About the Race


Badwater is to ultrarunning what Boston is to marathons. With only 100 runners invited to participate each year, stringent qualifying standards, and essays required for the application, it’s a multi-year undertaking to get to the start line. But once you do, you’ll be facing up against one of the most beautifully brutal courses around. Starting in Death Valley and rising to halfway up Mount Whitney, there’s 135 miles and 13,000 feet of elevation to tackle, all in sizzling July heat. There’s a reason some call it the world’s toughest ultramarathon.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

- T.S. Eliot

Most runners start their journey to Death Valley in either Los Angeles (250 miles) or Las Vegas (140 miles). Since you’ll need a support car anyways – unless you’re one of the few crazy self-supported runners who attempt the course each year – might as well make it a road trip! You could spend a day exploring Death Valley alone. Then there’s Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Sequoia National Forest all nearby. Speaking of support cars, this is some that can easily make or break your race. If you’re lucky enough to get into Badwater, make it a top priority to find a good crew to join you. Not only will you have better aid on the course that way, but you’ll also create unique memories with your team that will last you a lifetime. On the flip side, if you are a runner that aspires to compete in Badwater, but you are not ready to commit, crewing another runner can be a great way to see what this epic race is all about.

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