One of the most grueling races on the planet has met a fair amount of controversy this year. The ‘world’s toughest’ Badwater 135 has hit an obstacle for its 2014 run, much to the disappointment of loyal runners worldwide.
Usually taking place at the iconic Death Valley National Park, California, the race has been allocated a new route, twisting and turning through Lone Pine this time around, staying well away from Death Valley.
Why the change? Death Valley National Park are concerned as to the safety of their racers, with temperatures reaching up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Just to comprehend such highs makes us sweat. An increase in bicycle and car traffic have also been cited as potential safety concerns. A study into such concerns should be completed by next spring, meaning that for all those die-hard Death Valley fanatics, the race could return to its original stomping ground by October next year.
Cheryl Chipman, Death Valley spokeswoman, said of the controversial change, “We want to make it clear, we’re not cancelling or banning any events. At the moment, we’re just not taking any more applications for them until we finish our safety evaluation.”
2013 saw Portuguese 39-year-old, Gomes De Sa take home the gold with an impressive time of 24:38:16. 2014 promises to showcase similar, if not more competition, albeit in the unusual setting of Lone Pine when it starts on July 21.