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Extreme runners race 135 miles in 120-degree heat

Published On: Jul 17 2013 03:29:00 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2013 11:16:44 AM EDT
Badwater Ultramarathon

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

96 athletes competed in 36th Annual Badwater 135, which starts in the intensely hot Death Valley. Billed as the toughest footrace in the world, the race starts at Badwater Basin, which is 280 feet below sea level. The race takes place annually in mid-July, when the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures over 120 degrees are common, even in the shade.

Athletes begin a 135-mile non-stop run, which equals about five back-to-back marathons, over three mountain ranges in extreme mid-summer desert heat to finish at 8,350 feet above sea level near Mount Whitney in California.

July 10 marked the 100-year anniversary of the all-time hottest world record temperature of 134 degrees, set in Death Valley where the average high in July is 116.

The men's record for the current 135-mile course is 22 hours 51 minutes 29 seconds.

The 2013 winner was Carlos Sá, a Portuguese-born runner who completed the race in 24 hours, 38 minutes and 16 seconds, according to the race's official website.