Murfreesboro Man Tackles 135-Mile Ultramarathon in California's Death Valley with Temperature's Hitting 120-Degrees

Jul 07, 2023 at 08:27 pm by WGNS News

Past Photo of David Jones of Murfreesboro

DEATH VALLEY - Long-time Murfreesboro resident David Jones just wrapped up the annual Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, which is described as “The World’s Toughest Foot Race.” 71-Year-old Jones ran the entire 135-mile trek that started at 282-feet below sea level in the Badwater Basin, located in California’s sweltering hot Death Valley. The run ended at a much higher elevation of 8,360-feet above sea level at Whiteny Portal, which is the trailhead to Mount Whitney.

Prior to running this year’s race, Jones had just completed a trip to the autonomous region of China, between Nepal and Tibet where he visited the peak of the Himalaya Mountain Range. That peak, known as Mount Everest, stands at 29,032 feet and is considered to be the tallest point on Earth. Jones climbed to the peak of Mount Everest just two months before heading to California for the Badwater Ultramarathon.


This year, Jones was the oldest runner in the 135-mile run. He has run the course about 15-times since 1995. Looking back to 1997 when Jones was 45-years-old, he set a new world record, which has since been broken. Jones completed the 135-mile race in 42-hours, 15-minutes and 54-seconds. 

The Badwater 135 Ultramarathon started 46-years ago and according to organizers, “…this world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements in a crucible like no other.” Participants go from a below sea level run with fiery hot summer temperatures that commonly reach 120-degrees to an uphill battle well above sea level that include temperatures in the 20-degree range this time of year.

Death Valley is known as one of the hottest places on earth, and that is a dry heat as it is also one of the driest places in North America. The world record of highest temperatures was recorded at Furnace Creek in Death Valley on July 10, 1913 when the temperature reached 135-degrees Fahrenheit.

To give you a better idea of the weather experienced by runners, today’s high at the starting point of Badwater will hit 118-degrees. At the finish line, the temperatures on Friday night and heading into Saturday morning will dip down to 26-degrees. The high on Saturday will be 59.

Jones was one of only four from Tennessee to participate in the race this year. Also running were 55-year-old Francesca Muccini from Nashville and two 40-year-olds from Knoxville, Ethan Coffey and Kevin Delk. Muccini ran the race in 36-hours, 53-minutes and 01-second. Coffey ran it at 45-hours, 18-minutes and 39-seconds, while Delk’s time was at 33-hours, 11-minutes and 18-seconds.

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