Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vegan Ultramarathoner Wins Badwater for Second Time in a Row

Leave a credit card on the dashboard of a rental car in Death Valley, and it will melt. A freshly opened can of icy-cold soda turns into a kind of caramelized soup within 11 minutes.

Starting in Badwater in Death Valley and streching 135 miles, the Badwater Ultramarathon is known as "the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet."

The race covers 135 miles, nonstop, from Badwater in Death Valley to the trailhead of Mount Whitney in the Sierras, the highest mountain in the Lower 48. The successful runners cross three mountain ranges with a combined, cumulative vertical ascent and descent of 17,400 feet, which is like a flight of stairs three miles high.

85 contestants from across the world show up in the 123 degree heat for the ultramarathon. "Ultra" because this race is five marathons back-to-back with another three miles tacked on to the end.

Some show up shirtless at the starting line. Others wear anti-radiation suits.
Some have their soles wrapped in duct tape as a second, disposable layer of skin since the heat of the road tends to cook the foot. A medium-rare steak is grilled to 135 degrees.

The winner? Vegan competior Scott Jurek, who also won the Badwater last year.
According to Scott's bio:
On his own journey towards optimal health, Scott began transitioning to a vegetarian whole foods diet in 1997, while competing in several ultra trail races per year. In 1999, he adopted a vegan diet out of further health and environmental concerns. Scott continues to fuel his body on a completely vegan diet while competing in 10-12 ultramarathons per year in addition to his rigorous training schedule. All seven of his consecutive wins at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run were performed on vegan fuel.

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