Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And the Badwater Winner Is...

Dean Karnazes, Scott Jurek, Pam Reed. Just add Zach Gingerich's name to the list of Badwater winners. And the name I can say drew me to follow the competition this year--I tracked down Gingerich for a story I was writing last summer, a small tie that made me feel entitled to cheer him on the road to victory.  The 30-year-old Aurora, Ill., resident won this year's 135-mile footrace that runs through Death Valley and ends at the Mt. Whitney portal. He clocked a time of 24:44:48, which is his best time on the course. Last year was Gingerich's second time competing at Badwater and he took third in 25:06:12.

Meanwhile, Oswaldo Lopez, the man who was trying to chase down Gingerich to the portal for a pass and win, is a bridesmaid once again. Lopez's runner-up time was 25:05:38; last year he finished second to Marcos Farinazzo.

And talk about girl power. Jamie Donaldson was the first woman to finish--she's no slow poke either, running in third for a chunk of the race--and she crushed the course record she set in 2008. Her 2008 time was 26:51:33 and this year she finished in 26:16:12.

See how the rest of the competition fares via Twitter. I'm either a glutton for punishment or a sucker for race updates, but it's really interesting to read. And that's taking into account my relatively new-found ultra-distance attraction. Until I read a Runner's World article about 2002 and 2003 Badwater champ Pam Reed, my running know-how sort of stopped at the marathon distance. Yes, I knew ultras existed--there are two spanning the Lakefront Path in Chicago, spring and fall--and yes, I knew there were races far longer than the marathon's 26.2. I just didn't know any of the story lines behind the longer distances, and well, a laundry list of other things. We'll just leave it at that, but credit a little Google, RW and work for the tune-in. Photo provided by Zach Gingerich.

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