What’s Your Everest?

I think we all have our own version of Everest – that one seemingly insurmountable race or adventure we want to do one day…

It’s likely that you don’t go around broadcasting this lifetime goal.  Maybe you feel that it would be as crazy as saying “I want to go to the moon”.   Maybe you don’t feel qualified.  Maybe you are like me and are constantly worried about telling everyone and then failing to accomplish it.  Maybe you don’t have a timeline of when it is going to happen.  Maybe vocalizing it would finally make seem “real”.

But as I’ve learned from previous experiences, vocalizing these dreams is the first step that is necessary to make it become more than just a thought and finally become a reality.

I decided to share with you MY Everest.  It is all I’ve been reading, thinking, and dreaming about for the last week – not too hard to do since the 35th anniversary of the race was earlier this week.

My dream is to race the Badwater Ultramarathon (BW), aka The Challenge of Champions…aka The World’s Toughest Foot Race one day. 

What is the Badwater Ultramarathon?

  • 135 mile non-stop race from Death Valley to Mt Whitney, CA

    Source: www.badwater.com

Some details on the Badwater Ultramarathon:

  • The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 280 ft below sea level and finishes at the Mt. Whitney Portals at almost 8,300 ft
  • Course takes runners over THREE mountain RANGES
  • Total elevation gain = 13,000 ft; total elevation loss = 4,700 ft
  • Temperatures typically climb up to 130 F
  • Course Support is not provided (each runner must arrange for his/her own support crew/vehicle which will provide the runner with food, water, first aid, gear, etc)
  • Just getting into this race is tough – you need to be invited (typically ~90 runners) – see below for details on how to gain entry

    Source: www.badwater.com

Current Course Records

  • Women: 26 hrs, 16 min, 12 sec – set by Jamie Donaldson in 2010
  • Men: 22 hrs, 51 min, 29 sec – set by Valmir Nunes in 2007
  • Youngest Woman: Claire Heid – 23 – 2012 (SEE BELOW)
  • Youngest Man: Nickademus Holland – 19 – 2009

How do you gain entry? (Source: www.Badwater.com)

  • There are three qualifying standards:
    • You already successfully finished the Badwater Ultramarathon AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in the previous 12 months
    • You have officially finished at least THREE running races of at least 100 continuous miles in length, at least one of them in the previous 12 months.
    • You have officially finished – in 48 hours of less – the Brazil 135, as well as one running race of at least 100 continuous miles in length, AND have completed at least one significant ultra running event in previous 12 months
  • In addition to the qualifying standards, applicants should have extensive experience in ultra endurance sports, defined as at least five years participation in some, or all, of the following: Ultra Running, Ultra Triathlon, Expedition-Length Adventure Racing, or Ultra Cycling.

I’ve blogged about this race a few times already.  Realistically, I know I won’t have the time, resources, or money to attempt it for at least 10-15 years.  The amount of time necessary to train properly for even just the qualifying races (I would have to do 3 x 100 milers) would require more time away from my family then I am willing to commit right now.  I plan to continue running marathons and shorter ultras (probably up to 50m or 100km) for the next 10 years and then look to transition to the necessary 100m.

Tell me this video doesn’t make you want to run Badwater!!!


What is YOUR Everest?  What’s that one race that you want to do *one* day down the road?

Have you heard of Badwater?  What are your thoughts on this race?

Want to be a pacer / crew member for me in 15 years? =) 


*Note: I am super excited to feature Claire Heid, a 2012 Badwater Finisher AND the youngest female EVER to complete the Badwater Ultramarathon, next week!*


For more information on the Badwater Ultramarathon:

    Related posts:

    16 thoughts on “What’s Your Everest?

    1. Pingback: Can a Dream Be Too Big?

    2. Pingback: Meet the Youngest Badwater Female Finisher

    3. Wow. I have no doubt in my mind that you will do it. I’m here for you in 10-15 years. You know where to find me. I don’t know that I have an “Everest”. I have smaller goals, starting with NY in November. My nonathletic (sorta) goals are to be a personal trainer and make a business of my own in the health and fitness industry. (wow, did I just admit that online?)
      Jen Correa @ Mom’s Gotta Run recently posted..Fitness + Family + Fun = My WeekendMy Profile

    4. Pingback: This Week on the Web 7.21.12 | The Splattered Apron

    5. So when I first saw your post title, I though it was “What’s your Everett” which is my youngest’s name and I started thinking, “Wait, there’s an Everett in Michele’s life too?” LOL. Badwater sounds terrifying to me!! But I would love to be a crew member for you!! I have no doubt that one day you will do this.
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-UpMy Profile

    6. Count me in to crew/pace you in 10-15 years:) My Everest, which I haven’t really vocalized other than in my diary, is to run a qualify time (B standard) for the Olympic trials in the marathon. I’ll have to shave an hour and two minutes off my current marathon PR. And it might take me ten years, but there were a handful of 40 year olds who did it this year and and I want that to be me:)
      Sarah @ RunFarGirl recently posted..Guest Posting on Fit 2 FlexMy Profile

    7. Here’s the qualifier for Badwater–BadASS! And you are, so I know you can get it done. Very, very cool! (or hot?)

      An ultra is also my big Everest. I plan to start with a 50k next year and test the waters. From there, we’ll see where it takes me and what goal I want to set!

    8. I’ll be your pacer. While I would LOVE to do Badwater, I don’t think I mentally could ever do 100 mile races. It isn’t me. I find my Everest changes with each new accomplishment. For the longest time I thought an Ironman would be my Everest and now I am getting ready to register for it so after next year I will have to find a new Everest.
      Robin recently posted..How I Spent My Summer VacationMy Profile

    9. I love this post and the premise behind the question…because really, ANYTHING could be your everest. It comes in all shapes and sizes. And your everest, damn, is that a biggie 😉 I guess for me, my everest will always be running happy and not stressed or anxious. I am a work in progress but it is something I strive for! Not the biggest ‘everest’ in the world, but for me, it is. XOXO!

    10. I definitely have a personal “Everest” and I totally understand exactly what you mean. It’s hard to tell people about it. But you took the first step – you CAN do it!! :) I’ll be your crew person for sure, haha

    11. Badwater terrifies and excites me all at the same time but at this point I have no interest in participating now or in the future :) My Everest is more low key: I want to run a marathon in Ireland for my 40th birthday. I have 8 years to prepare!
      Jenny @ simply be me recently posted..The pregnancy waiting gameMy Profile

    12. Wow way to put it out there for Badwater! That is one race I don’t think I ever want to do, but I totally get the drive to do something a little insane. I’m working up to a 100 mile race, this fall doing my first 50. Eventually I want to run Western States. That is definitely my Everest.

      And if you need someone to help you stay on that white line on the side of the road in however many years I am totally in! :)
      Kristin @ Every Day Is Run Day recently posted..20in24 Midnight Madness RecapMy Profile