Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jamie Donaldson breaks women's Badwater record

Jorge Pacheco of Mexico won 135-mile (217K) Badwater ultramarathon in 23 hours and 20 minutes. 

For a third year in a row, Akos Konya of Hungary finished second. In 2006 he came in second after Scott Jurek. In 2007 Konya set his personal best time 23:47, but Valmir Nunes beat him with a new course record. This year Konya almost matched his last year's performance with a time of 23:49 - finishing less than half an hour after Pacheco.  

There were three strong American runners fighting for the third place.

Dean Karnazes started the strongest of the trio, but gradually faded to fourth place in 27:11 (still a PR, as his victory time in 2004 was 11 minutes slower).

Pam Reed started wisely, but then attacked strongly around half-way point. At 72 miles she was 41 minutes behind Dean. 18 miles later Dean was nine minutes behind her. She ended up finishing fifth in 27:42 - still 14 minutes under her 2002 course record. 

The first American to cross the finish line at the Whitney Portals was Jamie Donaldson. She came in third overall and set a new women's course record 26:51:33 (breaking Pam's 2002 record by more than an hour). 

She ran a smart race tactically. At 90 miles her gap to Dean was 21 minutes and to Pam 30 minutes. At 122 miles she had passed them both, leading Dean by four minutes and Pam by 18 minutes. She kept on going strong and was able to extend the gaps to 20 and 51 minutes at the finish line.

Women did generally well in the heat of Death Valley. At the time of writing this, the results lists 11 finishers: seven female and only four male.

Speaking of weak male performances, I have never seen the name of David Goggins or Charlie Engle associated with the infamous acronym DNF before.  

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