Thursday, July 7, 2011

Space Mountain Meets The Great Movie Ride Meets The Backlot Tour

Sometimes I liken the Badwater Ultramarathon to an amusement park ride, perhaps a mix between the twists/turns/highs/lows of a Space Mountain, the constant changing terrain and scenery of the past like The Great Movie Ride (taking guests through scenes from famous films throughout history), and a look into the inner workings of what it takes to not only cover 135 miles in extreme conditions, but also to organize it (sort of like the Studio Backlot Tour that takes you through sets and props from famous movies into a working movie studio).  The event truly is a mixture of so many different things.  Well, the ride is finally upon us, so grab your Fast Pass tickets, get on line, secure that lap bar/belt, and hold on to your hats!

From a preparation standpoint, things feel pretty darn good.  As usual, I'm still scared to death by this race for a variety of reasons.  We have assembled a great crew, which includes my good friend Eric Gelber (his second go at being my crew chief), Jason Overbaugh, and Chuck Mathison.  Eric is quietly becoming a seasoned ultra-runner, having finished 4 100-milers, including a nearly 3 hour personal best finish at Umstead in April (20:18:38).  Jason broke into the 100-mile realm with a stellar 2nd place finish at GRR100 (21:41:47) in March, and quickly followed that up with a strong finish at Umstead a month later (18:29:05) and in the Keys 100 5 weeks after that (27:17:42) - that's 3 100s in 3 months!  Chuck, filling in for the injured David Wronski who is still on our team in spirit, also fared well in his first 100-miler (22:59:12; Umstead).

On the fundraising front, we did really well in the last few weeks, pulling in over $30,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.  We can't thank everyone enough for their generosity and support of CAF (and you can still donate right HERE)!

There are ways to track us before, during and after the race.  We have set up a SPOT GPS Shared Page (http://tinyurl.com/3pdkgqa) for real-time tracking.  For now, there are not GPS locations to plot, but we will start it up on Friday when we arrive, and keep it on during the daytime until the race begins, and then straight through our finish.  It should update with a location every 10 minutes.  You may have to zoom in/out of the map as necessary.

Also, make sure to check out the Badwater Race Webcast for live updates, including my personal race update page.

Finally, many thanks to Joel Ballezza of Brooks for a great post on me and the race on the Brooks Blog, to the entire Badwater race staff and volunteers for giving us the opportunity to participate in this event, and to my family and friends for the amazing support!!

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