Badwater and the 5 year plan

3 years ago I heard about this race. I can't remember how exactly but it's name seemed to stick. I'd google "Badwater" just to read the details again, to make sure this race still existed. I wanted to do this ever since I first laid eyes on it.

More details were to reveal themselves as I read into it. Reading the training tips, watching videos and of course, reading Dean's book. 2 years ago I did a charity bike ride through most of the course and can actually recognise parts of the videos. The bike ride was one of the most disappointingly easy things I have ever done in my life. cycle for 1 hour, wait an hour for the fat people to catch up and then cycle on. I spend most of the week stood about thinking about running this, in the summer. It was March then and only about 28 degrees. The temperature of the valley can exceed 50 in the summer which is when the race is held for that reason. 

 The Death Valley Bike Ride happened just after I realised that I was going to be a long distance runner and nothing else. I'd just run my first ultra and was planning more. I had just registered for the Marathon Des Sables (back in my naive running days where I thought that was a "must do" and a tough challenge and worth the money). The MDS was another race in a "5 year plan" I made to get myself to Badwater. Along the way were the MDS, GUCR, Spartathlon and some other desert races. I've since ditched the desert races and added more non-stop stuff like UTMB. 

Anyway, the details of this race if you are not already familiar are..


  • 135 miles
  • From the lowest point in continental USA to almost the highest
  • In the hottest place on Earth
  • In the summer
  • On a tar mac road
  • Which melts your shoes
  • 60 hour cut off
  • a special buckle for those who do it in 48
  • Finishes in a place that looks like paradise


The 5 year plan was supposed to take me to the finish of the hardest race in the world. In 2 years I will try to do that. However while getting to that point I've discovered that no matter how hard a race seems, someone will always think of something harder. I've found several of these. Might call for a 10 year plan...

5 years I'll be back here, and smiling less.