Crewing at Badwater 135

Without a doubt one of my highlights has been crewing for Linda Quirk at Badwater 135 (135miles) and when I was asked I was so excited and so I jumped at the chance. 

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Not only was Badwater 135 on my list as something one day I would like to achieve but I had been following Linda’s many achievements since I first met her in the scorching heat of the Sahara desert back in 2010.To say Linda has been an inspiration to me would certainly be an understatement… Linda has achieved so much not only in running but in helping others… you see Linda is founder of a non for profit organisation called Runwell and has helped so many with addiction problems. Here is the website www.runwell.com Linda has such a dedication to helping others while achieving her goals in the back ground with her motivation all the time to raise funds to help others.

So” team Linda” consisted of Bob her coach and crew leader, Dina her sports dietician, Jill a registered nurse and medical leader, Pam an Ultra runner who would be pacing, Sam our photographer who was going to be telling the story through photos and me who would also be pacing…

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Of course we all soon realised we would all be taking on any role we could to help Linda fulfil her goal which was to complete the race in under 47 hours and be the record  holder of her age group.  The next goal was to complete the event in under 48hours…

So one of my biggest concerns before I left was that I was going to be prepared for the incredible heat not only was I going from the Australian winter to summer in America but I was going to death valley were I had read that your shoes melted on the road surface and that it was like having a hair dryer put on full in front of your face. So I spent some months before I left sitting in the gym sauna and trying hard to imagine what it would be like running in such incredible heat. 

My next concern was I knew none of the other crew members and I was an Aussie …so hoped they would get my weird sense of humour and my funny way of talking…. Yes the good old Aussie accent.

On my arrival I was picked up by Sam and Pam and have to say my fears soon subsided …I was greeted with open arms and it didn’t take either of them too long to get my Aussie humour. Next up we continued our journey to Furnace creek I have to say when I stepped out of the car I melted oh my gosh the heat was so intense I felt sick ….sick that I was not going to be able to cope. So I decided I was going for a run I had to mentally know what this was all about. It was a very slow short run and yes it was then and there I realised everything they say about the heat in this place is true… the sign says it all…

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It was so wonderful to see Linda who was supper focussed and organised she was prepared and ready to take on the challenge. The morning came around very quickly and we were all up at 4am ..Cars were all sorted out the night before….. for this race there needs to be plenty of ice and water along with all the other massive amounts of gear and food you need.

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The crew was switched on ready for anything our mission we had all agreed was to have Linda cross that finish line.  So non-stop for two nights we filled bottles with Ucan and electrolytes we grabbed a bite to eat when we could we ran and walked with Linda day and night. We feed her sandwiches, fruit, anything we could to keep her going…

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While I paced behind her spraying her down with water she was so focussed and her motto was I just have to keep moving forward and that she did … smashing her goal time and coming in at 44 hours  …..

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There was not a dry eye when she crossed that finish line I even feel teary now typing this….. I learnt so much from Linda and this experience….. Through Hallucinations and so much pain and discomfort with a back problem which Linda experienced after Lone Pine … this incredible lady had so much determination nothing was going to stop her…

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I cried watching her painfully for miles completing the final steep ascend to the finish line….

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I am ever so thankful to have been part of an experience that I not only still talk about but have such wonderful lasting friendships with all the incredible crew as well as my hero Linda.

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As for Badwater135 it now sits on my list of must do races…. Madness probable but as Linda taught me DREAM BIG….. And that I will… Sandy

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