For Impact


Badwater: Do Something Ultra

For Impact Ideas | | Nick Fellers

Do you know about the Badwater Ultra Marathon?

Considered to be the most difficult foot-race on the planet, it’s a 135-mile ultramarathon held each summer. It starts in Death Valley, crosses three mountain ranges, and finishes at the summit of Mt. Whitney – 8300′ above the start. Daily temperatures soar above 110F. It’s so hot that participants run along the painted lines on the road to keep their shoes from melting. Runners battle countless mental and physical obstacles — wildly swinging high’s and low’s — pushing beyond what we are told is possible. They do all this and must finish in under 60 hours.

Crazy? What’s your definition of crazy?

The first Badwater run was not a race. It was a challenge. Al Arnold covered the distance in 1977 (on his third attempt), primarily because people said it wasn’t possible. In 1987 it became a race. Now several hundred runners apply each year for limited spots. Of the 80 runners last year, 73 completed the course! Astonishing.

As I’m typing this, the first of the runners is crossing the finish line, 25 hours after he started. Also at this time, 69 year old Art Webb is only ten miles from the finish!


Each year I mark Badwater on my calendar. I’m a runner but I’m not aiming to run this one… just be inspired… just be in awe… just be reminded of what the human body and mind can do when it refuses to accept limits.

Note: A GREAT video on this here.