The Baddest of Badwater and Mogollon Monster 100 Winner

If you’re an ultra nerd like me, you’ve been glued to the Badwater updates and Twitter page for the last few days tracking some badass, super-human runners through an epic race.

In a sport that normal people call crazy, these are the people WE call crazy. We watch and admire them as they surpass all our expectations and blow us away with their bravery and perseverance.

But just when you thought Badwater was over, here is another epic adventure that begins in three short days. In an email from Marshall Ulrich’s team:

Because Marshall Ulrich has crossed Death Valley on foot more times than anyone else, was the first to do it unaided and unassisted — also the first to go four times in a row — and has won this ultramarathon more times than anyone else (four), the veterans crowned him “The King of Badwater.”

Now, “the king” is expanding his realm: on July 21, just three days after he’s set to finish this year’s Badwater Ultramarathon, he’ll head out to conquer the first-ever circumnavigation of the entire Death Valley National Park, nearly 500 miles through some of the most extreme conditions in the world.

Here is a video preview:

Direct YouTube Link HERE

Here is the press release:

First Time Ever: This July, Two Men Attempt Circumnavigation of Death Valley National Park on Foot

Marshall Ulrich (61) and Dave Heckman (38) will set out to do what no one else has done before: complete a circumnavigation of Death Valley National Park on foot, trodding close to 500 miles through tough terrain and climbing over several mountain ranges up to 5,000 feet.

In July, temperatures in Death Valley can exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the second hottest place on earth, so most people aren’t familiar with its alien landscape or the strange creatures making their homes there. Never mind the realities of the harsh conditions Ulrich and Heckman will face, including the scorching temps with the threat of dehydration and heat stroke, along with rattlesnakes, scorpions, coyotes, and unforgiving terrain.

Most people assume the area got its name because nothing can survive out there, and it’s true: Death Valley can be a dangerous place.

Yet it boasts a history of boom and bust mining towns and small communities since the 1800s. In fact, people have been in Death Valley even much longer than that.

More than a thousand years before the first white man lumbered into the desert, the Timbisha Shoshone made their homes there. Descendents of that ancient tribe still live in the heart of the desert, keeping their customs and traditions alive.

As Ulrich and Heckman make their way around the exterior of the park, they will carry 3-D cameras to capture on film what they love most about this area: starkly beautiful sand dunes, jagged rock formations, eery and expansive salt flats, carved slot canyons, isolated oases, and massive Joshua tree forests.

This one-of-a-kind footage, along with additional cinematography, will document their progress and, they are hopeful, their completion of this adventure by the end of August.

Beyond their goal of achieving a first together, both men wish to draw attention to this unique National Park, to honor its past and raise important questions about its future.

Ulrich is a Colorado native, an extreme endurance athlete (ultrarunner-mountaineer-adventure racer), author (“Running on Empty,” 2011), speaker, trainer and guide. Heckman is an endurance runner and cycler, avid camper, and firefighter/medic in Northern California.

Best of luck to both men!

MONGOLLON MONSTER WINNER

Big congrats to JUSHUA BRYANT who was randomly chosen to win a free entry to the inaugural Mongollon Monster 100 this fall! Joshua, send me an email at vanessaruns@gmail.com so I can get you hooked up with your entry.

To all who didn’t win, strongly consider registering for this amazing race. Shacky and I hope to see you there! You can register here and visit the race website here.