Badwater Birthday Gift For One Man

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jul. 16, 2013
  • Updated Jul. 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM UTC

He will turn 50 will running 135 miles.

When many people turn 50, they treat themselves to something decadent — for some this could be a new car or a special trip to an exotic location.

But that’s not the case for Darris Blackford of Clintonville, Ohio. When he turns 50, he will be in one of the hottest places in the world: Death Valley, Calif.

According to profile posted on the Columbus Dispatch’s website, Blackford will be there on Tuesday, taking part in the Badwater Ultramarathon. At 135 miles through the desert and consisting of 13,000 feet of climbing, it’s arguably one of the most difficult foot races in the world.

Blackford has already competed in 170 marathons and six 100 milers.

“It’s 18,250 days that I will have been alive on my birthday, and I’ve never done anything this challenging before,” he said. “I want to get past my 50th birthday, you know, but I’m kind of putting it out on the line here.”

Blackford has dreamed of competing in Badwater for years and has even assisted on runner crews there before.


Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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