Through Death Valley.
In July, when the temperatures reach well over 120 degrees.
The road gets so hot that runners, who appear almost other-worldly in white suits to protect themselves from the sun, often have to run on the white painted line, just to avoid melting their shoes.
It’s enough to make even a hardcore runner ask, Why? But to the 90 or so runners who get in to the Badwater Ultramarathon each year — making it through a competitive application process — the “why” is precisely those factors which have earned Badwater the title of “world’s toughest footrace.”
No Meat Athlete sponsored runner, Meredith Murphy
About an hour ago, Meredith Murphy, a vegetarian from Pennsylvania who runs a holistic health center, lined up at the start and began Badwater 2011. Meredith has run several 100-milers before, but this is her first attempt at Badwater.
After seeing a message about NMA shirts on Facebook, Meredith mentioned to me that she’d like to represent No Meat Athlete at the race, and I happily obliged. So I’m proud to announce that Meredith’s crew and van will be decked out in No Meat Athlete gear, and Meredith herself will likely wear the running carrot shirt as one of several changes of clothes (I couldn’t convince her that a full-body carrot costume would actually keep her cool, by blocking the sun’s rays).
Meredith won’t be the first vegetarian to run Badwater — ultrarunning superstar Scott Jurek famously won the legendary race twice as a vegan, holding the course record for a few years with his finish time of just over 24 hours. But I’m thrilled that the No Meat Athlete logo will provide a highly-visible reminder, to those that see it, that you can do some pretty awesome stuff on a plant-based diet.
You can track Meredith’s progress as well as that of the other runners by following the live webcast. Runners have 48 hours to complete the race, so keep checking back through Wednesday morning to see how Meredith is doing. (Her time at each checkpoint will ultimately be posted here, but I’m not sure how frequently these individual reports will be updated.)
Once the race is over and Meredith is recovered, you know I’ll be bugging her to write a race recap for us. At the very least, expect some photos to be posted soon.
And as a P.S., keep an eye on another runner, David Ploskonka. He’s a friend of mine from high school and an incredible runner who did amazingly well at Badwater last year, finishing 17th in his first time running the race.
Oh, and last thing! A brand new order of No Meat Athlete shirts came in last week (just in the nick of time, actually, for me to drive two hours to get them in the hands of the last of Meredith’s crew members to fly out to the race). So you if you’ve been waiting to get one while they’ve been out of stock over the past month, now’s your chance!