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Badwater Ultramarathon – Four Texas Starters, Four Finishers!

It’s a dry heat!

Not sure if that was much consolation as four Texans ran a white line for 135 hardtop miles…ya know…so you don’t melt the outsoles of your shoe, at the 35th anniversary edition of the Badwater Ultramarathon. (Check out the pre-adventure interviews.)

Four Texans started, four crossed the finish at Whitney Portal – Claude Hicks Jr., Doug Ratliff, David Coats, and Kim Budzik!

6:00AM wave start (Photo: Copyright and with permission of Chris Kostman /

Before reaching the desired finished line, athletes began the journey at 280 feet below sea level in Badwater, Death Valley. While attempting to manage skin bubbling temperatures that can reach up to 130F, you travel over three mountains ranges for a nice little 13,000 feet of gain (course profile). I imagine the mosquito count has to be pretty low in these temps, maybe one bonus!

This ain’t your local marathon…or over five of them in a row for that matter.

The 135 mile journey begins. (Photo: Copyright and with permission of Chris Kostman /

The Texas Stampede

At mile 17, Furnace Creek, all four of our runners arrived between a race time of 2:57 (Doug Ratliff) and 3:26 (Both David Coats and Kim Budzik). Claude Hicks Jr. was snuggled in-between with a 3:12. Barely a warm-up although the temperature likely had a different opinion.

Kim Budzik enjoying the early miles. (Photo: Copyright and with permission of Chris Kostman /

Claude Hicks Jr. keeping it easy and steady in the early going. (Photo: Copyright and with permission of Chris Kostman /

By mile 72, Panama Springs, our tribe has climbed a good 5000 feet and descended another 4000 feet. The race now begins to spread out. Doug Ratliff leads our group through this checkpoint in 17:07, followed by David Coats in 18:00, Kim Budzik in 19:37, and Claude Hicks Jr. in 21:07.

Doug Ratliff focusing his way through the wind, heat, and hills. Forward progress. (Photo: Copyright and with permission 0f Chris Kostman /

After running through the night, runners are well into their second full day of forward progress that included over 3000 feet of climbing and 1500 feet of descent before arriving at the Lone Pine checkpoint at mile 122. Claude continues a very steady rhythm and has moved to the front of our group with a time of 33:46. David Coats is next in 35:05, followed by Doug Ratliff in 36:05 and Kim Budzik in 38:00.

David Coats (#57) with coach, Tim Neckar (Photo: Copyright and with permission of Chris Kostman /

The final 13 mile push to the finish!

Going up…..nearly 5000 feet!

Claude kept the spiciest turnover to the finish and was our first Texas athlete to reach Whitney Portal in 37:53:20!

Doug ended up moving pass David in these closing miles and finished in 40:18:30 with David less than 30 minutes later, in 40:45:06!

Kim was our fourth Thoroughbred and crossed the finish line in 43:29:47!

Enjoy a few of Kim’s memories from the 43+ hour journey.

” “Be” and “Peace” were words I thought of often.

The stars were incredible and so “peaceful” – nothing like it.

My crew had great stories to share after being with me. However one of the most memorable was when I hit the top of Townes Pass at mile 59ish and I was not feeling well and had to rest for a few minutes. My husband decided he was starving and began eating tuna fish near my head as I was trying to rest. Needless to say, it motivated me to head on down the road! That is the polite version!”

I am guessing tuna fish may not make the Budzik’s grocery shopping list for a few months. 😉

For Texan starters – four finishers. Can you dig it!?!

Congratulations to our entire Texas tribe!

Complete Badwater results.

Special thanks to Chris Kostman and AdventureCorps for permission to use the photos above.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –


About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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