Six courageous Texans were part of the 97 athletes that earned an entry to participate in this year’s global ultra endurance event called Badwater 135. Shoe bubbling temps above 100F, exposure, natural beauty, miles of pavement pounding exploration, and soul-stirring stars dancing overhead are all part of the lure of this historic foot race. This year’s event included a new course based out of Lone Pine, California due to the national parks system banning all athletic events in Death Valley. Over 17,000 feet of gain and 12,700 feet of descent, made this year a new experience for the veterans as much as the first-timers.
One of the unique aspects of this event is the critical role the required runner’s crew has in this adventure. There are no supported aid stations. Each crew shadows their runner throughout the journey (in a vehicle) for up to 48 hours, providing food, fluids, emotional and physical support. Quite the experience for everyone involved.
Badwater first-timer, Steve Maliszewski, led the Tejas train and crossed the finish line in 35:49:58.
Our final finisher was Badwater veteran, Kim Budzik, who completed the scamper up to Mt. Whitney in 46:50:34.
Our youngest finisher was 25 year old, Jared Fetterolf.
Complete Results from our Texans
- Steve Maliszewski – 35:49:58
- Phil Nimmo – 36:23:41
- Jared Fetterolf – 39:39:27
- Parvaneh Moayedi – 46:06:10
- Kimberlie Budzik – 46:50:34
- David Coats – mile 91
Enjoy as our Badwater athletes graciously share some moments from their adventure.
My strongest memories were climbing up Cerro Gordo during the night. Thought the hill would never end. I was praying for a switchback. I kept asking my pacer Vikki how the hell can they make a climb without a switchback. The inclines were 17-20% and seemed to go forever. Reaching the top felt so good but I got cold and immediately had to get back down.
Towards the end of the race I looked down from Mt. Whitney on the portal road to take in the scenery. That was a strong reflection moment of just how far I had gone.
A funny moments probably didn’t even happen during Badwater and was the Saturday before. A Darth Valley mile was run.
While in Death Valley, we witnessed five runners doing a Darth Valley Mile: Timed 1 mile run on a stretch of desert, in full Star Wars costume, during the hottest part of the day: 118 degrees F!
Darth Vader tied Boba Fett for first with 6’37”, Princess Leia was first female in 7’33” and C3PO turned a very fast 7’46”. As far as Yoda goes, he may be wise but he is quite slow…10’55” with three water breaks. We heard that this activity is frowned upon by the National Parks service and any resemblance with any individuals you might know is purely coincidental.
- Determined in training needed to drink 40-60 oz of fluids per hour to maintain feeling good.
- Ate Subway sandwiches and fruit for most of the race
- Biggest craving – slushies (had two of them)
You can check out Steve’s complete Badwater 135 report on his blog.
A few memories…
The race itself was tough, very tough. Chris Kostman and the Badwater team certainly pulled off a notable and epic event in spite of the undesirable mandate to alter the course. This course was challenging from the start. Wasting no time starting the initial climb from the city of Lone Pine to a peak elevation over 10,000 above sea level, by mile 21.
While we sat in the ghost town [Cerro Gordo, mile 67] talking “smack” and “bad mouthing” ghosts with the other runners there, quite spontaneously the bladder in my Camelbak sprung a leak. Yes, just sitting on the table by itself, suddenly all the water leaked out and I had none left for the decent.
The decent from Darwin [~ mile 92 – 105] was the most peaceful and pleasant part of the run. Early morning, cool fresh air, feeling good and strong, with a very long steady downhill. Derick and Juli swapped out the pacing on this leg and we actually hit the 100 mile mark in roughly 25:45, not too bad considering all those steep climbs and the drastic crashes in the first day’s heat.
Derick [Finding Nimmo crew member] and I started out of town and up the Whitney Portal road towards the finish line. It was hot, there were no clouds and we were not supported for the first few miles, until the crew rejoined us. Once again, our water ran out and the heat took over. This was without a doubt the worst bonk of the race.
We met up with the crew and climbed together, holding hands and crossing the finish line in a little over 36 hours and 23 minutes.
- Phil was one of seven athletes that completed all three events of the first edition Badwater UltraCup (Cape Fear, Salton Sea, and Badwater 135)
- Crew: Juli Goldstein, Derick Gallegos, Brandi T Home, and Catra Corbett.
- Sponsors: Running Skirts, Ultra Gam Gaiters, Edwin Rivera, and Brett Wininger
Check out our Endurance Buzz Podcast Interview with Jared.
Single rose can be my garden and single friend my world. There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship and I can never have enough friends. I am fortunate and grateful to have finished Badwater 2014 with my best friends on my side. Thank you Melody, Daniel, Kevin and Steve for taking this journey with me, having the faith in me and keep pushing me to the finish.
My strongest uplifting memory during Badwater was when my young friend Courtney showed up after mile 110 with cheering signs! She drove five hours in desert to get there to cheer me on and watch me finish! Thank you Courtney for your surprise visit and lifting my spirit when I most needed, you played a big role on my strong finish. Thank you to all of my family, friends and sponsors: Texas Beef Council, SwiftWick Socks and Lululemon from across the 100s of miles for following my progress. Thank you to all of my friends from across the country that ran in my honor.
I trained hard, very hard for Badwater 2014 knowing that it would be a harder course and though hoping for better time. I never underestimated the tremendous hills, elevation and heat. I was hoping to have a sub 40 hour finish time. After running over 600 life time marathons and ultras I know the race doesn’t always go the way we expect. I am always ready and happy to just finish. We never know what life has planned for us and what is going to happen on race day.
At the start of the race I found myself excited as ever to be there to attempt another Badwater but with a splitting headache! Knowing that I had 23 miles up hill to nearly 10,000 feet, I took some medicine to ease my headache and started the race. The more I climbed the mountain, my head started pounding harder. I was breathing heavy which later on caused a pain in my chest as well. I knew that once I conquered the first hill, it will be much easier later and it was! I finally got to the summit turn around and was relived to be able to head back down this beast! I picked up my pace and every step felt better going down!
After almost 13 hours with a splitting headache and through 45 miles, I finally arrived back in Lone Pine.
Following my team’s advice, I decided to take a break at this point despite knowing it would put me behind schedule even farther. By the time I took 2:30 hours for eating, nap and cleaning up it was night time. I ran an easy 15 miles before conquering the second hill. On the way I was stopped a couple of times by race officials and reminded of the cut-off time. I kept telling myself, “Don’t be discouraged, they don’t know how tough you are.”
I headed up the Cerro Gordo road with Daniel as my pacer for the night while the rest of the crew headed back to the hotel to get some well earned sleep. Daniel and I pushed up the steep and never ending dirt road. Daniel was on top of my pace; carrying all the extra fluids and spare clothing in case it got cold. I was told the average time of the climb was five hours and some of the elite runners dropped before and after this monster. We reached the top in less than four hours, which gave me another boost.
We started running down the hill as difficult as it was since it was very slippery and there was a chance of falling and breaking something! On Cerro Gordo I was thinking about my climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro from 15,000 feet to nearly 20,000 in the middle of night. If I can do that, I can do this!
When we got to the check point at the bottom my crew was rested and fresh to take care of me during the 17 mile ascent to the Darwin turn around. We started feeling more heat now. My crew kept me hydrated and Kevin was there all the time to keep spraying me with cold water. I was reminded a couple of times by race officials that I was the sweeper. This actually helped me pick up speed as stubborn as I am and I would not stop or quit. I kept telling myself, if I get to Darwin turnaround without getting sick, the rest will be a piece of cake and it was!
It was time for me to soul search, pull it from my guts and put it in fast gear to make up time and I did. Daniel said as we were passing a few runners, they looked like zombies as the hills and desert had taken some souls!
Finally, the lights at end of tunnel as I headed up the mountain on 13 miles ascent to 8,600 feet. This was very familiar territory to me because last year I had so many difficulties on this hill especially the last five miles with severe stomach problems. I was in good shape for this one, still feeling strong and ready to take this beast down on his back. We kept a fast steady pace up the hill and passed a few more runners as they struggled to reach the finish line. It is a great feeling of self-satisfaction to get to finish of Badwater under cutoff time. My time wasn’t as I expected but it was a PR and a finish. This course was easier and harder than last year! Easier, since it didn’t get as hot, but harder because of the hills, elevation, one support car, only four crew, 45 miles with no pacer and 15 miles on dirt road with no support car!
Badwater is not only about self-preservation and discipline of mind and body but it is also about team work, friendship and crew! The example of what the crew puts up with and how far they are willing to go is a funny story during the race. One of the few real foods I like to have during Badwater is chicken strips. They are salty, high in calories and don’t upset my stomach. We had planned for crew members to get food during the race since there were a few times during the race the course allowed the crew to be in Lone Pine. It just happened every time I craved chicken strips it was Daniel’s turn to get it. Daniel is vegetarian and never had chicken strips in his life! He was running around like a chicken with its head cut off all over Lone Pine trying to find chicken strips! He didn’t think it was funny at the time, but every time I think about it, it makes me laugh.
I dedicate the Badwater 2014 finish to friends and crew members, especially crew Capitan Melody. She never lost sight of what is important, stayed focused on me and kept reading to me from Good Thought, Good Words and Good Deeds book. This was a book she put together for me with 100 positive phrases.
The journey of life continues to unfold.
“Life is a challenge and moving fast, if we don’t set goals and strive to achieve them then we are standing still while life passes by.”
I had a wonderful crew this year that included my incredible husband and daughter, Tim and Kassie Budzik, Cindy Koch and Cinder Wolff. I appreciate each person for their willingness to run with me, share some laughs, and to help me push through the difficult moments. My crew selflessly gave of themselves from start to finish. In fact, as I was beginning the final 13-mile ascent to the portal, my size 8 running shoes were too tight and painful, and Cindy gave me her size 11 shoes to finish the race! My 9-year old son, Chayton, also accompanied me a half mile on the portal road, and I am thankful the bears were not out on the road at that time!
Being a part of Badwater is not about the course; it’s about coming together again with people I have come to love, admire and respect along with making new lifelong friendships I am always impressed with the dedication and commitment of AdventureCorps, volunteers, and community of runners who come to support the athletes during this incredible encapsulated moment in time. It is about the integrity and honor of digging deep within my soul to overcome the many challenges that present themselves to me. It is also about watching other athletes deal with the same and knowing that they have truly traversed the entire route on foot to cross the finish line too. And, as always, the night sky was breathtaking and made me very grateful to be amongst my own family and my Badwater family.
- Fundraising for the Challenged Athletes foundation
Congratulations to our entire group of Texas runners and their crews! What an adventure and experience!
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 08 Aug 2014