast! No wonder that the guy that did it first of all in ancient Greece collapsed and died after he ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to deliver the message about Greek victory.

No doubt marathon is very challenging and relatively few people dare to do it. But I have found out lately that it is clearly not challenging enough for certain folks. Many of the top devoted to the long-distance running athletes participate in the Badwater Ultramarathon.

The Badwater Ultramarathon is one of the most difficult running races in the world; covering 135 miles (217 km) and 13,000 feet (4,000 m) of elevation gain nonstop from the bottom of Death Valley over three mountain ranges up to the 8,500 mark on Mt. Whitney.

And even this is not a limit!
In 2005 Dean Karnazes ran 350 miles (563 km) straight, nonstop. It took him 80 hours and 44 minutes, eating on the run, no sleeping. His crew calculated that he ate something like 40,000 calories and drank nine gallons (34 liters) of liquid during these 80 hours.

In September 2006 Dean is about to run 50 marathons in each of 50 states in 50 consecutive days…

“The human body is an amazing machine; if we just can get beyond our perceived limitations, I think we can achieve more than we ever thought possible.” - Dean Karnazes

“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is being superior to your previous self.” - Tim Twietmeyer

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