JAPAN’S YOSHIHIKO ISHIKAWA WINS 2019 BADWATER 135, SETS NEW COURSE RECORD

Yoshihiko Ishikawa (This photo, downloaded from the Facebook page of Northern Ireland Running, is from the 2017 Belfast 24 Hour World Championships. No copyright infringement intended)

Patrycja Bereznowska sets new women’s course record

Pamela Chapman-Markle sets new course record for her age category

Rajesh (Raj) Vadgama and Siva Balu complete the race

Japan’s Yoshihiko Ishikawa has won the men’s 2019 Badwater 135 in record time .

“ Our men’s 2019 Badwater Champion is Yoshihiko Ishikawa, setting a new course record in 21 hours 33 minutes and 01 second!,’’ the race organizers said in an official tweet.

The previous course record was held by Pete Kostelnick. In 2016, he completed the race in 21 hours, 56 minutes and 31 seconds.

The first woman to complete the 2019 edition of the race was Poland’s Patrycja Bereznowska; she was also second overall. Patrycja, 43, set a new women’s course record of 24 hours, 13 minutes and 24 seconds.

Third overall and second among men was Harvey Lewis of the US, who covered the distance in 26 hours, 11 minutes and 18 seconds. Gina Slaby of the US was the second female finisher (she was ninth overall, placing just two seconds behind the eighth place). They were neck and neck from Badwater Basin. She finished in 29:26:45.

Finishing seventh overall and sixth among men was Grant Maughan from Australia. The 55 year-old completed the race in 28:30:33. Pamela Chapman-Markle of the US finished fifth among women and 24th overall. The 63 year-old covered the distance in 34:03:47 bettering her own course record for the age category (60-69 years). In 2018, she had finished in 34:30:53.

Patrycja Bereznowska (This photo was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page.)

Badwater 135, promoted as the world’s toughest foot race covers a distance of 135 miles or 217 kilometers non-stop from Death Valley to Mount Whitney in California, USA.

The race starts at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which is 85 meters below sea level. It ends at Whitney Portal at a height 2530 meters. The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 4450 meters of cumulative vertical ascent.

Ishikawa 31, had earlier won the 2018 edition of Sparthathlon, a historical ultra-marathon held in Greece. He finished the 246 kilometer distance from Athens to Sparta in 22 hours, 55 minutes and 13 seconds.

In this year’s edition of Badwater 135, there were two Indian runners in the field – Mumbai’s Rajesh (Raj) Vadgama and Siva Balu from Chicago. Siva Balu, 39, completed the race in 44:12:39. Raj Vadgama, 52, covered the distance in 44:37:39. They placed 69th and 70th overall, respectively.

At the time of writing, there had been 16 DNFs (Did Not Finish) so far in the 2019 edition of the race.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

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