The 135 miles across the desert that runners in the Badwater Ultramarathon is regarded as some the toughest in any ultra race in the world.
Hawaii resident Hannah Roberts took on the challenge and placed fourth (30th. overall) it took Roberts 34:2635 hrs. to complete the race, and ending up with what is probably the best ultra result of a Hawaiian resident in many years!
Roberts ran for the No Impact Project – and you can still donate to the cause here.
We “sat down” with Hannah to hear about her experience at Badwater.
Congratulations on your 4th. place finish, was this your first Badwater race?
This was my first Badwater as a runner or crew.
Tell us a little bit about the experience:
This was a huge event and very humbling in many ways. I had an amazing crew who made the run possible and enjoyable. That was one of the most rewarding parts; working as a team the whole distance instead seeing crew at a couple aid stations or doing a race by myself. I am really lucky to have found the perfect combination of personalities and athletic passion and skill in my friends and family.
We also worked together really well with the other runners and crews and it was a very positive energy during the entire event because as we leap frogged the other crew vehicles we got to know them and could share things and offer encouragement.
How did you train for the race:
I ran a 100 miler in May that I thought would prepare me well in terms of heat and elevation change. I spent a lot of time in the sauna and running around with a lot of clothes to find the heat conditions I thought would best prepare me for death valley. I ride my bike everywhere and do a lot of cross training to get more endurance but not necessarily always to beat up on my legs.
What was your expectations:
I didn’t really know what to expect other than I was going to come home with a belt buckle. If that meant I beat the cut off by one minute, I was mentally prepared to stick it out for that but I anticipated finishing around 34 hours or so. I thought I was going to have a really hard time in the heat and make my classic mistake of going out too fast, despite my bet efforts to rein it in. I purposely didn’t do much course homework so I didn’t know the course that well in an effort to not get overwhelmed and just focus on the road directly ahead.
What did you eat during the race:
I am vegan with a few exceptions so I ate mostly oranges, granola bars, peanut butter sandwiches late in the race, and muscle milk (the vegan exception). My crew is also mostly vegan/vegetarian so it was cool to run around yelling “powered by plants!” after every food stop.
What was the first thing you did as you crossed the finish line:
I celebrated with my crew. It was amazing to cross the finish line with them after all they did to get me there. We got our picture taken with Chris Kostman, race director, and then I promptly sat down.
What is next for you ?
I am running Cascade Crest 100 miler in August (recovery dependent but it’s looking good so far).
Anything you like to add:
I ran for the No Impact Project, www.noimpactproject.org
, and even though hiring two vehicles to support me run through the desert isn’t the most environmentally friendly activity, my crew and I took steps to lessen our impact and stay as low impact as possible.
Thank you to my friends, family, and HURT for the support and encouragement. I am really grateful for this opportunity to run and am excited to get my legs back and continue running and riding in beautiful Hawai’i.
You can see Hannah’s split times from the race here.