On Monday, 27-year old Army Lt. Brandon Purdeu will start the Badwater Ultramarathon.
But he won’t be in Death Valley.
A National Parks Service safety review has forced the race to change the traditional route — one that started at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, California — to one that starts in Lone Pine, California. The race will still end at its usual place at Whitney Portal.
Purdeu isn’t turned off by the course change.
“Badwater is Badwater,” he said in a recent phone interview, “It’ll be challenging in its own right.”
Challenging is right. The old Badwater course had 13,000 feet of assent, race officials said on the race website. The new course will have three big climbs totaling 17,000 feet of assent.
And while runners won’t have to suffer through Death Valley’s 130-degree heat, they’ll still be running through toasty conditions. Purdeu, who is based at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, isn’t worried. He explained how he’s training for the heat this way:
“I’m not,” he said, “I just run in Oklahoma.”
He said he feels good about his training, and clocked 350 miles in June alone.
For now, his race goal is to have fun and be the best version of himself come race day.
The other military runner in this year’s Badwater is Chief Special Operator (SEAL) David Goggins.
For updates on both runners, follow us @PT365.