61-Year-Old Pam Chapman Markle Looks To Set Record At Badwater 135

By Doug Williams

In her 2nd Badwater 135, Pam Chapman Markle is looking to improve upon her age-group race record from last year.

After about 100 miles of running, Pam Chapman Markle couldn’t take another step.

She felt awful. So, she stopped to lay down on the road, where her support crew wrapped her up and gave her salt pills. At that moment, still over 35 miles from the finish, Chapman Markle didn’t look as if she would complete her first Styr Labs Badwater 135, a 135-mile ultra race from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney in California.

But she says she’s never been a quitter. After 10 minutes, Chapman Markle stood up and proceeded to put one foot in front of the other.

“I just felt like I needed a break,” she recalls. “I never feel like I’m not going to finish. I just felt I was really sick.”

Chapman Markle kept going, finishing the 2016 Badwater race in 41 hours, 2 minutes and 4 seconds. It was a race record for women 60 or older, breaking the previous mark by 2 hours and 58 minutes. Though she had hoped to run between 38 and 40 hours, she crossed the line with a big smile on her face and her arms held high. It was a sometimes-painful, lesson-learning race—a crash course in Badwater 101—but all that was behind her at that moment.

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You just feel wonderful and proud of yourself for accomplishing something that’s very hard to accomplish.

~ Pamela Chapman Markle on Badwater 135