Thursday, September 16, 2010

Badwater Ultramarathon 2010 - FINISHED Business

After I got stopped last year with just a little over one mile to go to the finish line, due to the forest fire, I knew I had to come back and run Badwater again so I could finish this incredible race the way I have dreamed of for a very long time.

Team Swiss Miss from left to right: John my crew chief, the Swiss Miss, my lovely husband Jeff, my little sister Annette and my dear friend Bernie.

When I found out that I was one of the lucky runners who had been invited to run the world’s toughest foot race again, nothing could stop my training and preparation. This year I wanted to finish the race in one stretch and I also wanted to run a faster time than last year. Last year, I had some very bad stomach issues on the second day and wanted to make sure this would not happen again. My plan was to try all kind of food during 100 mile races and with my training to find out what would work best besides the Hammer Perpetuem and Carbo Pro that I was planning to use. As it turned out, milk, mashed potatoes, bananas, rice pudding, fruit caps, Starbucks Frappucino, V8 jus, melon, and some Red Bull worked great. I also dropped 10 pounds of weight, incorporated some weight training and decided to get a ‘nice’ tan before the race to make sure I did not get sunburned like last year!

Team Swiss Miss Crew Van

Another change this year was having only four crew members and one van. John Rennison, my fantastic crew chief, Jeff Cooper, my wonderful husband, Bernie, my dear friend and Annette my favourite little sister - you guys were simply amazing and I could not have done the race without you. There aren’t enough words to thank you for keeping me going all the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget what you guys did for me out there in Death Valley.

My crew chief John made sure the rules are clear..

My little sister, the Swiss Miss and crew chief John at the pre race dinner..

The journey begins…

Jeff and I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday before the race. We picked up the rental van, which took us almost two hours until we found the perfect one – a white Chrysler Town & Country with low mileage (7,000). After settling into our hotel we drove out to the airport to pick up Annette who came in from Switzerland. I had not seen her since last fall and was very excited when she agreed to be on my crew. It meant a lot to me. The next day we drove to the airport again to pick up John and Bernie who arrived with two huge coolers and a lot of race gear. I was a bit worried that we were not going to be able to fit everything into the van but John convinced me that it wasn’t a problem. Even after we bought some missing gear at a Walmart in Las Vegas, we still could fit everyone and everything in the van. I popped in the Team Swiss Miss CD that I had made up into the CD player and off we were to Pahrump. As it turned out, everybody liked the first song – Hey Baby and we made it the Team Swiss Miss Badwater song. During the whole race we must have played it at least a hundred times or more and from what we heard back from other runners it was a great inspiration for many of my fellow runners. After arriving in Pahrump we settled into our hotel, organized our stuff a little bit and went to the pool. The next day, we bought all the food at the Walmart and somehow we were still able to fit everything into the van. Wow! And off we were to Furnace Creek where we arrived around lunch time. It felt so good to be back, to see the incredible beauty of Death Valley, and being part of the Badwater family again. It was also very nice to meet Ben Jones , a Badwater veteran and legend and some of my friends, Keith, Tony Adrian, and Harvey. I was also looking forward to meet Bob from Drymax who has supported me with socks and the signs for our van (last year and again this year). Thank you so much for everything, Bob. After we got our rooms my crew organized the van, put the signs up, boiled some eggs (sorry guys I never ate one) and off we were to the pool. Then we went for dinner where we met our friends from the other Toronto crew, Rob, Tammy, Jimmy and Paul.

Ben Jones, the Swiss Miss and Reza, the first Badwater runner from Iran

Rob Gryfe and his crew and Team Swiss Miss, from left to right: Jeff, the Swiss Miss, John, Paul (Rob's crew), Tammy (Rob's crew), Bernie, my fellow Badwater runner Rob Gryfe, and Annette.

The next day went by very quickly with racer check in and the race meeting. We went for an early dinner. Afterwards my crew did some last rearranging of the gear and I could rest. John didn’t want me anywhere close to the van and I knew I could fully trust him and didn’t have to worry about anything. He knew exactly what needed to be done and Jeff, Bernie and Annette helped him to organize everything. I was completely relaxed and ready for the race.
BIB # 18 is ready

Race Day, Monday, July 12, 2010

Team Swiss Miss before the start at the Badwater Ultramarathon 2010

I was in the 8:00 am start and we left Furnace Creek around 6:45am to drive to the starting line at Badwater. Along the way we cheered on the runners from the 6:00 am start. We were all very excited and couldn’t wait for our start. When we arrived at Badwater we had the music on full blast and after we stopped the van we all were dancing to Hey Baby. [] It felt great! Too bad we were one of the early teams and not that many people could see our grand entrance. After weighting in, the taking of the 8:00 am runners’ picture at the Badwater sign all runners lined up at the starting line. Now I really couldn’t wait to start. After Casey Dakus finished singing the American national anthem, the countdown began: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and GO! It was such an incredible feeling. My crew cheered me on and off they went into the van to drive about 2 miles ahead and wait for me.
My fellow Badwater runner from Toronto Rob Gryfe and the Swiss Miss

My friend Keith Straw, the Tutu Man

Does my ass look fat?

8:00 am start runners at the Badwater sign

Second wave runners at the starting line just before 8:00 am

Part II


  1. It was so great to see you out there! Can't wait to read Part II !!!

  2. Thanks Tony. Ditto! Part II will be up in a couple days. I'm almost done. BTW, going to Switzerland soon. If you'd like I can check if the special charm is still available. Please let me know.

  3. Hi Iris,

    Here is Vincent (bib #67 at Badwater 2010), the french runner. I enjoyed spending time with you! You did really great and your crew was really very smiling and kind.
    My made a video, available here
    We have also some pictures (you are on some of them before and after the race)



  4. Hi Iris
    I was thinking of Badwater for 2011 and was wondering if you might be able to give me some idea of the $$ cost of running the race. I'd certainly appreciate it if you had the time. You can email me at Thanks so much. Sue

  5. Hey Vincent,
    Great to hear from you. It was a pleasure to meet you in Death Valley. I love your video! It's great, and I'm in there for a second or two which is pretty cool. Great pictures too!
    Good luck with all your races. I hope our path will cross again in the future.
    aka The Swiss Miss (#18)

  6. Hi Sue,
    Sorry just saw your post today. Was in Switzerland to visit my family. Great you are thinking about getting into Badwater next year. It is may all time favourite race! I'm happy to give you as much information as I can. I'll email you. Talk soon.