LONE PINE, Calif. You don't get to the finish line of a 135-mile race through Death Valley in July in under 32 hours by taking too many breaks.
Lorie Hutchison, 44, of Salt Lake City, took two 10-minute naps during her first try Monday and Tuesday at running the Badwater Ultramarathon, considered by many elite endurance runners to be one of the toughest foot races in the world.
"My first goal is to finish, even if it takes me 60 hours I still want a finish," Hutchison said before the race.
Hutchison told race director Chris Kostman afterward that she surprised herself, finishing eighth out of a field of 82 runners who had to submit a resume of athletic accomplishments before being invited to Badwater.
The race started Monday morning in three waves of runners at Death Valley's Badwater Junction, elevation 282 feet below sea level. Runners have 60 hours to officially complete the race, during which temperatures are usually well above 110 degrees. It ends at the trail head to Mount Whitney.
Los Angeles native Jorge Pacheco was the overall winner with a time of just over 23 hours, 20 minutes. The first female finisher was Colorado's Jamie Donaldson, 33, with a time of 26:51. Ultramarathon poster boy Dean Karnazes, 45, of San Francisco, finished in 27:11.
Hutchison was only about one minute behind Texan Shanna Christine Armstrong, who also ran her first Badwater race.
As of Tuesday evening, Jarom Thurston, 34, of Payson, had finished 90 miles in 33:08.
Hutchison, like most Badwater runners, was aided by a crew of people who checked in with her nearly every mile, offering her liquids and a cool bandana for her neck. From Monday night until the sun rose Tuesday, she made good use of cooler weather by attacking a course that took her to about 5,000 feet in elevation before dropping down into Lone Pine, and then a brutal climb to the finish line.
Rare storms and flash floods threatened to alter the race's course this year. At one point, Hutchison ran in a driving rain, a sharp contrast to the blistering heat Badwater runners endure for most of the race.Hutchison prepared for Badwater by wearing a plastic suit while running or by driving in a hot car with the heat on or by sitting in a sauna. Her resume of past ultramarathons includes finishing the Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Run seven times. In 1990, she was the first woman finisher in the Deseret News Marathon.
Note: Deseret News staff writer Stephen Speckman was a member of Lorie Hutchison's support crew during her Badwater Ultramarathon. A feature story about Hutchison and Badwater, along with photos, will appear in Thursday's Deseret News.
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