Kiehl's Badwater Ultra Marathon

July 23, 2007 1:26 PM

(KHNL) - Its called "Death Valley" for a reason. The temperature in that area of California can climb higher than 130 degrees. So, imagine running a race, there. And not just any race, a 135-mile ultra-marathon.  Kaneohe resident, 65-year-old Don Fallis is one of the competitors in the  "Kiehl's Badwater Ultra-Marathon." Reporter, Heather Spencer, is - covering the race.   She joins us by phone.

MARVIN:  Good morning, Heather.

HEATHER:  Good morning, Marvin.  How are you?

MARVIN:  Good. Well actually, the question goes to you.  What's the temperature like right there?

HEATHER:  Well, it's really cool today.  So far, it's only 110.

MARVIN:  (laughing) Alright well, I'm sure the runners are excited to hear that.  As far as the race is concern, where do we stand in the Ultra-Marathon?

HEATHER:  Well, the Ultra-Marathon, they're actually starting in three different waves.  The first wave started at 6 a.m.,  second wave started at 8 and the last wave starts at 10 so we've had two sets going now and there's a slight overcast so they're loving it.  It's real good condition to get the race started and they're all looking great.  We saw one down on the ground so far but that's not bad considering the temperature that they're running in.

MARVIN:  Folks here on the islands are rooting for Don out there.  How many racers from around the world are there for this race?

HEATHER:  At this particular one, there's 84.  And they're from all over.  They're coming from Brazil, there's France, Germany, almost everything is represented here.   And what's amazing about this is, these runners aren't coming in just to win, you know like most races you think "oh, they're in it to win it".  But what they're in it for is they're in it for the personal challenge because they got 135 miles.  They start at 282 feet below sea level, they cross two 5000 foot mountain ranges and the last 13 miles, and now this is after they've gone 122 miles, the last 13 miles is uphill 5000 foot to the portals of Mount Whitney at about 8360 feet.

MARVIN:  I'm cringing just listening to you describe that.

HEATHER:  Isn't that amazing?

MARVIN:  Now Don is 65 years old.  We need to ask because he's our local guy out there. What kind of reception has he received?

HEATHER:  Actually great.  People just love Hawaii and they're blown away that somebody would come from Hawaii to the desert here.  They just can't believe it.  And what's interesting too, Marvin and I didn't know if you knew this.  This race is completely unsupportive.  Which means there's no aid stations, there's nothing.  So the runners have to bring their own crews, vehicles, food and water.  So Don's got with him, six Hawaii athletes they're all seniors the youngest is 57 the oldest is 72 and they're all amazing athletes in their own rights.  They've got hundred mile runs underneath their belt and the 72 year old has actually completed 23 consecutive Honolulu marathons.

MARVIN:  Well this race is clearly a doozy, thank you, Heather.