One Wish

This is a wish that could be attained in 2-3 years. I wish that the BDM 102 and 160 will be included as a “Qualifying” Race for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race and Badwater Ultramarathon.

Let me know about your thoughts on this wish.

(Note: If you don’t know these running events or what I am talking about, then you are not yet an ultramarathoner/ultrarunner)

2009 Badwater Ultramarathon

Before participating the 2008 San Francisco Marathon, I purposely went to the United States ahead of time in order to witness the start of the 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon and finally meet in person Dean Karnazes and Pam Reed after reading their respective books about their experiences at the Badwater Ultramarathon.

On this very moment, the 32nd Edition of the race had just started. The popular elite ultrarunners had just passed Furnace Creek after starting the race at 10:00 AM (PST). To review my post last year, please click here

For those who are interested to know the progress of the race, please click their Live Webcast here. You can follow the progress of the race through Facebook and Twitter.

Anf finally, for those who are planning to join the 2nd BDM 102 this coming March 6-7, 2010, please read the rules and regulation of the Badwater Ultramarathon as this will be the basis of the New BDM 102 Rules & Regulations which will be strictly applied in 2010.

I am predicting Jorge Pacheco and Jaime Donaldson to win and defend their titles as Champions in the Mens & Ladies’ Overall Categories with better finish times.

Jaime Donaldson & Jorge Pacheco At The Start of 2009 BW (Photo Courtesy of
Jaime Donaldson & Jorge Pacheco At The Start of 2009 BW (Photo Courtesy of

Pictures @ Badwater Ultramarathon

 The following pictures were taken during Day 1 of the Badwater Ultramarathon.

This is the Support Vehicle of Pam Reed where at least 5 big Coleman Ice Chests are intact inside where ice cold provisions are properly organized depending on what segments along the route they are being used. Each participant is allowed one Support Vehicle and one Crew Vehicle with proper and visible markings on the back and sides.

David Goggins (DNF) talking to Lisa Renee Smith-Batchen (Bib #7) from Tucson, Arizona who finished # 67 overall with a time of 47:17:30 hours.

Pam Reed finished #5 overall with a time of 27:42:52 hours.

Jamie Donaldson is the cute lady with a white cap infront David Goggins. She won the ladies category in 26:51:33 hours breaking the women’s record time which was established by Pam Reed in 2002 by 1 hour & 5 minutes. She finished 3rd overall beating Dean Karnazes by almost 20 minutes who placed 4th overall. Read her Badwater recap story in her blog. 

Akos Konya (#2) finished in 2nd place with a time of 23:49:44 hours. Jorge Pacheco, behind Konya in the picture, finished as the Champion with a time of 23:20:16 hours where he improved by almost two hours from his 4th place finish last year. David Goggins (behind Pacheco) declared himself as DNF upon reaching Panamint Springs (Mile Point #72). Dean Karnazes finished 4th overall with a time of 27:11:00 hours improving his time and standing from last year’s event by 4 hours & 20 minutes and from 10th last year to 4th place overall.

Eight (8) lady participants finished on the top 14 overall finishers in the Badwater Ultramarathon.

For more results, pictures and stories, please log on to

Brief Chat With Pam Reed

Ten minutes before the start of the 10AM Group in the Badwater Ultramarathon, I followed Pam Reed to her support vehicle and called her attention and she faced me immediately after she heard her name. The following were the details of our brief conversation:

Bald Runner (BR): Hi, Pam! I am a runner fan of yours from the Philippines who just arrived in the States last Saturday to witness the start of the Badwater Ultramarathon. My wife accompanied me here to Badwater (introducing my wife to her)

Pam Reed (PR): From the Philippnes? Wow, that’s great!

BR: I read your book and it is a very inspiring one. I am advertising it by posting a review in my blog, bald

PR: Ha..ha..ha! Thanks! Did you bring your book? I can sign it now before the start of the race!

BR: Unfortunately, no. I prefer to have a picture with you as the ultramarathon woman! Can I have a picture with you?

PR: Sure!

My wife took the picture.

BR: Thank you very much, Pam & Good luck!

PR: You are welcome & Thanks

Pam Reed proceeded to her support vehicle to drink more fluids before going to the starting line.

While Pam Reed was running towards Furnace Creek, I parked the car on the side of the road and took some pictures of her. However, when she saw me from a distance infront of her, she shouted to her crew (who was about to give a water jug to her) and while pointing her finger to me and said, “The guy who is taking a picture is from the Philippines!”

After taking a picture of Pam Reed and after passing on my position, the lady crew approached me and we had a brief chat.

Crew: Are you from the Philippines?

Bald Runner: Yes, I am a runner and I came here to meet Pam Reed and watch the start of the Badwater.

Crew: Pam and I just visited Malaysia!

Bald Runner: That’s good! I hope you can visit the Philippines, too!

Crew: We will!

The following is the picture I’ve taken while Pam Reed was on her way to Furnace Creek:


The lady crew of Pam Reed was giving a water jug to her while telling that I am from the Philippines.

Brief Chat With Karno

After the pictures of the 10AM Group had been taken and the final instructions had been delivered by the Chief, Race Organizer, some of the runners and crews and even the members of the race organizer had their pictures taken with Dean Karnazes. I finally approached Dean when he finished taking some pictures with the race organizers and my brief chat went like this:

Bald Runner: Hi, Dean! I am a runner from the Philippines and they call me as The Bald Runner in my country.

Dean Karnazes: Hey, you are not bald! You still have a lot of hair sticking out on your head. (Loooking at my head with his smiling face)

BR: I read your book and you instantly became my idol in ultramarathon and intend to join an ultra running event in the future. You are very popular to the runners in the Philippines. I have a blogsite and I posted your book and your accomplishments as the ultramarathon man. It’s

DK: That’s great! I’ll check it out.

BK: By the way, I will be running the San Francisco Marathon with my kids, son and daughter.

DK: This coming San Francisco Marathon?

BR: Yes

DK: I will be at the Runner’s Expo for two days before the San Francisco Marathon and you have to see me there. I want to meet your kids!

BR: Yes, we’ll meet you at the Expo. Can I have a picture with you, Dean?

DK: Ok! ( I asked one of the race organizer’s photographers to take a picture with my camera)

BR: Thanks, Dean! (I offered my hand for handshake & he grabbed my hand)  

DK: You are welcome. I will check your blog.

After that brief conversation, Dean left the place and went to his support vehicle to change his cap and get his hand-held water jug and later lined up with the rest of the runners at the starting line.

After the runners left, my wife and I took some pictures at the Badwater Basin; checked and reviewed the pictures taken; drank a lot of water and Gatorade to replenish the sweat while I was taking pictures; and took some time to use the comfort room in the area. It was already almost 40 minutes had lapsed when I started to drive the car along the direction of the runners.

While Dean Karnazes was running towards Furnace Creek, barely one hour after the start of the run, I slowed down the car and stay beside briefly with him and I opened the window of the car, brought out my head and shouted:

BR: Good luck, Dean!

DK: Thank you, Bald Runner! (in a loud voice while pouring water on his cap/head from his hand-held water jug and he was smiling!)

Later, I took the following picture as he was running  #4 from the leading runner on his way to Furnace Creek:

Being sponsored by The North Face, Dean Karnazes wears running shoes and apparel of the said sports company. His running apparel is now lighter and different from his clothes when he ran the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2005.

Badwater Ultramarathon #2: Dean Karnazes; Pam Reed; and Others

I woke up at 4:00AM, prepared my things, took a shower, and before 5:00AM, I was already on the road with my wife towards Badwater, California. It was still dark and the street of Los Angeles were clear and I was the only one on the side streets near our place before hitting California State Highway 101 North and later merging at Interstate Highway 10 East after leaving the City of Los Angeles. (Note: US Highways are designated with odd numbers if they go North to South or vice-versa and even numbers if they go West to East or vice-versa)

Well, it had been a long time that I did not drive a car. In the Philippines, I still have my driver to bring me where I want to go in Metro Manila and when I am in Laoag City. But once I am here in the United States, my son or my daughter or my wife becomes my official driver/s and I rarely drive while I am with my family. However, I am a holder of a California Driver’s License which I had renewed regularly since I got it after my schooling in Fort Benning, Georgia and having stayed with my family in Los Angeles for a few months in the early ’80s.

For today’s trip to Badwater, I was made to drive the car as my son and daughter have their respective offices/jobs to attend to plus their scheduled attendance to a Coldplay Concert in Los Angeles on Monday evening. Driving in the US is very easy and efficient unlike driving in the Philippines. Where on Earth (except in Europe’s Autobahn) would you experience driving for hours with an average speed of 80-90 miles per hour? Yes, that was my speed along Interstate Interstate Highway 10 East and later hit Interstate Highway 15 East. Sometimes, I would increase to 100-110 MPH but my wife would remind me that I was way above the authorized 75 MPH speed. She would not like to pay a fine of $260.00 for speeding. That would be equivalent to the price of a Newton and an ASICS Running Shoes!

After one hour of driving, we have to stop at Barstow to fill up the gas tank of our Toyota RAV 4, bought ice cubes for our Coleman Ice Chest where I placed a lot of bottled water, Red Bull, Gatorade and fruits, and we had coffee to go. After 15-20 minutes stop at Barstow, we were on our way to Baker, California, as our Gateway to Death Valley National Park, where we would leave Interstate Highway 15 North and hit California Highway 127 towards north going to the center of Death Valley National Park.

This is California State Highway 127 after leaving Baker, California. At this point, I still had 110 miles (176 kilometers) to go before reaching Badwater Basin, the Starting Area of the Badwater Ultramarathon. There are no structures along the way as it is preserved as a National Park because of its desert and unique land features and mountains.

Driving along CA Highway 127 was a bliss and fast as I was alone on the road. I think I had overtaken two vehicles and met at least 3-4 vehicles on the opposite way for the distance of almost 60 miles before turning left to California Highway 178. CA Highway 178 goes directly to the heart of the Death Valley Park and I had to travel 25 miles along this road until it became an ordinary asphalted road without any center divider line to separate the opposite lane. The CA Highway 178 ended to become the Badwater Road.

At the end of CA Highway 178, there were parts of the earth/soil which were washed away from the mountain and desert due to flash floods and rains on the middle of the road and it made our trip slower for a while. However, once we hit the Badwater Road, we could see the lowest part in the whole United States and we seldom met any vehicle along the road. For almost 45 minutes, we were alone along the said road with a temperature reaching to 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. My wife became nervous as we did not see any other vehicle for almost 30 minutes except when we had a sight of a Ranger Patrol Car parked on the side of the road.

I was confident that I had the right direction and I was always asking my wife what is the time as I estimated to be at the Badwater Ultramarathon Starting Area in 4 hours and 30 minutes to include our brief stop along the way. I was thinking that I had to reach Badwater at 9:30AM with my estimate of our travel time. And suddenly, the Starting Line was on our sight after a long curve on the road.

I arrived at the Badwater Basin at 9:25AM and I was happy that I had still 35 minutes to take some pictures and time to mingle with the elite runners and later witness the start of the 10AM elite runners group on the 31st rendition of the Badwater Ultramarathon.

The Badwater Ultramarathon Starting Area is a small Rest Area or Viewing Area of the Badwater Basin along the CA Highway 190 which has a parking area good for about 50 cars, toilets, and a wooden elevated stage where the elite runners had their group picture before the start of the race.

The following were the pictures taken before the start of the Badwater Ultramarathon.

This is the only shaded area at the Starting Area where the race organizers would take blood samples, conduct brief medical check-up and weight-in to all the runners/participants.

This is the elevated wooden structure on top of the Badwater Basin where a small amount of water is left on the sides. Fifteen minutes before the start, all the 10AM group of elite runners had a picture taking and at the same time served as their final meeting place and got their final instructions from the race manager. Sports photographers, media, relatives, friends, and crew members were infront of the runners taking pictures. I observed I was the only Asian and spectator for the 10AM event as the rest of the crowd were the race organizers, marshalls, medical staff, members of the family & friends of the runners, and members of the crew of each respective runner/participant. 

From left is Akos Konya (with white cap) who is 33 yrs old from Oceanside, California and a native of Hungary, Dean Karnazes (#4), and Pam Reed (with black shorts). These three elite ultramarathoners are the favorites in this race. Konya finished 2nd last year.

This tall guy is David Goggins (#3) who carries the brand The 100 Mile Man. He is the present US Record Holder of the most number of miles ran in 48 hours (203.5 miles). He is presently a member of the US Navy Seals and he has an impressive record in ultramarathon for the past two years. He finished #3 in last year’s Badwater Ultramarathon.

Well, this is the Best Picture For The Year. A pose with The Ultra Marathon Man, Dean Karnazes. I will post another story later on my brief chat and meeting with Dean Karnazes. 

Aha! Another Best Picture For The Year! A pose with Pam Reed, The Ultra Marathon Woman. I will be posting another story about my brief meeting and chat with this wonderful lady.

Konya and Goggins at the Starting Line. Here are two contrasting apparel of two ultramarathoners where one is wearing a white long-sleeved shirt with cap and another wearing a dark-colored singlet for an ultrarun with a temperature reaching up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit on daytime.

I counted 32 ultra runners for this 10AM group out of the 80 runners who finally accepted the invitation of the Race Organizers to run this event. There were no prayers before the start of the run but they had to play and sing the US National Anthem (Star Spangled Banner) before finally starting the race.

And there they go! The start of a 135-mile distance in 60 hours along California Highway 190 and 136.

Badwater Ultramarathon #1

Early tomorrow morning at 4:00AM, 14 July (8:00PM, Monday, Manila Time), I will be leaving Los Angeles by car to Badwater, California, located inside the Death Valley National Park. The distance from Los Angeles to Badwater is 290 miles or 460 kilometers which is the estimated distance from Manila to Paoay/Currimao, Ilocos Norte. In my estimate, it will take me 4 1/2 hours to reach the place without any traffic problem or being get lost along the way.

My son just prepared me a printed map which he downloaded from Google with the detailed directions from our house to Badwater. I will be missing the runners who will start at 6:00AM and 8:00AM. The elite runners will start at 10:00AM and hope to meet some of them and witness their start of this ultramarathon event. Hopefully, I will be able to take some pictures of these runners while they will be running along Highway 190.

The following news article was copied from Puhrump Valley Times.

Death Valley race pushes to the limit


BADWATER, Calif. — Many people don’t savor the idea of crossing Death Valley in the summertime by car. Some actually prefer to go on foot. This July 14-16, Route 190 in Death Valley National Park will be littered with people who do just that during the 31st annual AdventureCORPS Badwater Ultramarathon. The extreme sport event will track participants on foot through 135 miles of the hottest, most treacherous and isolated country in the country and the world: from Badwater, Death Valley National Park, to the trailhead of Mt. Whitney in California. The race route yo-yos from a plunging 280 feet below sea level across three mountain ranges before rising to the chilling heights of Mt. Whitney. Some contestants will even choose to scale the tallest mountain in the Lower 48 as an unofficial finish to their journey. Continue reading “Badwater Ultramarathon #1”