For those who can't quite persuade themselves to park the air-conditioned car and go for a half-hour hike at Badwater, it may make you dizzy to read this.
This is the website of the Badwater Ultramarathon, perhaps the most demanding athletic event on earth. It is by invitation only, to a limited number of the world's elite ultramarathoners.
It starts at Badwater, which you all know has an elevation of 282'/86m below sea level. They run along the road past Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, the Sand Dunes, Stove Pipe Wells Panamint Springs, Lone Pine, and up the Mt. Whitney Portal Road to an elevation close to 8400'/2500m. The distance is 135 miles. The record times are in the 24-27 hours range. This happens EVERY SUMMER, usually in mid to late July. If you've been to DV then (or read anything on this forum), you know how hot it gets.
Last year, 67 of 85 starters finished. In 2002 and 2003, a woman won it (Pam Reed); she has been in the top 5 every time she's run. Folks up to their 60s do it. A few people have become fatally ill. Even though everyone is a world-class ultramarathoner, they do some creative things to train; they have to, because of the wide elevation difference over the course and the extreme elevations and climate. During the race, they have support crews in vehicles that supply them with water, energy drinks, new socks, or whatever--but the runner has to do his or her own footwork.
So now you know more than you ever wanted to know about crazy people who go to Death Valley in the summer!