Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Chapman Ventilation Death Valley Challenge

Ever since I started writing the USA revisited series of blog posts earlier this year, I have felt the urge to return. Incidentally, I hope to finish that series by the end of this year. With each blog post taking 2 - 3 hours to research and write I think I did quite well to rewrite the first 27 days of the journey across the USA. You can read the series so far here

I'm pleased to report that the urge to return to the USA has now been transformed into reality and in 4 days time I will be setting off on a 78 mile run through Death Valley in California (pictured below). The run is sponsored by my good friends at Chapman Ventilation. This company are also helping to make the run across Australia happen.

The run through Death Valley, which is by far the most difficult one off run I’ve ever attempted starts at just above sea level in the north west point of the valley at Stovepipe Wells. It’s the same place that James Cracknell started a run in his Race Across America event. I have watched that particular DVD numerous times and, despite having never been there, I feel like I know the route very well. Before I ran across the USA in 2011, I took a similar approach, getting to know, in particular, the route through the Mojave Desert and Rocky Mountains.

I'l be starting the The Chapman Ventilation Death Valley Challenge on September 6th 2012 with 41 miles being ran on the first day and the remaining 37 miles the day after.

From Stovepipe Wells (pictured above), the route heads east for 8 miles on the 190 before veering south west to Furnace Creek at the 25 mile point. I'll be running a further 16 miles to Badwater Basin (pictured below from Dante's View) at 282 ft below sea level. This will give a total of 41 miles for the first day. That is the daily distance I'll be running in Australia next year.

The second day continues south from Badwater Basin before heading east up Jubilee Pass. The finish point, at 37 miles for the day and 78 miles in total is at the same "Jubilee Pass" signpost that James Cracknell finished at.

The route itself isn't too difficult. It's a distance that I've achieved many times over 2 days. However, what with this being Death Valley, temperatures are expected to peak at 115 degrees Farenheit (46 degrees Celcius) next week. I ran in these kinds of temperatures last year when the heat wave hit the USA in July and August. They are conditions that are extremely difficult to run this kind of distance in. Although safety is paramount and a very important factor, I'll be pushing myself as hard as possible to get through the 78 miles in as quick a time as possible. I'm going to be looking for as much quality in my running as I can at this stage of my training for Australia 2013.

The image below was taken during the recent Badwater Ultramarathon. It shows the lead runner cooling down in what I call an "ice coffin"after 40 miles or so. I have looked at this image many times over the last 6 weeks and I think the effect it's had on me has really shown in my training and preparation for the run through Death Valley.

It's going to be a very tough 78 miles. The temperature in Death Valley will peak in the afternoon and I'll be ready for it when it comes. I've almost forgotten the pain and anguish that these kinds of conditions caused during last year's run across the USA. I'm sure those memories will come flooding back on Thursday and Friday!

Not only will this be a great simulation of what I believe will be a worse case scenario in temperature in Australia next year but I'm also raising funds for The Children's Foundation too. As ever, I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring my 78 mile effort through Death Valley. Donations can be made using the Virgin Money Giving website here. Thanks in advance for any donations and I'll get round to thanking those who have left an email address when I return to the UK.