“The long-distance run of an early morning makes me think that every run like this is a life — a little life, I know — but a life as full of misery and happiness and things happening as you can ever get really around yourself,” wrote Alan Sillitoe in his classic story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Today 90 runners embarking on a 135-mile run through Death Valley — the Badwater Ultramarathon 135 — must agree. It’s sure to be like life — and in their case not a “little” life but a long, long one. It’ll also be happy and no doubt full of misery — temperatures are expected to reach 113 degrees in Death Valley.
The 90 racers will run, walk and sometimes limp the 135 miles from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, covering not just the audacious mileage but a 13,000-foot climb. Watch out for Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen. Another difference between Sillitoe’s take and Badwater is that this year, Badwater begins in the evening. Last year’s champion Harvey Lewis completed the course in 23:52:55.