July 13-15, 2009 marked the 32nd anniversary of the Badwater ultra-marathon. Globally recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race” this “mara-ultra-long” (as we call it) features 90 of the most amazing athletes on this planet. The race starts in Badwater, Death Valley – the lowest elevation in North America at 280 feet below sea level. The race finishes at Mt. Whitney Portal at 8,360 feet. In total, 135 non-stop miles, 217km for all you metric people. The course covers three mountain ranges totaling 13,000 feet of vertical ascent, and 4,700 feet of cumulative descent. Oh, and one other detail; you only have 60 hours to finish, and only 48 hours if you want the legendary belt buckle. But wait, that’s not all…if you act today, you might even get temperatures up to 130F!
Yes, we actually know, and for purposes of this article will claim close relation to one of the runners who participated, and most importantly finished this mega-amazing, ultra-marathon!
What does it feel like to run 135 miles in 44 hours? These shoes of the day do! More important than the shoes, we want to pay special tribute to the person who was wearing them – congratulations to #17, Leigh!
We had an opportunity to interview her and ask a few questions about this amazing race:
What was your time? “44:17 for my finish – that is what earned my buckle.”
What kind shoes did you run with? “New Balance 479.”
Did they meet your expectations? “Yes they always do.”
Why did you choose these shoes over all of the other brands/styles out there? “I have been running in these trail shoes for over two years. I bought a pair right before I ran the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run. The expensive trail shoes that I had been buying would hurt my feet and about 40 miles and beyond and I would cry from the pain. As a last resort, I picked these shoes up at a sports chain-store and they were really inexpensive. They worked great. I felt like I was running in slippers. I have worn them ever since, even when I did my stage race in Morocco.”
You used all 4 pairs in this race, right? “I brought 4 pairs – one pair I could not get my feet into on the second day due to swelling. But I also had my pink crocs and I put those on two different occasions; I ran in them too.”
135 non-stop cheers for the New Balance 479 shoes, belt-buckle, a pair of crocs and other accouterments of the day! Congrats once again Leigh!