While running is usually an individual sport, completing the 135 miles from the Badwater Basin to the Whitney Portal alone is almost impossible. Less then a handful of people have only completed this task solo. During the actual Badwater Ultraramthon, it is mandatory to have a crew. There are no aid stations, so your crew follows you in support vehicles to provide food, water, clothes or even a seat if needed. A crew member is also allowed to pace you (keep you company) on the course after the first checkpoint at 17.5km from the start line. While truly only 1 person is completing the whole course on foot, it takes a whole team effort to complete this race.I am very fortunate to have a crew member who ran the race last year. Gerardo Re is the first person from Argentina to have completed the Badwater Ultramrathon. He also invited me last year to crew for him as he completed this difficult race. Gerardo is a seasoned runner. He has been my mentor through this Badwater process, helped me create a training plan, all while reminding me that this is all about having fun!
Katyna Aguilar and Joaquin Candel are veteran crew members who played an integral part of Gerardo’s team last year. They both bring experience crewing at this tough race and will definitely help my other crew members learn the ropes. What is most noticeable about Katyna and Joaguin are their positive attitudes and their ability to guide a runner through some of the toughest mental challenges that can occur during a race of this scale. I saw it last year with Gerardo and know they will bring a lot to the table this year as well.
My older brother Jody will be flying in from Edmonton. He was a medic in the Canadian Army and has always been one of my biggest competitors and fans growing up. My younger sister Stacey will also be joining me from Northern Ontario. She is currently a firefighter with the Sudbury fire department. I am glad that they have both decided to join me on this journey. I’m sure my older sister Anne-Marie would have loved the trip to Death Valley as well, but she is expecting a baby this summer, so she declined the offer. Although, I know she could do it ;)My last crew member who I am grateful for joining is Tom Wronecki. I met Tom 5 years ago during my first ultra. He helped me get to that painful first finish line by providing me tips throughout the race. He also kept me company during the toughest parts of the race, until I was slowing him down too much. He has also been a great training partner. We get together at least once a month for a long run throughout the trails in Milton Ontario. I know our wives don’t always appreciate our early morning runs, but sometimes we guys just need to get away and tear up those trails!
Even though the race is still just under three months away I can’t thank my crew enough for all they have done for me leading up to this point. Let’s enjoy this adventure and make some great memories.