Harvey Lewis, victor of the race and the terrain. (Photo: Chris Kostman, Instagram)
The Badwater Ultra Marathon, dubbed “the most difficult run in the world”, was won by Harvey Lewis in a time of 23:52:55. Lewis, a teacher at the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, covered the 135 miles of California high desert over 50 minutes quicker than his nearest competitor, Grant Maughan of Australia. Alyson Venti, an Oceanography Ph.D. student from University of Miami won the women’s race in 28:37:28.
The course, famous for traveling from the lowest point in North America, Badwater, to the trailhead of the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, changed drastically this year due to permitting issues within Death Valley National Park. Over 30 years of safe and successful events were held in the park by Badwater’s parent company AdventureCORPS. They also host an equally crazy 508 mile bike race from the California coast into Death Valley. The Park suspended all event permits to conduct a safety audit, forcing the Badwater run to start somewhere other than Badwater or be cancelled.
Throughout the United States, skunks are hiding in cat-sized crevasses waiting to roam the night (or if you are reading this at night, they are roaming currently). These opportunistic animals are happy hunting insects and small rodents, foraging for berries, scavenging a convenient carcass, or making a mess of your trashcan. Over time, their versatility has allowed them to thrive in virtually every condition and take on urban sprawl with little impact on their population whereas other animals have been less successful at “fitting into society”.
Skunks can't be missed (Image: Britannic)
Where most animals use camouflage to blend in, skunks are outsiders. If squirrels listen to Coldplay, skunks listen to Rancid and dress the part. Like our neighborhood punk rock aficionados, standing out is part of their visage and lets the rest of us know that they play by a different set of rules. Where their furry friends scurry to safety at the first sign of danger, skunks are more apt to mosey on brazenly until predators prove they are serious.
Despite their prolific presence in our environment, runner-skunk encounters are rare. Still, if you run enough miles, particularly at dusk or dawn, it is likely that you will see a skunk in your running career. If you get too close, you, and your social life will be immediately impacted.
While other mammals have the ability to create a musky scent for territory marking or mating purposes only skunks have the ability to spray their musk as a projectile. As anyone with experience can attest, their musk is by far the most potent. From glands in the skunk’s rear, the offensive fluid can be sprayed up to 12 feet with a good amount of accuracy.
Don't Get Bit (image: Total Mosquito Control)
Vampire talk seems to have died down since the last of the Twilight films came out in 2012 but mosquitoes never got the memo that sucking blood isn’t cool anymore. With summer around the corner and pools of standing water growing more numerous and voluminous, the mosquitoes are coming. For those of us that appreciate the outdoors, these unwanted guests are most problematic.
Here’s the bad news: mosquitoes are attracted to movement, body heat, lactic acid and carbon dioxide. So unless you know how to run with out moving, sweating or breathing, mosquitoes will find you. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, which also happen to be the only bearable times to run between the months of June and September in much of the northern hemisphere. Some mosquitoes may be developing immunity to repellants and mosquitoes are more attracted to beer drinkers.
Worst of all they carry deadly diseases that ruin lives and slow economies around the world. Malaria alone infects north of 200 million people per year and the distance runner meccas Ethiopia and Kenya are some of the worst affected. Read more…