AdventureCORPS presented its legendary BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon 2021, the 135-Mile World Championship. Now in its 44th year – with the 2020 race canceled last-minute due to the pandemic – this world-renowned event saw 84 of the world’s toughest athletes pit themselves against one another and the elements in a crucible like no other. From below sea level in scorching temperatures to altitudes as high as 8,360 feet (2548m), these endurance athletes took on the grueling 135-mile trek non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA starting July 19th. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race,” the invitational Badwater 135 is one of the the most demanding and extreme running races on the planet.
The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Darwin, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.
AdventureCORPS – on behalf of all competitors and support crews – also gratefully acknowledges that these lands have been lived upon for at least 1000 years by native peoples, including the Timbisha Shoshone and the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribes who live on the race course today. We honor and share their deep reverence for these lands.
BADWATER ULTRA CUP – A THREE EVENT SERIES
The Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in April, and now concludes with the Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the Badwater.com website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine.
2014 champion Harvey Lewis, 45, of Cincinnati, OH (who placed 2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2017, and 3rd in 2019) returned to take first place in 25:50:23. Second place was Igor Gotsuliak (UKR) in 26:35:08 and Sergey Ionov (RUS) was third in 26:49:06.
The women’s race was won by Sally McRae (USA) who finished in 30:48:47, seventh overall. Second was Norma Roberts (CAN) in 33:37:49 and third was Caryn Lubetsky (USA) in 34:56:11. 84 starters, 68 finishers.