Race Report Badwater Salton Sea May 6-7, 2013

Mention the name Badwater to any Ultramarathon runner and they pay attention. Say the word Badwater to someone who is not familiar with the word and you still get the attention. The word generates a certain amount of mystic and wonder. What is Badwater? Adventure Corps knows the power of a name and has turned the name Badwater into one of the most prestigious names in the Ultra-running world.

Badwater is a place in Death Valley, the lowest point in the continental United States. In the middle of summer Badwater is one of the hottest places on earth and also hosts the toughest foot race on the planet. The Badwater Ultramarathon. 135 miles nonstop race to the portal of Mt Whitney.

Now, Chris Kostman, race director for the Badwater Ultramarathon has created the sister race, Badwater Salton Sea. When I first heard that name I knew that this was not going to be any ordinary race. It was a BADWATER race. My adorable man, Bill Andrews sent me an email showing me he had been invited to Badwater Salton Sea and told me it was a 3-person team event. I immediately told him I wanted to be one of the three. He chose our friend Dr John Vigil to be the third person to run nonstop for 81 miles from the vast Salton Sea City in California to Palomar Mountain.

At first we were all so excited so we didn’t read the fine print and assumed it was a relay! Then after carefully looking over the website we discovered that the race is designed for 3 people to be a team running together for the entire 81 miles nonstop. No runner can stray more than 10 meters from his teammates! Now that’s a challenge!

We loaded up with our two crew members Brendan Brosnahan, experienced Badwater crew veteran and newcomer Alan Colon, who had no idea what he had signed for. We called ourselves Team FOMO (fear of missing out!)

We arrived at Borrego Springs resort and got a glimpse of the vast Salton Sea. Miles and miles of what looks like an ocean in the middle of the desert. Hey, why had none of us heard about this place?! What an amazing piece of history!

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Race check-in was a kick watching the heavy hitters gather. Famous Ray Sanchez and Speedster Jimmy Dean Freeman. There was awesome Marshall Ulrich and Jay Birmingham, superstars in the ultra-world.

The race was similar to running 3 different events in the same day. Flat desert running for miles. Switch to mountainous climbing on trails. Switch again to winding hills on road. This race has it all. Then of course throw in the weather elements. We had winds that smacked us full of sand. Dr Bill said we all were getting free microdermabrasion. Then we hit the freezing rainstorm, trudging through buckets of downpour.
I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. There were moments of tension and moments of hilarity. There were times when I wanted to kick my teammates and more moments when I wanted to embrace them and revel in our incredible journey. Having never raced as a team it was wild experience to dig deep for patience and problem solving while figuring out how to get to the finish line, not by yourself but pulling as a team together. Team FOMO came together and conquered the challenges. I was so proud to be part of that incredible group of five.

We’ll be back next year!

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