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Some redoubtable Badwater legends and 2011 successes

No-one else in this extreme ultra-marathon’s history has competed in 14 consecutive Badwaters. 69-year old Santa Rosa resident, Arthur Webb, is a Badwater Ultramarathon legend and the man who has entered this race for the 14th time.

He has finished each of the previous 13 under 48 hours, the reward being a belt buckle. And #14 was no different – he completed the race in 37:11:40.

12 runners withdrew along the course and 21 runners still have to complete it. First in in an incredible time of 23:41:40 was Oswaldo Lopez, Mexican from the USA, followed by Ryoichi Sekiya from Japan in 24:49:37. Sumi Inagaki, Japan, was the first lady in and the 6th person to cross the line in a time of 28:49:27, followed by Jennifer Vogel from the USA who completed the course in 29:42:12 and was 7th over the line. John Radich crossed the line in 41:46:25 and  is now a TEN-time finisher- the 5th man to join the 10X Finisher Club “the Way to Happiness”. “Real Estate Rock Czar” survives a brutal ascent of Whitney Portal Road to notch up his 6th finish in 42:02:59.

Hats off to you all and a shout of respect to all the competitors!

Badwater is so hot you can fry an egg on the pavement. The ultra-marathon has seen runners collapse in exhaustion, suffer hallunications, give up in despair, and suffer extreme physical pain – but it has never seen Arthur Webb give up even when, in 2010, he suffered a hernia, but completed the last 50 miles anyway, leaning hard to his left side, his left hand pressing in the bulging tissue. The pain was severe. He underwent surgery soon after. “I don’t believe in quitting,” he said!

Suffering an abused childhood himself, Webb runs for the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.  “I wanted them to know there is a way out,” Webb said. “I tell them they have an advantage no one else has. They know what tough is. They are case-hardened. They can have tenacity, perseverance. All that came from my childhood.”

UK’s Jack Denness, Death Valley Jack, is another of Badwater’s legends… He ran the race 12 times, the last time he completed it at the age of 75. That, too, was a first. It was also a first when he completed the race at the age of 70. In 2010 he finished the 135-mile race  in 59 hours 13 minutes.

The Badwater race, from a quiet start, has increased in interest from the first few years. Chris Kostman’s AdventureCORPS took over the running from 2000. Now it boast full fields of 90 runners + (94 in 2011) spread over three start times with strict qualifying standards. “To be in the Badwater “family” is a hard won privilege!!” says Denness. “I believe the mental strength involved in finishing the Badwater race is in all people—it just takes the right motivation to allow it to surface. In my case, the motivation was seeing the positive reaction of people prepared to sponsor me in the Badwater race in my quest to fundraise for worthy charities.”

He has raised more than £100,000 for charity since he began running, and last year was collecting funds for Kent-based organisation Cerebral Palsy.

He is not competing in Badwater this year, but he hasn’t stopped entering charity events such as the charity walk for Kent Air Ambulance which he took part in at the end of June and “Walk for Water” for the Medway Rotary Club a couple of weeks earlier. You can’t keep a good man down!

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