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Badwater race retains name, but changes course

Nothing has changed with the Badwater 135 race situation since the National Park Service decided to pull the plug on the race in the park in December of 2013. The race will still not be in Death Valley this year.

At the time, the National Park said they would place a temporary moratorium on issuing special use permits for sporting events within Death Valley while a safety assessment is conducted on these types of events.

Death Valley says the safety assessment should conclude sometime in October of 2014.

They issued this statement in this regard: … outcomes of the safety assessment and recommendations are required before final sporting event applications can be processed. Based on the projected date for completion of the safety assessment (Summer 2014), applications can be submitted for events that are scheduled from October 1, 2014 and beyond. The park will begin processing those applications when the safety review is completed. Findings from the risk assessment may require new conditions that will be required of all event coordinators to meet permit requirements and/or that some events may not be allowed in certain areas or permitted in the future if safety risks cannot be mitigated to an acceptable level.

This could mean that Badwater will need a new home and maybe a change in the name, but for now the race will continue with a new course. The race will continue with the same name, but the location has moved west of Death Valley National Park.

Chris Kostman, the director of AdventureCORPs, bills the race as “the new and improved 2014 edition of the Badwater 135, the world’s toughest foot race.” The race will be on July 21 and 22 with close to 100 racers.

The new course will criss-cross Owens Valley and has some challenging new elevations, but will be without the 120 degree heat of Death Valley, which drew a steady crop of individuals to the park for the past 27 years.

According to Kostman the race covers 135 miles non-stop from Lone Pine, Calif. to the summit of Horseshoe Meadow (elev. 10,000 feet / 3048m), then across the Owens Valley to a 5,500 foot dirt road ascent to the ghost town of Cerro Gordo, followed by a trek to the entrance to Darwin, and then a final dramatic ascent to the highest paved point on Mt. Whitney, Calif. The start line is at Lone Pine, Calif., and the race finishes at Mt. Whitney Portal at 8,360 feet (2530m).

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