Yoshihiko Ishikawa wins Badwater 135 for the 2nd time

The 45th anniversary of the Badwater 135 race wrapped up on Wednesday, with no shortage of heat and excitement. Yoshihiko Ishikawa of Japan earned his second race win, running negative splits to finish in 23:08:20. Ishikawa previously set the course record at Badwater 135 in 2019, clocking 21:33:01. He followed up his win by proposing to his then girlfriend, and the couple have since been married.

in an interview with his godfather, While running, Ishikawa compared the race to an emotional haiku. “So much is condensed in every race,” he says.

Pro-triathlete and iFit instructor Ashley Paulson of Saint George, Utah, was the first female and third overall. Paulson is coached by the American marathon and half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall, and set a new women’s course record of 24:09:34.

Paulson won the “race she’s been waiting so long to run” amid some controversy. The athlete had previously been banned from competing in triathlon events for six months due to a banned substance allegedly ingested from a contaminated supplement.

Photo: Instagram/AshleyPaulson

The famous Badwater 135 begins in Badwater in California’s Death Valley at 85 meters below sea level (the lowest elevation in North America), taking riders 216 km through the valley of the Death and Mount Whitney, reaching 2,548m at its highest point. Temperatures are known to soar well above 100 F (37 C). The time limit is 48 hours and the average finishing time is 40 hours. Similar to the Western States Endurance Run, finishers receive a coveted belt buckle. There is no cash prize for the winners. The race is by invitation and 94 athletes started the event this year, with 77 finishes.

Fan favorite and last year’s winner Harvey Lewis, of Cincinnati, finished his 11th Badwater in fourth place with 27:16:05, while his partner, Kelly O’Dellfinished his first Badwater just over an hour ahead, in 46:57:33.

Kelly O’Dell and Harvey LewisPhoto: Instagram/harveylewisultrarunner

Ultrarunner and race director Bob Becker, 77, of Fort Lauderdale, tried to become the race’s oldest finisher. In a heroic effort, Becker crossed the line just over the 48-hour limit. The athlete tried for the same title last year but had to give up at mile 50. His dedication won the hearts of fellow athletes and supporters as he struggled to complete the final stages of the race.

Two Canadians competed in the Badwater 135 this year. norma robert63, from Calgary, finished in 37:00:13 and was the 11th woman, while wealthy peers, 51, of Kitchener, Ont. completed in 44:13:01.

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