The Badwater Ultramarathon is a 135-mile course that starts 282 feet below sea level in Death Valley, CA and ends at an elevation of 8,360 feet on Mount Whitney. The race takes place in July when temperatures are often over 120F in the shade. Due to mountain ranges on the course, the cumulative elevation gain exceeds 13,000 feet. The first person to complete the Badwater course was Al Arnold in 1977 with a time of 80:00. In 1987, Badwater became an official organized footrace. Runners who complete the Badwater course in 60:00 receive a commemorative medal and runners who complete the course in 48:00 receive a belt buckle. No prize monies are awarded for this competition. The current course records are 22:51:29 for men set by Valmir Nunes, and 27:56:27 for women set by Pam Reed. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badwater_Ultramarathon).
In 1989, Tom Crawford and Richard Benyo made the first Badwater double crossing that became known as the Death Valley 300. In 1994, Scott Weber completed a triple crossing in 10 days. Weber is the first runner to complete four full crossings of the Badwater-Mt Whitney summit course in a single year, completing these races in July and August 1994.
Marshall Ulrich was the first competitor to complete the Badwater Quad - a distance in excess of 22 marathons in 10 days.
Any competitor who is able to complete both the Badwater Ultramarathon and the Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race during the same calendar year is awarded the Death Valley Cup. No prize money is awarded. (http://www.badwater.com/dvcup.html) The Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race is an ultramarathon bike race covering 508 miles and 35,000 feet of elevation. (http://www.the508.com/).