Saturday, January 30, 2010
If you thought running a 135 mile foot race through the mountains, rain and mud of Brazil was tough, imagine finishing the Brazil 135 Mile Ultra only to toe the line a week later for another 135 mile journey, the Arrowhead 135, where temperatures in the area in Minnesota where the race is run have been known to dip as far as 60F degrees below zero (last year at the start it was -5F). Arrowhead 135, the third 135-mile race in the Badwater World Cup, is a self-supported event - no outside help from anyone except other racers. There are no support crews of any kind to aid the runners in their quest to cover 135 miles within the 60-hour time limit in frigid temperatures. With no aid from outside sources, runners are required to carry certain "mandatory gear" (typically towed on a sled behind the runner) from the race start to the race finish, including :
-20F rated sleeping bag
Bivy sack or tent
Firestarter (matches or lighter)
Stove to heat water
8 fl. oz. of fuel at all times
Whistle on a string around the runners neck.
1 day of food at all times (3,000 calories)
15 pounds of gear at all times
Three of the Brazil 135 Mile Ultra finishers that I had the honor and privilege of getting to know better last week are doing the unimaginable, and on Monday they will begin another 135 mile journey across the frigid tundra of Minnesota - my amazing friend Jarom Thurston, Ray Sanchez, and Iso Yucra.
Ray Sanchez and Me at the Start of the Brazil 135
Iso Yucra (far right) With Connie Chavez (far left)
It is simply amazing to me that just a week after an epic 135-mile journey they will embark on yet another 135-mile run in challenging and extreme conditions, and I wish them and all of the other runners at Arrowhead 135 the very best of luck!