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Badwater 135 ultramarathon kicks off in Death Valley on Monday night


We've heard of half marathons, marathons, even ultra marathons, but starting Monday, we will see runners taking part in what’s known as the world’s toughest foot race — a 135-mile ultra marathon.

In the Badwater 135 World Championship race, runners will have 48 hours to complete the 135-mile race starting at the nation’s lowest point, Badwater Basin in Death Valley, cross three mountain ranges and finish at Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous 48 states.

Monday's high temperature at Death Valley was expected to reach 120 degrees, and 122 on Tuesday.

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Chris Kostman, founder of Badwater, said this race is known as the pinnacle experience for runners. He said the incredible effort by the 95 endurance athletes from 23 nations also sends a powerful and inspiring message to everyone.

"I think it’s a message to all humanity that we can all do a lot more than what we think. I really want the message to be that this is an amazing triumph of the human spirit. And hopefully that encourages people to do more in their lives," he said.

The race begins Monday night. While they’re allotted 48 hours to complete the 135 miles, the top runners usually make it in just over 24 hours.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.