Death Valley Jack

On July 12th, Jack Denness will attempt to complete his 12th Badwater Ultramarathon race. He is already the oldest person to ever complete the race at age 70. This year he’ll try to set a new record by completing the race at age 75.

As for what Badwater entails, below is a summary courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Badwater Ultramarathon describes itself as “the world’s toughest foot race”. It is a 135 mile (215 km) course starting at 282 feet (85 m) below sea level in the Badwater Basin, in California’s Death Valley, and ending at an elevation of 8360 feet (2548 m) at Whitney Portal, the trailhead to Mount Whitney. It takes place annually in mid-July, when the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures over 120°F (49°C), even in the shade, are not uncommon. Consequently, very few people, even among ultramarathoners, are capable of finishing this grueling race.

Jack Denness has run Badwater so many times that he’s earned the nickname Death Valley Jack. His ability to complete the race at age 70 is beyond impressive. Doing so again at age 75 will be even more incredible, particularly since he did not begin running until he quit smoking at age 45. And while some may call him crazy, Jack’s running efforts have helped him raise over £100,000 for charity.

Below is a brief video where Jack discusses the upcoming challenge.

You can also catch a glimpse of the race through the video below (from the 1999 event).

Best of luck to Jack in his upcoming challenge!


  1. Hey Ross, great post. I just ran my first 5K this year (I’m 31 and have never been a runner so I’m pretty proud of myself, still a long way to go). For those that want to watch a documentary on the Badwater Ultramarathon race, I found a youtube video for part 1 (successive parts can be found to the right of the video):

  2. I like his last comment. “I want to do it…I want to do it. I’ve got to do it.” He said it with such conviction and passion. Very inspirational. I’ll think of those words next time I’m hurting and my mind is telling me to stop.

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