Death Valley: The ‘Baddest’ Sports Venue in the USA


Dunes in Death Valley National Park

I’m on spring vacation with my wife and children in, naturally, Death Valley.

dead sea

Lounging in the Dead Sea

While other folks seek their spring sun and sand dunes by the oceans, I have taken my family out to the hottest, driest, lowest area of the United States:  Badwater Basin is fully 282 ft (86m) below sea level.  The only place on this planet I’ve been ‘lower’ is the Dead Sea in Israel.

Hey, the Dead Sea:  combines desert and water.  That could be Spring Break Destination 2016!

In truth, I’ve been intrigued by such places my whole life.  The fascination may resemble that which grips some members of the sporting community:  those desirous of  scheduling endurance events in some of the more inhospitable places on the planet.

There is the Hotter ‘N Hell 100, which takes place Aug 29 2015 in Wichita Falls, Texas–not a place one normally goes at that time of year, and certainly not a place one normally goes to bike a century:  the average daily high is 96.6 F (35.9 C)!

And, of course, there is the famous Badwater 135, which takes place in Death Valley itself.  After a one year hiatus, it returns this year and will be run July 28 – 30.  A 135 ultramarathon run at the hottest time of the year in Death Valley!  No wonder the event bills itself as “the world’s toughest foot race.”  (there’s competition for that moniker; the Marathon des Sables, held in the Sahara desert, would quibble over this issue I’m sure)

There is some great sports medicine research that comes out of these very human attempts to push the limits. Read more of this post

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