Thursday, April 30, 2009

Badwater Training and Charity Goals

As many of you already know, the recent withdrawal of some of the accepted entrants in the 2009 Badwater 135 Mile Ultramarathon opened the door for several "late entries", and I was lucky enough to get an invitation to fill one of the vacant spots. 
Globally recognized as the toughest race of its kind, the Badwater Ultramarathon is a pure athletic challenge of athlete, shoes, and support crew versus a brutal 135 mile stretch of highway, a hellish environment of up to 130 degrees, and a sixty hour time limit. From the start line in the bowels of Death Valley to the finish line high on Mt. Whitney, this one-of-a-kind foot race offers the promise of a supremely personal achievement along with international accolades for those who rise to the occasion.  A true "challenge of the champions," the Badwater Ultramarathon pits approximately up to ninety of the world’s toughest athletes – runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers – against one another and the elements. The time limit is 60 hours, but for those whose finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater belt buckle.
The Badwater Ultramarathon takes place from Monday, July 13 through Wednesday, July 15.  The plan over the course of the next 10 weeks is to provide readers with as much information about this event and the preparation required for it as possible - anything and everything from training, to putting a crew together, to logistics is on the table.  So, if you have an specific questions about the event or preparation, let me know and I'll post about it.

The best place to start is with the charitable aspects of Badwater, including my charity plans/goals.  The race has a substantial charitable component, and most of the entrants use it as an opportunity to raise money for a charity of their choice, or the first official charity of AdventureCORPS, The Challenged Athletes Foundation, which it has supported since 2002.   
Established in 1997, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a unique organization that recognizes the athletic greatness inherent in all people with physical challenges and supports their athletic endeavors by providing grants for training, competition and equipment needs. Grants are awarded for a wide range of physical challenges, across the entire spectrum of sport. CAF does not discriminate by age, disability, sport or level of ability. The hundreds of athletes assisted by CAF range from world class athletes competing on an international level to those who are recently disabled and are intent on becoming more active.  It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. The Challenged Athletes Foundation believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

CAF grew out of a desire to assist one athlete – trailblazing below-knee-amputee endurance racer Jim MacLaren – who suffered a devastating second accident while competing in a triathlon. Hit by a car during the bike leg, Jim was paralyzed from the neck down. His many friends quickly decided to raise funds for his recovery, and organized the first San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC) – an annual fundraising triathlon event at La Jolla Cove. From this modest beginning arose a more important mission – to make sure that people with physical challenges have the same freedom to enjoy sports that the rest of us take for granted.

Since 1994, CAF has raised more than $19 million – allowing the Foundation to satisfy thousands of funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries. Whether it’s a $2,000 handcycle, helping underwrite a running prosthetic or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar injury, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, competitive lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. At the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece 45 of the 235 participating U.S. athletes (almost 20 percent) were supported by CAF. More recently at the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games in Torino, Itlay, CAF supported 23 of the 56 (41 percent) participating U.S. athletes.
As part of my own 2009 Badwater experience, I have chosen to raise money in support of The Challenged Athletes Foundation, and encourage you to consider supporting this exceptional cause.  You can actually head over to MY PERSONAL CAF FUNDRAISING SITE and donate there.  Any donation, great or small, is equally appreciated.  My goal is to raise $7,500 in support of CAF.

On the training front, I am now starting to focus on getting ready for Badwater.  I don't feel as if I'm behind in my training by virtue of the late entry, except perhaps in the heat training area.  Getting ready for Rocky Raccoon 100 and Umstead 100 has kept me relatively fit.  Road running will be a key component of training up until Badwater, and I have two crewing/pacing trips lined up to help with that - first, this coming weekend May 3) I will pace my friend Kristen at the New Jersey Marathon, and second I will be at the Keys 100 (May 16 - 17) to pace and crew Lisa Smith-Batchen and Sister Mary Lloyd as Sister Mary Beth, dressed in her requisite nun’s habit and a pair of running shoes, runs from Key Largo to Key West in search of her first 100-mile finish.  "Called by some the “New Age Sister Theresa”, Sister Mary Beth in June 2008 received the “Servitor Pacis Award” from the Vatican’s Mission to the United Nations for her work with AIDS orphans", an award "given annually to the one person in the world who most exemplifies the work of those who have dedicated their lives to helping the neediest among us."  I should get plenty of good, heat-filled, pacing miles in with Lisa and Sister Mary Beth.

More on training and general preparations for Badwater will follow, but for now, head on over to The Challenged Athletes Foundation and DONATE TODAY to help a challenged athlete in need !


  1. Wow! That's a lot of very inspirational running that you are going to be doing. I am really looking forward to hearing all about the Keys 100 run and Sister Mary Beth.

  2. Oh, I forgot to mention that I'll be pacing Bob at Javalina in October, so hopefully I'll get to meet you then.

  3. JJ100 Pacing...that's cool Chad. I will certainly see you there.

  4. Best of luck. This is indeed one that would melt me.

  5. Holy crap! That's incedible you're doing Badwater. Awesome...

  6. Well, if you need some heat training, it's already in the 90s here....

  7. Anthony,

    Congratulations on your acceptance to Badwater!

    I know after your strong performance at Rocky and Umstead you will do great at Badwater. You have the motivation, athletic skills and perserverance to completely rock Badwater. Now I will keep my fingers crossed that NY/NJ/CT get lots of heat waves between now and July to help in your heat training:-)


  8. Florida should provide plenty of heat training, albeit humid. Say my best to those two exceptional ladies.

  9. Tony,
    First off...CONGRATS on getting in! That's just amazing! I wish you all the luck in the world! You've done some amazing things this year already and it's only the first part of May! Way to go, buddy, and if there's anything I can do for you....let me know! Peace!

  10. This is an excellent cause, one that has a very strong presence here in San Diego. In fact, I'll be running with CAF athletes in November at a half marathon -- always inspirational. If I get to keep my job beyond the next few weeks, I'll be sure to donate, Tony.

  11. Where have you been all my life? What a great blog! ;)