The first wave of 2014 Badwater 135 ultramarathoners took off from Lone Pine to Horseshow Meadows, the first leg of the grueling foot race at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning with second and third waves heading out at 7 and 8 a.m.
Harvey Lewis, a 38-year-old teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio, was on that final 8 a.m. leg and, after 23 hours, 52 minutes and 55 seconds, was the first runner to reach the finish at Whitney Portal, just shy of 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Lewis started the 135-mile trek with 6:30 minute miles to Horseshoe Meadows, topping out at 7.06 average on the leg from Cerro Gordo down to Keeler. The grade up Portal Road to the Whitney Portal finish line was the toughest, but Lewis still managed 3:81-minute miles to take first place.
With Death Valley National Park at least temporarily off limits to the annual race, the Lone Pine version was even tougher with 17,000 feet of vertical ascent and 12,700 feet of cumulative descent.
Australian Grant Maughan, 50, came in second in 24:43.08, taking the final grade in just under an hour.
The first woman across the line was Alyson Venti, 32, of Miami, Fla. Venti finished eighth overall in 28:37.28.
Eighty-three of the 97 registered ultramarathoners finished the race, with the last man standing 61-year-old Philippe Grizard from France.
AdventureCORPS, the race organizer, was headquartered at the Dow Villa in Lone Pine and the community welcomed all the excitement with âwelcome Badwater 135â signs up and down Main Street.
The route had nearly as many support vehicles, with âcaution, runnersâ signs, as runners. The Whitney Portal parking lot was jam packed with vehicles lining the roadway from the campground area east for at least a mile.