Badwater 135: Documenting The World’s Toughest Foot Race

August 10, 2015

badwater1Endurance Planet documents The Badwater 135-Mile Ultra, “the world’s toughest footrace,” which takes runners from Death Valley, Calif., which typically posts the hottest temperatures on earth, to Whitey Portal, with more than 10,000 ft of elevation gain along the way.

Tawnee and her fiance John take on the task of crewing for Michelle Barton, a pro elite ultrarunner who you may remember from her past appearances on EP including the Badwater Salton Sea show where she set the women’s course record, as well as this January 2015 episode.

What you get in this special episode you get more than 15 audio clips recorded during the race as it unfolds, portraying the reality of this grueling event. Plus a special candid post-race chat with Michelle going over everything that happened and the hard lessons learned.

-Intro to the race and setting the scene
-What’s it like in Death Valley and Furnace Creek, where all the runners stay pre-race
-Chris Kostman, RD, sends off the runners from the Badwater Basin just before nightfall
-Crew pit stops to take care of Michelle along the way through midnight and into the next day
-Tips for crewing ultras (including how to deal with sleep deprivation)
-Tips for managing an ultrarunner’s needs and giving tough love
-Managing the heat and lack of sleep
-Monitoring the ultrarunner’s health
-Hearing an athlete’s will to keep going even when the body wants to stop and sleep
-Nutrition during an ultra
-The reality that even the best of the runners have bad days, as Michelle experienced this year at Badwater
-Hard choices: contemplating & choosing DNF at mile 75.4
-Post-race recap talking about what went down: highlighting pre-race stressors, injury and lack of rest that had a huge negative impact. What mistakes we made and how we can do better, and most of all how we want redemption and to do it right in 2016!

Comments (10)

  • Iona says:

    Hat’s off to Michelle – not just for making as far as she did, but for her courage in allowing you to cover her during her blackest moments during her race. I am sure that a better pre-race sleep strategy, plus maybe some more mellow pacing early on will help her fend off the sleep monsters next time!

  • Van Dieu says:

    What a fantastic episode… a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. I was biting my fingernails even though I knew what the final outcome was going to be. Michelle is a badass, but we all have our bad days at the office.

  • Lucy says:

    These ones where you live-cover the events are the best and my favorite so far! Keep up the good work.

  • Dr. Mohair Vanchrem, DDS says:

    Really interesting podcast. It was fascinating listening to the contrast between your approach versus Michelle. You are all about planning spreadsheeting type “A” control, whereas she has kind of a “flower child on an adventure” attitude. I actually found her flightyness a bit irritating at times, so much so that I wondered if she was on something. I am sure she is a talented runner, but as they say the greatest athletes have both talent and heart, and I didn’t hear a lot of heart. The most honest thing I think she said was in the wrap up when she said most of her success in running has been easy, and this was hard. The least honest thing was blaming the DNF on the prior injury, which didn’t even get mentioned during the race.

  • Brian says:

    Really cool episode! I’ve been there myself supporting baja 1000 racers. Very similar situations with keeping the athletes going. Look in to Yeti Coolers, their moto is “wildly stronger, keeps ice longer” and they really do. They’ll keep ice for 3-4 days in 100 degree weather. Pricey but they work. Keep up the awesome podcasts!!!! Mahalo for the weekly motivation!

  • Randy Tyson says:

    One of your best podcasts ever. Loved it.

    The whole Dream Team is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your lessons-learned with the rest of us.


  • Jodi says:

    Fantastic episode! Badwater is one of my top races I follow each year. The live-play by play, plus the post-race discussion was really great. You’re recommendations were really polite and I believe will really help her get her to her goal!

  • […] didn’t reach her goals at Badwater 135 this year and she is hungry for redemption. Revisit the podcast documenting Michelle’s Badwater 135 race experience this […]

  • […] didn’t reach her goals at Badwater 135 this year and she is hungry for redemption. Revisit the podcast documenting Michelle’s Badwater 135 race experience this year. And also check out our podcast documenting […]

  • […] Michelle didn’t reach her goals at Badwater 135 in 2015, and she is hungry to get back there. Revisit the podcast documenting Michelle’s Badwater 135 race […]

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