Time Station One: Furnace Creek
Story by Tracy Fawns, 9:27 am
The first wave of runners began coming through Time Station One at 8:40am. At 8:40am, Stephane Lamaitre was the first runner coming through, looking fresh and ready to race to the finish line.
As runners came through, most would take advantage of the time station and rest on a chair under the time station. Dan Jensen, 55, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is running on an artificial leg and was one of the frontrunners to come through the first time station at 9:31 am. For the last 4 years, Dan has been a full-time student and he received a B.A. degree in exercise physiology, graduating in December of 2004. During the last 2 years, he has spent his time building a good base and foundation, doing short ultra running races in order to be accepted into Badwater. While Dan is not a rookie, his other experience at Badwater ended in a DNF, in 1999, at mile 95. He was having a lot of trouble with his residual limb and decided to call it quits instead of risking further injury. This year, Dan is looking fit and strong, ready to redeem his race and make 2005 the year of a Badwater finish.
At the back of the pack in the 8:00 am starters, is Marianne Blangy, 42, a chemist from France. Perhaps she is holding back, saving her energy during the blistering heat of the day. She looks strong and happy. Marianne has been dreaming about this race for some time. She has a strong crew, who speak fluent English, and she feels this is the year that she will do it!
John Dodds, who started in the 6:00 am wave, came through Time Station One at 8:42, only 2 minutes behind Lemaitre. He was looking great, adequately covered up to prevent the sun from beating down on his skin, and he cruised through the time station in great spirits. He had first heard of Badwater after a friend of his gave him a book about 2 men that had completed the Badwater course, and then turned around and went back, for a total of 300 miles. After that read, he was intrigue and hooked. As he continued on in his training and pursued more races, Badwater was always in the back of his mind. The fact that very few people in the entire world have completed Badwater is definitely a draw for John to continue the race to the finish line. If his race goes as well as it was by 8:42 this morning, he should have a great finish.
As the temperatures slowly rose up to 105 by 11:00 am this morning, it is obvious to me that there are some really dedicated, interesting and, well, crazed runners out there! It is so inspiring to see the determination etched into the faces of each racer. The years of training are now on the line for this race. Can they do it? Can they endure the conditions in order to finish? If the determination in these athletes was enough to get them to the finish line in Lone Pine, then every single racer this year will make it!