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Photo credit: I Run for Ultra.

Badwater at the half way mark

19-Jul-16

Last updated: 01-Sep-16

By Alice Morrison

With the first runners all through the half way mark at mile 72 of the 2016 STYR Badwater 135 race, it has been shaping up as an epic battle with attacks and counter attacks from the leaders. One of the most difficult ultra races in the world, it is set over 135 miles (217km) from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, California, USA. It is a one stage race, with the start at night. The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The Badwater 135 course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent.

Things are changing rapidly so keep following the live updates here.

But this is a round up of some of the highlights so far…

The third and fastest wave set off at 2300 PST and were led out by Britain’s Daniel Lawson. He was quickly joined by last year’s champion, Pete Kostelnick and the rest of the leading field: Mick Thwaites, Carlos Sa, Harvey Lewis, Alyson Venti and Brenda Guajardo. It was Dan, Mick, Pete at the first check at 17 miles and Pete, Dan, Mick by 41 miles with just 10 minutes between them.

Just before TS3 at 72 miles, we almost broke the Live Tracker in the RunUltra office as we refreshed every 10 seconds. We watched transfixed as Daniel Lawson took the lead from Pete, then the markers moved closer and Pete seemed to surge past. In fact, the results show that both men reached TS3 with the same time - 10.57. But had that battle broken Daniel? He appeared to lag as Pete shot ahead. The battle moved to Dan and Mick who had come through TS3 in third. Mick passed him followed by Carlos Sa. As we left it, Carlos and Mick looked to be locked in mortal combat.

It’s a nail biter. (and in the time it took us to edit this piece, Daniel came back into second place – go Dan!)

In the meantime, Alyson Vesti has been putting in a spectacular run and has remained consistently in the top six. She was 5th through TS3 with a time of 11.29. Brenda Guajardo was looking strong and is second woman.

We are going to be up all night watching… join us on Twitter @RunUltra_UK

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