Announced: Mega Summertime Death Valley Run

"The World's Toughest Footrace" heads from the hot national park to Mt. Whitney on its traditional course.

Badwater Marathon

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE "135": A number following the name of an event is a funny thing. It can mean how many times the event has happened, or signify a special address, or, in the case of the Badwater 135, it encapsulates how many miles shall be run over three short days. Runners of every ability would agree that completing 135 miles, over a trio of days, is on the epic, can-it-be-done? side of the athletic prowess scale, no question. After all, a marathon clocks in at a very impressive 26.2 miles, and it is still a jaw-dropper, even among longtime enthusiasts, to hear of someone running three marathons three days in a row. The Badwater 135 is the equivalent of five marathons, plus a little extra, over three days, but here's the nearly fiction twist: It takes place in Death Valley, or at least substantially so, at the end of July. Nope, it isn't a pleasant 68 degrees Fahrenheit out in one of the world's hottest and driest spots come the middle of summer. It's mind-meltingly hot, the kind of hot that tests the soles of shoes and, sometimes, the spirit. But that doesn't stop challenge-seeking participants from signing up for "The Toughest Foot Race in the World." And the 2015 epic outing was just announced in mid-November, so clear your calendars, and put the water bottles on ice, for...

JULY 28-30, 2015: This is a return to the traditional course for Badwater 135, which set off for the Mt. Whitney portal from Lone Pine earlier in 2014 (a change prompted by a course review by national park staffers). Entries will be accepted from Jan. 19 through Feb. 2 and only 100 runners will be accepted. And, you bet, they are allowed support vehicles, an oh-so-necessary addition to their trek up and through the Inyo Mountains. If you can't wait for July to try a major, major California-based dash, there's the Badwater Salton Sea in early May. Is it 135 miles? Nope, it stops at 81, but this run is two days, not three, though you have to complete the whole Salton Sea in 18 hours, and the Death-Valley-to-Whitney in 48. (Whew.) Talk about your tough foot races and challenging treks, treks that draw participants from all over eager to stretch their legs and abilities.

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