Badwater Salton Sea
Last updated 5/4/2016 at 9:28am
"Because I love Borrego Springs". Hard to argue with Chris Kostman, Chief Adventure Officer and Race Director of AdventureCORPS, Inc. the host and organiser of the Badwater Salton Sea. Having lived in La Jolla and hiked, driven and cycled the area and route taken by the runners, there is no one better qualified to listen to when discussing the passion and dedication needed to run what is the second leg of the Badwater races.
Typically held in unusual and exotic locations, racers are expected to deal with freezing sleet and fog as well as desert sun when covering the mileage between Salton City and the Palomar mountain. Runners do not go in to this experience on a whim. They train and they train hard. All though this years weather is not as harsh as past years, there will still be an 80 to 90% finishing rate as runners experience miles of roads on top of an 8 mile run through the Anza-Borrego park without support crews.
Unlike a lot of races where international focus has been gained, Badwater races is considered a family event. There are 40 more racers then last year and over 100 people competing in this leg alone. 17 racers are completing all three stages of the race, including a husband and wife team.
Kostman is proud of the fact that despite the numbers, the Badwater racers are a family, the endurance and hardships draw competitors and spectators together.
Unusually, the race is different from others as it isn't run purely on pavements. As the runners take off through the beauty of the Anza-Borrego park, support crews are left behind and the runners are reliant on the basic equipment and supplies they decide to carry with them. And for the hikers among you, the eight mile hill they face will come as no surprise and no mean feat. In fact, two days are spent before the race, hiking through the park on the designated route in order to prepare the athletes for the terrain ahead.
Kostman is no stranger to the dedication needed to persevere through an endurance race, according to his bio 'He set world ultra cycling records in high school in 1984 and 1985 (riding against the clock from San Francisco City Hall to Los Angeles City Hall) and completed the 3127-mile, eleven-day Race Across America bicycle race at age 20 in 1987. That was a springboard to competing in events as diverse as the Triple Ironman in France, the 6.5-mile Skaha Lake Ultra Swim in Canada, three 100-mile snowshoe races in Alaska, and scores of 24-hour mountain bike races and 200-mile or longer road bike races. This led to a career producing some of the toughest endurance events available through his company, AdventureCORPS, Inc.'. No small achievement when you add in the fact that he also found time to train and be educated as an archaeologist and works part-time in that field, both undersea and on land in the Middle East and South Asia.
From the fascination of the Salton Sea, the tranquility and raw nature of the Anza-Borrego Park to the heights of the Palomar Mountains, these athletes get to see the beauty we sometimes take for granted and the reality, few of us get to experience.
The Sun will be covering the race and bringing you interviews from some of the racers themselves. If you would like to show your support, racers will be passing the Borrego Springs Resort, Sunday between 11.00 and 3.30p.m