I read the email around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 15th, 2007.
“Congratulations! You’ve been selected to participate in the 2007 Badwater 135 mile Ultra Race”. I had to read it again……
then again. I stared at the computer screen one more time just to make sure. I stood up, walked over to the family room to where my wife Melanie was and said, “Well, I didn’t make it into Western States, but I just got selected to run Badwater!” She said, “You’re not an extremist, are you?” Two months earlier I was sitting in the same chair waiting for my name to come up on the Western States 100 Lottery Selection. To no avail, my name was not drawn. Disappointed, I waited eagerly for January 4th to role around so I could apply for Badwater. “Be careful what you wish for” I said to myself as I clicked on the “submit” button.The Badwater 135 is a footrace which begins at Badwater, Death Valley, California. Basically, the hottest place on the earth. At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater is the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere. From Badwater, the race finishes at the Mt. Whitney trailhead, 135 miles away. It used to be called the Badwater 146 until just a few years ago when the race finished at the top of Mt. Whitney at 14, 495 feet, the highest elevation in the continental U.S. Now though, the U.S. Forest Service won’t allow the race to continue up to the top on the trail. One must have a hiking permit to reach it. I intend to get one.
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