1. A 135-mile foot race is tough enough, in even the best of circumstances. Try running one in Death Valley. In July. The Badwater Ultramarathon starts "in hell," as this racer attests, at the lowest point on the continent, 280 feet below sea level. The blistering course then shoots up 13,000 feet of cumulative ascent to its final end at 8,360 feet on Mount Whitney Portal. All this through a blasting furnace of 130-degree heat. In one word: brutal.