With 2023’s races and events coming up further into the year, I found myself seeking a bit of a goal to strive toward in the month of January. Soon I happened on the Badwater 267 VR challenge. The running division is a virtual race across the 3 x official Badwater race course distances, where you can run, walk, or hike the distance over the course of January.
The three courses that are virtually connected together are the 51 mile Badwater Cape Fear, the 81 mile Badwater Salton Sea, and finally, the 135 mile Badwater 135. Together they make up the total distance of 267 miles (430km).
As you complete your activities over the month, you log the activity, setting the amount of elapsed time, distance, elevation, and add optional notes. At each checkpoint or major milestone you get an e-mail delivered with details of the course you’ve just run, including links to photos and videos of the real course.
My final January Badwater 267 VR challenge stats are:
- Gun time: 49:48:47
- Elevation gain: 22,438ft (6,839.0m)
- Distance: 267 miles split over 47 runs, and 11 walks/hikes.
I had a lot of fun doing this challenge. The fairly structured routine required to get the distance done felt good. Another great aspect was the comaradarie on social channels around the event. Another benefit I found was that after some time I got a little bored of my local running and trail running routes and was forced to go further out and run new routes, or places I hadn’t run in a while.
On some days I was more restricted with time, and so I found myself getting more creative with how I structured my runs. I’m not a great morning person, and very rarely go out running early. To get the distances done during the week, I would typically do a split routine:
- Run for 30 minutes on the treadmill first thing in the morning
- Run an hour run over lunch time, either a mix of road and trail, or trails only
- Do another 30 minutes running on the treadmill in the evening.
The treadmill runs during the week were great for saving time. I could simply jump on in a pair of shorts and shoes and get going. No winter layers prep required!
Here are some photos and captions from a bunch of the runs I did over January toward the Badwater 267 VR challenge.
It felt good having a goal to run toward in January. I wasn’t in it for a fast time, so that added to the enjoyment in a way. No pressure! I even logged slow walks with the kids toward some of the mileage. It was more of a structured goal to strive toward, keeping me active.
Toward the end I did start feeling the effects of fatigue in my legs. I had forced myself to have 1 x rest day a week. But with time closing in on me toward the end the other 6 days were quite relentless.
The final run to complete the challenge was 20 miles on the Wales Coast Path (Pembrokeshire) which I ran with Martin.
By the way, Martin is training for the UTMB CCC 2023 – he was lucky enough to get an entry! He is documenting his journey over on his YouTube channel, Kelp and Fern. Not only does he have a great CCC training series going, he also does some amazing ultra running documentaries too. Highly recommended channel!
I still had 2 more days left over in January, but it was a Sunday and I was keen to get the challenge done slightly early. Here is one of the great views from the coast path on that run:
With February here now, my goal is to take it easier on the weekly mileage. Hopefully I can now focus more on quality (rather than quantity) in my running.
Did you run the Badwater 267 VR challenge this year? Or have you run any other virtual challenges recently that you enjoyed?