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On Having A Professional Coach

22 09 2018

On Having A Professional Coach

I started to get the guidance of a Professional Coaching Service in my ultrarunning/running in the middle of June 2017. Actually, it was my second experience to get the assistance of a Coaching Service abroad. The first one was with Karl Meltzer and it lasted for one year although I was the very basis Coaching Program that I have enrolled in. I became a very strong ultra trail runner in a short period of time and his Coaching/Training Schedule made me finished 3 successive finishes in the Clark Miyamit 50-Mile Ultra Trail; 2 Finishes in the Translantau 100K; and Tarawera 100K finish in New Zealand. My two attempts in the San Diego 100-Mile Endurance for two successive years did not go as planned because of GI issues related to excessive Heat Exhaustion in a desert environment and Nutrition problems. On hindsight, it maybe due also to overtraining and lesser appreciation of rest and recovery in between training blocks or in between race events.

When Jason Koop, author of Training Essentials Of Ultrarunning, published his book, we started to become friends on Facebook and that I would be one of the first to purchase it. And even went to the extent of recommending it to my FB friends after getting the full appreciation of his scientific approach to ultrarunning training. It took me sometime to read the book and started to apply its concepts in my daily training. Not until an advertisement popped out on Internet that CTS was offering One Dollar First Month Fee for their Coaching Service. I immediately sent an inquiry to Jason Koop through Direct Message and he replied to me instantly with a positive note. I told him that I am a 65-year old and I need to be a better mountain trail ultrarunner.

After a week of processing, I got a designated Coach and Premium Training Peaks platform where I can upload the data from my GPS Watch and at the same time, where I could see my Training Schedule. John Fitzgerald is my Coach and he would give me feedback almost everyday and I could arrange a scheduled phone call or simply send him a SMS regularly if I need some inquiries or inform him about my feeling/s during and after workout. He would know my races and adjust my training based from the information available from the event.

After one year being an athlete of CTS even if I failed in my scheduled Ultra Races last year and this early part of 2018, I admit that CTS and Coach John Fitzgerald were the primary factors/reasons why I was able to qualify for the 2019 Boston Marathon and most of all, not being “burned out” in every training block and in between my racing events.

On hindsight, I think I have over estimated myself in choosing very hard races in Europe & USA which are part of the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) series. I should have chosen those shorter ultra versions of these races which could had served as my initial exposure or recon runs in these very challenging races. However, at this time, I knew that I am ready to go back in these places/races and more confident to finish these races with the support of CTS.

For an old and passionate runner like me, CTS will be my partner and guide to tackle more challenging ultra mountain trail races in the future.

For more particulars about the CTS Professional Coaching Services, you can contact them here at www.trainright.com 

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Registration & Acceptance To The 2019 Boston Marathon

13 09 2018

Registration & Acceptance To The 2019 Boston Marathon

On the first hour of the scheduled registration day for runners who are faster than 20 minutes or more on their qualifying time for the Boston Marathon, I filled up my Registration Form for the 2019 Boston Marathon on or about 10:00 PM September 10, 2018, Monday (Manila Time) and sent it immediately. I immediately received a reply letter via e-mail that my Registration Form had been accepted and I had to wait for the confirmation or acceptance to the said event. I immediately checked the balance of my Debit Card and I found out that I was deducted the Peso equivalent amount for the $250 US registration fee for International Runners which I positively consider as a good sign that I will be accepted to join this event.

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I was able to qualify to join the 123rd Edition Boston Marathon when I finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race held on November 4, 2017 in Azusa, California. I did not expect to finish the race in sub-4 hours and it was my goal to finish the race within my qualifying time of 4:10 hours. Since the first half of the marathon distance was downhill, I took the risk to let the weight of my body and my leg turn-over to dictate my pace and when I saw an opportunity for me to finish in sub-4 hours, I just maintained my pace and made sure that I would never have any muscle cramps which would slow down my pace. For the record, I was able to cross the finish line in 3:46:06, which is 23:54 minutes faster than my qualifying time of 4:10 hours. And as a bonus, I was the First Place Runner for the Age Category of 65-69 years old.

D1507EE8-8965-45A1-9E88-DA1384BFA82CIt took me a lot of years and marathon races to qualify for the Boston Marathon and I finally made it when it was time that I did not expect it. For a passionate runner, being able to qualify and join the Boston Marathon is, I think, the pinnacle of Road Racing. Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail of Road Marathon Racing for being the oldest Marathon Race in the USA and most prestigious Marathon In The World! This makes me a Legitimate Qualifier of the event and not as a Corporate Sponsored or Charity Runner.

After two days since I registered for the race, I finally received a Confirmation Letter that I will be joining the race on April 15, 2019 through e-mail and I was advised to wait for the Formal Letter of Acceptance to join the race through the Post Mail.

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I have already bought my Round Trip Plane Ticket from Los Angeles to Boston and back and had already arranged for my accommodation during my stay in Boston. My Round Trip Plane Ticket from Manila to Los Angeles and back will be purchased before the end of this year.

I have already started my training on the very first day of this month of September. It will be through this blog that I will be posting my thoughts, training and preparation for the 2019 Boston Marathon.

I will keep you posted on my daily training and activities even if I have some local and international road and trail races that will be part of my training prior to the said event. Join me in this journey.





Official Result: 3rd Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultramarathon Race

4 09 2018

3rd Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultramarathon Race (2018)

10:00 PM September 1, 2018 to 6:00 PM September 2, 2018

Starting Line: Picnic Grove, Tagaytay City

Finish Line: Covered Court (Municipal Plaza), Naic, Cavite

Number Of Starters: 22 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 20 Runners

Group Picture Before The Start

RANK          NAME             TIME (Hrs)

  1. Gibo Malvar (Overall Champion) —14:10:40
  2. Aldrin Pallera (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —14:30:23
  3. Dondon Talosig (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —15:12:12
  4. Mark Devora —15:31:17
  5. Jenneth Soriano (Female Champion) —16:40:47
  6. Goldenboy Herrera —17:15:42
  7. Jay Velasco —17:39:08
  8. Aldwin Palomo —17:48:28
  9. Aris De Leon —17:48:30
  10. Kathleen Piñero (1st Runner-Up, Female) —18:19:54
  11. Bob Tolete —18:19:58
  12. Tereso Sy —18:20:02
  13. Khristian Caleon —18:23:15
  14. Glenn Rosales —18:23:18
  15. Lawrence Cajote —19:13:06
  16. Reque Angway —19:13:13
  17. Anne Rose Paras (2nd Runner-Up, Female) —19:37:43
  18. Barney Mamaril —19:38:07
  19. Michael Socito —19:38:17
  20. Arianne Ortega (Female) —19:54:38

Gibo Malvar, Overall Champion

Jenneth Soriano, Female Champion

Congratulations To All The Finishers!





Official Result: 6th WEST COAST 200K Ultramarathon Race (2018)

19 08 2018

6th WEST COAST 200K Ultramarathon Race (2018)

4:00 AM August 17, 2018 To 10:00 PM August 18, 2018

Starting Line: Remy Field Oval Track, Subic Freeport

Finish Line: Barangay Lucap, Alaminos City (Pangasinan)

Cut-Off Time: 42 Hours

Number Of Starters: 7 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 5 Runners

Percentage Of Finish: 71.4%

6th WEST COAST 200K Starters

RANK          NAME                    TIME (Hrs)

  1. Thomas Combisen (Overall Champion) —32:25:45
  2. Gibo Malvar (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —38:32:43
  3. Carlito Rudas Jr. (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —40:45:46
  4. Edwin Fernandez —40:51:05
  5. Richard Gano —41:10:56

2018 WEST COAST 200K Finishers (42 Hours)

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

 





2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 4)

8 08 2018

2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 4)

From Badwater Basin To Furnace Creek (0 to 17.5 Miles)

It was almost 15-20 minutes after the race started when we left the Parking Area. After being shouted at by the Traffic Marshal as we merged to the road, we moved on with a slow speed. I didn’t mind being shout at as it was a result of misinterpretation of the hand signal of the Marshal. Our main focus was to support Tess Leono and I have also the habit to shout at runners who are trying or observed to be violating my race rules and regulations.

Tess was already far from our sight as we moved on the first 200 meters of the route. Actually, we could no longer see her back! The temperature was still 120 degrees Fahrenheit and there was no sign that the heat is beginning to cool down even if the sun is about to set from the west horizon.

It was already “early evening twilight” when we saw the back of Tess on the left side of the road. She was not on the back of the pack as we advised her to be easy and slow on this section of the route but we were surprised to see her at the middle of the pack!

The following were the notes I had written/inputted in my iPhone’s Notes from the time the race started as I drove the Support Vehicle:

• Initially running at 9 kilometers per hour up to Km 5
• She kept on pouring water on her head on the first 5 kilometers and we had to stop every 2 kilometers (1.25 miles)
• She was looking like “stressed and nervous” on the early part of the race until she reached Km 8 (5 miles)
• Advise her to slow down within the first 5-kilometer stretch and advise her of the 12:3 ratio of run and walk (12 minutes of run/jog and 3 minutes of walk). She can lower her speed to 7 kilometers per hour.
• At Km 11, she had her first pee and she slowed down to a speed of 8 kilometers per Hour.
• She started to ask for a change of Shoes at Km 12 but when I asked why she was changing on the early part of the race, she changed her mind and decided not to push through.
• Told her to take some bite foods at Km 12 and she did. At this point, she was relaxed on her pace but she was still sweating profusely.
• At 9:00 P.M it was still 113 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature (as glanced from the Vehicle Controls)!
• Reached Km 15 in 1:58+hours
• She asked for her Chamois cloth at km 16.8.
• Arrived at Km 18 in 2:30 hours
• Arrived at Km 19 in 2:38 hours
• Arrived at Km 20.5 in 2:52 hours
• Asked for Coke for the 1st time at Km 21.6 at 3:03+hours
• Arrived at Km 24.6 in 3:36:30 hours
• Arrived at Furnace Creek Crossing Km 27 in 4:00:00 hours
• Arrived at Furnace Creek Aid Station at Mile 17.5 in 4:18 hours
• Bought 3 packs of Ice at Furnace Creek General Store
• Arrived at Km 40 (Mile 25) in 6:17+hours

2nd Day Sunrise

My Personal Observation On The First 25 Miles

Tess was very fast on the early section from the Start to Furnace Creek Time Station @ Mile 17.5 (Start To Mile 17.5) but she apparently slowed down on the later half of the section due to many stops and refill/exchange of her Simple Hydration Bottle with Ice Cold Water. She was holding/carrying only one bottle at a time during the run. However, I have observed that most of the 16 fluid ounces of ice cold water was being poured on her head. We reached the Time Station at Furnace Creek at 4:18+ minutes without any mandatory cut-off time at this point.

It was in this Time Station (Furnace Creek) that she asked for a seat and a change of her shoes. In an instant after she sat, she was already having muscle cramps on her legs. We wanted to stretch or massage her legs but she shouted at us with “Don’t touch me!” Ok, fine…She was sweating profusely and we gave her a lot of water in her hydration bottle but I have observed that she would pour the ice cold water on her legs! Ok…I thought, maybe she wanted to have her 2XU long tights to be wet with cold water. Later on, she asked for a pair of scissors. What? For what is the scissors? Khris gave her the pair of scissors and she was cutting the lower part of her tights in a vertical manner. I only suspect that the tights was putting a lot of pressure/compression on her ankle and calf muscles. She felt relieved when she made some cuts on her tights. Later, I found out from her that it was her first time to use this new 2XU tights. I thought she was using her old tights for this event. We gave her the food that she asked at this point. In a few seconds after the pouring of ice cold water on her tights/legs, cutting her tights, and eating some foods/drinking some water and Coke, she was back on the road.

It was her request that we should stop whenever we see her on the road. In my estimate it would take us a few minutes from the time we prepare her next supply of water and food before we move from where we stopped up to the time we see her on the road. Sometimes, she would run, at least, one kilometer before we would look for a parking space on the side/shoulder of the road. As a driver, it was very tricky to look for a wide and stable space on the shoulder/side of the road. There are times that the shoulder is very loose with small rocks/sand that you don’t want your tires to go deep on those loose sand and rocks. The RD had advised us not to suddenly brake on these loose shoulders once we park our Support Vehicle as some of the vehicles would be sucked on the side of the road. It is also automatic that we would slowly drive our vehicle out of the shoulder when we leave. There is no rush in parking and leaving the parking area.

Loose Shoulder Along The Road

We could no longer count how many times we parked at the shoulder of the road of which we don’t have to. But it was difficult for us to have a nap or have time to rest and wait for Tess as she approaches our Support Vehicle as soon as we park our Support Vehicle on the shoulder. This park-support-leave cycle was repeated every almost one kilometer to one mile until it was sunrise.

At the break of dawn, we would see a lot of runners and Support Vehicles passing us and they are the runners that started with the Second Wave at 9:00 PM. Tess would continue with her run and walk, and she was back with her good running condition.

It was a matter of time before we reached Stovepipe Wells at Mile 40 as Tess would move progressively forward with the rest of the runners. The heat temperature had lowered in the early morning of Monday but it went as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit as early as 9:00 AM. As the runners relentlessly moved forward, the heat of the sun and the winds had also relentlessly became hotter and stronger. At a distance, we could see already the building structures of Stovepipe Wells. It was time to prepare myself as the Pacer of Tess once she reaches the Stovepipe Wells General Store.

Pacing Tess Leono From Stovepipe Wells To Panamint Springs

At The 2,000 Feet Elevation Marker

• Started to pace her at Stovepipe Wells General Store. We power hiked the uphill up to the Time Station where the RD was waiting which is still 8 miles away from the center of SP Wells. The RD was located at the 2,000 Feet Elevation Sign on the left side of the road. At this point, the RD told us that we missed the 10:00 AM cut off time by 9 minutes but he told us that we just proceed to Panamint Springs and be able to recover the negative time we had. It was time to push Tess to jog and hike the uphill climb to the peak of Towne Pass. At this point, the Elite Group who are with Wave 3 started to pass us and I observed that they consistently jogged on the road which is to my estimate is 5-15% gradient. I tried to jog behind Tess and I felt comfortable. While I slowly jogged behind her.

From Stovepipe Wells To Towne Pass

• Since I don’t want that our crew would also assist me on my needs from the Support Vehicle, I asked them to aid and concentrate on helping Tess on her needs once we approached our parked Support Vehicle. There are times when Tess would simply leave me as I was still refilling my bottles and chewing my solid foods. Most of the time, she would be 50-60 meters ahead of me and I have to jog the uphill climb just to be able to be directly positioned behind her. It would take me almost one minute to jog the distance where Tess is located.

Before Reaching Towne Pass

• Early on, I taught her run while counting on her strides. I told her that we should do the “20/20 strides”—-20 strides on the run & 20 strides while walking. We did this kind of run & walking ratio on our way to. Panamint Springs. I also taught her to power hike as if she was race walking!

• After we crested the peak of Towne Pass, I was confident that the downhill route to Panamint Springs will provide us the confidence of a faster pace and speed. But I was wrong!

To be continued….

Downhill From Towne Pass





2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 3)

7 08 2018

2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 3)

2018 Badwater 135 Group Picture (Photo By Badwater 135 From Facebook)

Team Leono Inside The Room @ The Ranch (Furnace Creek)

Our room that was reserved by Tess at the Furnace Inn Ranch was good for one day from 1:00 PM of Sunday to 12:00 NN of Monday with the hope that we could be extended up to 5:00 PM or 6:00 PM with an additional cost. However, the Hotel Administration would not allow us to extend our stay for another 5 or 6 hours because all the rooms were fully booked and reserved for the whole week. We tried our best to plea for their understanding to extend our stay but they could only allow us an extended period of stay up to 2:00 PM of Monday. And this was final!

Let me describe to you our situation in the room. We were 5 persons in one room but there are two double beds which could only accommodate only 4 of us (two persons on each bed). To remedy the situation, we had to pay an extra bed to be inserted in the room. Because of the bags and luggages; food; coolers; and other needs for the race were all inside the room, we had a very limited space for the folding bed to be fully deployed, instead, we got only the mattress from the folding bed to be placed on the floor in between the two double beds. The tallest among us volunteered to be the “Floor Manager”! It’s was good we had a very good coordination in the use of the single bathroom and toilet during the duration of our stay in this room.

Typical Ranch Room With Runners & Support Crew (Photo By Donna Tabios)

The room has a Wi-Fi connection but it could only be used by two devices only per room. With the five of us, I was given the priority as I was the one who was posting some Updates on Facebook. However, there was a time that I could no longer connect when I disconnected myself so that others can use the allowed two slots per room. When I could no longer get any connection, I opted to have a dedicated Wi-Fi connection for myself by paying $10.00 from my Debit Card for the duration of 24 hours. This was the ONLY way for me to send some more “Updates” on Facebook before we left Furnace Creek. I knew that once the race starts, I will no longer have a Cellphone Signal up to Lone Pine, California or at Panamint Springs (Mile #70+)

While some of us were resting inside the room with the Full Power of the Air Con, Tess, Jas, and Khris were busy organizing our things but somehow all of us were able to rest. In the evening of Sunday, we started to get some Ice from the Ice Maker Machine of the Hotel at the front edge of the building. We were able to fill our Coolers with Ice for Free! From here on, it was just a waiting game and trying to maximize our rest and sleep inside our room. Night came but the extreme heat outside the building was almost the same during day time. After supper at the Diner, we just returned back to our room, take a shower, and then went to bed. I could no longer remember how many hours I was able to sleep during nighttime. I was too tired for the day. However, every time I go to the Bathroom to pee, I would observe that Tess was still awake. I wonder why she was not yet sleeping. Is she nervous, anxious, or have some things playing in her mind? Or is she checking on her cellphone or Facebook? I didn’t bother to ask.

We woke up at about 7:00 AM and we had to line up for the Bathroom and take turns. Hahaha! We were back to the Diner for our brunch…again! We did a lot of conversation in the room about how to fit in everything in the Support Vehicle and how we will be able to support Tess in an efficient clockwork manner. I would be the driver and the rest of the team will have to take their part of making sure Tess will finish the race. However, Tess had all the pressure on her as she is the Main Actress in this event.

After our Brunch, we started to bring all of our things to the Support Vehicle and it was Khris’ responsibility and work on making sure that all of our stuff was loaded properly before the 1:00 PM check-out time from the our room. Starting at 12:00 Noon we were disturbed by visits from the Hotel Staff reminding us of our check-out time by 1:00 PM. They made a lot of calls and visits to us and told us to leave the room until we finally left the room at 2:00 PM.

Waiting Game Before Leaving Furnace Creek

Tess told us that she will stay in one of the Team Tabios Rooms while the four of us as her Support Crew went to the Diner to pass the time and then pick her up near their Hotel Building anytime between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. We waited inside the Diner for 3+ hours and we reviewed our plan on how to support Tess during the run. We made also our plan on how to resupply our needs for water and ice along the route as we anticipated for a higher and extreme heat/temperature the following day. On the last few minutes of our stay at the Diner, we ordered two Pizza for our anticipated Dinner food once the race starts at the Badwater Basin.

Tess Leono With Gerald Tabios’ Support Crew (Photo From Donna Tabios)

We left the Diner at 5:00 PM and parked a few meters away from the Team Tabios’ Hotel Building because there was no parking space available. We, instead, looked for a shaded area where we could wait for Tess. At exactly 5:30 PM, we left the Ranch Inn with Tess and dropped by the Gasoline Station at the entry road to the Ranch to fill up our gas tank on Full Tank. We panicked when a CLOSED sign poster was shown hanging at the Cashier’s counter. Jasper said that we could still pump the needed gas using her Credit/Debit Card of which we did. We were already fully-loaded and prepared for the event as we left Furnace Creek to the starting area in Badwater Basin, 17.5 miles away.

The two-lane/two-way road (one lane in each direction) from Furnace Creek to the Badwater Basin was busy with traffic due to the presence of the Support Vehicles. I drove slowly within the permitted speed from 30MPH up to 40 MPH until we reached the starting area in almost 30 minutes. We had enough time to take some pictures of the surroundings and watched the other runners and their Support Crew arrived at the Parking Area. After the usual Check-In procedures of Weighing and Final Check on the gear of each of the runners, they were advised to proceed to the Badwater Basin Sign which is on top of a wooden platform. More pictorials were done by the runners and their Support Crew on this spot while the start time was about to be reached.

Start Ceremony & Race Proper

RD Cris Kostman @ Badwater Basin Sign

The First Wave of Runners where Tess belongs starts at 8:00 PM and 30 minutes before that, a Simple Ceremony was held. There was a Short Prayer, Singing of the US National Anthem, and more Group Pictures of the Runners on video and still shots. Cris Kostman went on his way to shot a video of each of the runners using his cellphone while a group Pictorial was taken on them. He reviewed the runners on the cut-off times of each of the Time Stations but he emphasized that he wanted all the runners to reach Stovepipe Wells, whether they are within or not within the cut-off time. The RD is really a “hands-on” guy who treats his runners as his brothers and sisters. No wonder that this Badwater Event is a community of runners who know each other and help each other to finish the race.

Starting Area With The First Wave Of Runners

2018 Badwater 135 Philippines’ Representatives (Tess & Gerald)

Finally, the race started at exactly 8:00 PM and the runners started running, jogging, walking from the wooden platform of Badwater Basin, turning left on the concrete pavement/pathway going up to the curb of the Parking Area until the runners finally reached the left side of the road leading to Furnace Creek. The runners automatically formed a single file with reflectorized vests, blinking red lights on their back and front, and headlight on their head or using hand-held flashlight.

Each of the Support Vehicle was advised not to rush out from the Parking Area as there were Marshals who would control the traffic for all the vehicles leaving the Badwater Basin. The Traffic Marshals made sure that the Support Vehicles will not clog up with a file of vehicles along the road with short distance between each vehicle. I had the experience of being shout at by one of the Traffic Marshals when I interpreted his “hand signal” as a “go”, but instead, he was signaling me to proceed slowly and stop for a verbal instructions from him. Shit! I am a RD in the most popular ultra marathon race in the Philippines and here I am as a Driver being shout out by a Traffic Marshal??? Fuck You, Man!!! If only you know who I am.

To be continued….





The Cost Of Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon

5 08 2018

I am reposting this blog by Pam Smith aka The Turtle Path which was posted on August 3, 2018. Pam Smith was the Champion of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race in 2013 with a time of 18:37+ hours when Timothy Olson broke the Course Record. She finished 6th Overall and First-Runner-Up in The Female Category with a time of 28:47:53 hours in this year’s Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon.

It is my intention to write a separate blog on this particular topic as part of my observation and experience as the Chief Crew of Ms Tess Leono. However, since I am not “in the know” of the actual expenses that my runner had incurred before, during, and after the event, my estimate of expenses will be purely not exact and accurate and that is why it will be always considered as an “estimate of expenses”.

For an International Runner coming from Southeast Asia like the Philippines, a runner would add more of its expenses if he/she would pay for the flight fares of his/her support crew from the country where the runner is coming from. With an average of $1,200 per person, you can add another $4,800 to the total expenses. Merchandise and Souvenirs are not included in Pam Smith’s expenses and I would estimate another $300 for this purpose. International Runners like the Filipinos are fond of having some items for souvenir for the event like, Badwater T-shirts, Caps, Buffs or Stickers. Another thing that was not included is the Uniform T-Shirts/Long-Sleeved Shirts of the Team to include those OSHA gear aka Reflectorized Vests/Shirts and Blinkers. There is also a need to buy, at least, two (2) big Coleman Coolers, if possible, able to fit the core portion of the body of the runner if there is a need to submerge his/her body with ice water, to bring down the body temperature of the runner.

So, there you go! If you have any plan to join in one of the future editions of the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon, you better start saving now or have a plan where to source your logistics and financial support. Good luck!

The Cost of Badwater

Every big ultra has its critics these days, and Badwater is no different. However, if you pay attention, almost all of the Badwater criticism comes from those outside the event; those who have participated are full of appreciation and praise. I am a cynic by nature and I admit there was plenty to make me skeptical as well. However, after participating in the race, I, too am a convert and you will only hear me say good things. That being said, the indisputable fact is that Badwater is a VERY expensive race and if this race is on your bucket list you might need to start saving a few years in advance!

Here is a breakdown of my costs. I believe I spent significantly less than the average person, but there are a few places which I noted below where you could shave off a few more dollars.

Badwater entry fee – $1500. This is probably the most criticized thing about Badwater – a $1500 entry  fee and they don’t even have aid stations! This starts to make a little more sense when you are there when it finally dawns on you that Death Valley is really the middle of NOWHERE and there are no locals to help out, meaning many people have to be put up in hotels. There are a few niceties offered to runners, such as a cottage room in Panamint and a post race dinner for everyone. I will say the race had more officials for monitoring and safety on course than any race I have ever been at. Race officials found me three times to try to help me with my tracker (not entirely successful, but still appreciated) and I used the cottage room and footcare available at Panamint. Yes, the race is for profit and I am sure the RD gets a decent wage from the race, but this is now fairly commonplace in ultra running. The price is steep, but the only way around this is to pledge to raise $7500 for charity.

Crew Travel: $1200. Standard practice at Badwater is for the runner to pay entirely for the crew. This includes travel, lodging and hotels. My pacer Dennis and I drove from Oregon and crew chief Jimmy drove from L.A, significantly cutting travel costs. I paid $660 for my sister’s flight and $515 for my other pacers flight. It was worth every penny to have them there with me, but if you want to keep crew costs down, stick with three crew members instead of four and find crew that doesn’t have to fly to get to Death Valley. (Update: Others have noted “standard practice” is to pay for crew once they get to Death Valley but for crew to pay their own travel. That would certainly mitigate expenses.)

Van: $750. I rented a van for a week for $525. I was a little taken aback when the person picking up the van added the $30/day insurance; however, this ended up being a good thing as we spilled dirty water in the van and it stunk to high heaven when we were done with it. The crew also reported there were a lot of places that it was easy to open doors into rocks. Anyway, we probably could’ve gotten by without the insurance, but it was nice to know we didn’t have to worry about anything we did to it while racing.

Hotels: $1900. I had two hotel rooms for two nights in Furnace Creek and two rooms for two nights in Lone Pine, plus one extra night while traveling. Both places outside of Furnace Creek, we stayed at Best Western, which has air-conditioning (about half the hotels in Lone Pine don’t – your crew will thank you for the AC!) and a free breakfast (decreased food costs!). I got 10% off with my Costco card. I paid $127 in Fallon, NV and $141 x 4 in Lone Pine, both of which seemed reasonable. Furnace Creek  is where you will pay an arm and a leg – nearly $300 per night per room – and anyone looking to save money should think about staying elsewhere and driving to the Sunday race briefing and the Monday night time start.  I had my crew come in Sunday, which worked out fine in the end, but most people arrived Saturday which made for a bit more leisure time and less stressful race prep, but certainly adds to the costs, especially if that means more nights in Furnace Creek.

Gas- $500. This was 6 tanks of gas to and from Oregon, plus three tanks of gas for the van to and from LA and during the race.

Food – $500; Groceries -$150. A huge chunk of this was a $190 crew dinner on Sunday at the nicest place in Furnace Creek. On the bright side my crew didn’t do much drinking and they weren’t into dessert. 😉 I brought a lot of groceries from Oregon and several crew members traveled with food, which meant we had snacks and race food covered.

Ice- $138. That’s 200 pounds of cube ice plus two frozen water jugs. Be prepared to be gouged on the ice pricing in Panamint (and severely limited) but every place else was reasonable and plentiful.

Race Items and Supplies – $120. This is where I spent nearly nothing but you could easily rack up big bills here. Driving from Oregon meant I could bring things like coolers, sunscreen, towels, chairs, and spray bottles from home instead of buying when I got there. Critical gear includes: calf sleeves, arm sleeves, a high coverage hat, ice bandanas, and full protection sunglasses but I already owned all those things (and actually didn’t pay for any of them originally either!). I also wore clear glasses for most of the second night but I used a free pair of protective eye goggles I got from the hospital where I work. I did not buy any of the “add-ons” offered by the race, such as signs or crew shirts, nor did I have any matching team shirts for my crew (they have to be in OSHA gear anyway, so not like anyone really sees them on race day!). Next time (yes, I said that!) I will buy better OSHA gear because I borrowed and skimped and we should’ve had a little higher quality stuff. I did buy 8 red blinky lights ($28) and 10 “Biffy bags” ($25) (cheaper online than through the race) as required, plus one OSHA vest ($8), and an umbrella ($14). I was able to borrow coolers and water jugs from a local race as well as a crew member and only bought one extra large cooler at Walmart for $60.

Total: ~$6,800. That’s a hefty price tag for a single race! (Now think about the ten time finishers or Marshall Ulrich and his 23 Badwater starts – yikes!). As one friend and excellent Badwater candidate told me, “I’d much rather vacation in Europe for that kind of money.” It’s hard to argue with that, and as such, a lot of top runners will never be on the starting line of this race. However, there’s a reason this is an iconic race and it was definitely a unique and special experience.

Badwater Check-In & Merchandise Sale








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