Apr 28, 2010

Crewing at Badwater

In my "2010" post in February, I speculated that I hoped to crew a friend at Badwater.
Mon-Tues July 11-12
Badwater crew (maybe)
This depends one two factors: 1. will Tony get into the race, and 2. will he choose me (out of lots of interested people) to be on his crew. Unlike most crew candidates, I have no intention of ever running Badwater, but I do want be there to see what it's like. Either way, I intend to join Tony for a trip up Mount Whitney on July 14.
Well, I'm please to announce that not only did Tony get in, he invited me to be on his crew.

What is Badwater?
Tony running badwater in 2009
Badwater is one of the most difficult foot races in the USA. Held in Death Valley in the middle of summer, participants race their way across 135 miles of asphalt from below sea level to the 8000+ foot Mt. Whitney Trailhead, passing two mountain ranges on the way, in temperatures that can reach 130ºF. It can reduce a grown man to tears (and I have a video to prove it..)

Badwater doesn't provide any aid to runners in the traditional sense, and its rules require every runner to have their own dedicated crew of 2-6 people and 1-2 vehicles. Apparently, runners tend to have choices as far as who crews for them; there are many people who want to get on a crew because it increases their odds of being selected to run in the race. (For the record, I have no intention of ever applying to run.)

Ok, but what is a crew?
This will be my first time, but from what I can gather, I understand that crew members:
* Pace the runner
* Provide basic medical care (we're lucky to have a physician on our crew)
* Prepare food and drinks to the runner
* Provide clear-headed advice to the runner (who may be experiencing dementia)
* Do everything possible to get the runner across the finish line.

I want to support Tony! But I'd be lying if I said I was doing it for completely selfless reasons (though that is a part of it.)

Being on a Badwater crew is a very difficult job with a lot of responsibilities in extreme conditions. It's probably as close as I'll ever come to running the race. As I said, I have no intention of ever running Badwater - but that doesn't mean I don't want to experience it. And the fact that I can experience it with Tony and a few other good friends -- all the better.

So what's the plan?
Conveniently, Alex and Joey are going to be in California the same week as the race. My parents (who live there) are putting him in a sea camp at Dana Point Harbor. This is good, Death Valley is dangerously hot in summertime and is no place to have a 6-year old running around. The weekend before the race is prep on Saturday and race briefing on Sunday. Race itself is Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is a rest day (I've always wanted to explore the Alabama Hills a bit), and Thursday a few of us are hiking up Mt. Whitney, which is the highest peak in the lower 48. Maybe a little poker on Friday in Vegas and return home that weekend.

Who else is on the crew?
Meredith, Eddie, Eric, Herb, and Chris. Tony has a post on his blog introducing all of us.

Who is this Tony fellow, anyway?
Tony running away with a sub-20 Umstead 100 finish last month

Tony has a blog, you can read more about him there. (:

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