weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Moon tests new prosthetic at Badwater

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — The AdventureCorps Badwater Ultra-marathon race is the hardest race on Earth when a runner has two legs. Chris Moon does it on one. He started running the race after he suffered a tragic accident where he lost his right arm and his right leg in Mozambique in 1995.

While in the military he learned to clear mines working with an anti-terrorist unit. In 1995 he was working for a charity founded by Princess Diana which cleared mine fields left behind after the war.

Moon has run Badwater five times. The first three times, from 1999 to 2001, he ran to the finish and back. He then took 10 years off to raise his children and came back in 2012.

This year he returned with new technology to test in the 120-degree heat and the 135-mile distance.

“When I came here originally, I came here to test new technology, too,” Moon explained. “We are back here to do the same because this is the world’s toughest foot race to test this stuff.”

Over the years he has been testing various prosthetics at the Badwater race. The hope is to improve the technology not only for himself, but so others can enjoy sports.

“Technology has changed a lot for me since I have done my first out and back,” Moon said. “I had such bad blisters on the stump that it got swollen and changed size the first time. It was not all bad, by the time I was coming back again, some of the old blisters were healing and I had a whole set of new ones.”

Moon said some of the changes for this time out include a gel liner for better shock absorption, better springs and joints that can adjust to the incline of the hill.

His high-tech leg is of the blade type. Blade legs were made famous by Olympic runner Oscar Pistorious from South Africa, and was the first double-legged amputee to medal in an able-bodied Olympics in 2012. He ran the 400-meter.

One of the hardest things blade runners do is running up hills.

“Running without an adjustable leg was unbelievably hard work,” Moon said.

The English blade runner says the new evolution of blades means runners will run up and down hills with less effort. He says runners can expect a drastic change in blades if they test out here in Badwater. His prosthetic device is made by Endolite.

Moon says his blades have an ankle function.

“Research shows 89-90 percent going uphill requires ankle function,” Moon said.

As he approaches a hill, he presses a button and the angle of the blade will be able to conform to the incline.

The new technology, he hopes, will mean less time and effort going up and down hills. The leg he used at Death Valley is a prototype.

“We hope to be several hours quicker,” exclaimed Moon. “We are here to test the switch and the heel spring as well. I hope this will enable normal function like climbing a ladder. You can run with your children and play football. This should be on the market in a few months if we can get the testing done.”

Moon attributes his military training for giving him the discipline to train. Running this race has given him some clarity on life.

“If we can find reasons for doing what we do, we can always get through it,” he said. “When you come to this place it is an incredible challenge in an astonishing place. I think for me this is a moment of not wanting to be beat by the badness of life.

“There is a point where you learn something about yourself and we learn something about the environment. Perhaps we learn that we are more than our bodies.”

For Moon, the hardest part of the race is finding time to train for it.

“With one side of the body out everything takes longer,” he said. “I have overcome it with a number of years but still, the time is an issue because everything does take longer. I have children and a lot of non-profit commitments, and I have my business to run. It’s balancing all of those things. I get up early and try to do what is only important. I think we do a lot of things in our life that is not important, like watch television and sit about.”

Although Moon did not finish quicker than last year, many runners said the heat took a toll on the racers this year. Moon finished 68th out of 96 runners with a time of 45:04:40.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Salvation Army hit by thieves

As Pahrump’s Salvation Army prepares to serve families in need during the holiday season, approximately $500 worth of new toys set aside for its annual Angel Tree program were recently stolen, along with Christmas decorations and items being stored for the Kiwanis Club and Pahrump’s Sleep In Heavenly Peace organization.

Pahrump community comes together for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for appreciation and for hundreds of Pahrump area residents and visitors, there was plenty to be grateful for this year at the Pahrump Holiday Task Force’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Pahrump Valley Academy virtual town hall set for Saturday

Throughout much of 2019 and into 2020, a group of local residents hoping to add a new educational option to the valley worked diligently toward establishing Pahrump Valley Academy, which would have been the valley’s very first public charter school, only to have the proposal nixed in early 2020.

Rotary Club encouraging students to read

The Pahrump Rotary Club has performed countless community service projects since its inception in 1987.

Bowling for Our Wounded Warriors – Fundraiser set for Dec. 5

Donning a U.S. armed forces uniform is something that comes with great risk and the men and women who step up to take on the challenge of protecting America through military service often come home with injuries, both the visible and the invisible kind.

Man calls 911 while speaking to deputies, report says

Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a man who allegedly called 911 for a complaint about loud music at a residence along South Chippewa Street last week but ended up getting arrested himself.

Development of Pahrump’s Kellogg Park tracking right along

Development of Pahrump’s newest park, Kellogg Park on the southern end of the valley, continues to move along steadily, with a variety of milestones reached in recent months and officials with the town of Pahrump and Nye County now setting their sights on the next steps of the development process.

PLAC to decide on Rough Hat recommendations; meeting Nov. 30 in Pahrump

Throughout its many years, the Pahrump Public Lands Advisory Committee hasn’t seen a whole lot of community involvement, with the group historically hosting its monthly meetings amid almost empty audiences.

Together With Veterans hosting SWOT assessment meeting in Pahrump

The men and women who have served in the United States military have given of themselves, made sacrifices on a daily basis and put the safety of others before themselves in order to protect America but when service comes to an end and they return to civilian life, the transition can be jarring.

Beatty Advisory Board deals with trails, racing, blue light

There will be no informal election to choose appointees to the Beatty Town Advisory Board. Randy Reed and Erika Gerling, whose terms expire at the end of the year, were the only people to submit letters of interest, so the Board voted, at their Nov. 22 meeting, to forward their names to the Board of County Commissioners for reappointment.