Not everyone can run 135 miles, from 278 feet below sea level at Death Valley to 8,360 feet at the Mount Whitney trailhead. We’re talking an ultramarathon taking place in mid-July, when blistering and unrelenting temperatures can propel the mercury to 130 degrees F.
The Badwater 135 holds the title of the most demanding running race anywhere on the planet.
While most people without health challenges couldn’t possibly finish it, Shannon Farar-Griefer, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), has completed 7 Badwater races out of an attempted 10. She most recently competed but didn’t finish on July 23, 2018.
She’s also finished a long list of other ultramarathons — any race longer than a marathon, at 26.219 miles — and run so many marathons that they sort of pale in comparison to the big guys.
“You use all your mental tools to run that far,” says Farar-Griefer, 57, of Calabasas, California. “You must get over ‘big walls’ when you have MS and when you race. My motto is, ‘Never, ever give up,’ and I do know other people have challenges much worse than mine.”
I can’t imagine running in Death Valley in July, let alone doing it with Multiple Sclerosis. This is both an inspiring and amazing story.
As of October 2016, the National MS Society estimated there were at least 41,358 people living in California with Multiple Sclerosis.