WHITNEY PORTAL, CALIF. – Todd Nott wrote a long list of accomplishments with his racing abilities throughout his time at Plattsmouth.
He wrote a feat for the history books in mid-July by conquering one of the toughest courses in the world.
Nott, 58, became the oldest runner to complete the Badwater 135 ultramarathon in under 30 hours. The Plattsmouth resident completed the 135-mile course from Death Valley to the Mount Whitney trailhead in 29 hours, 43 minutes, 44 seconds. Race officials gave him a standing ovation as he crossed the finish line under the night stars.
Nott said he was motivated to run well in order to honor his late sister Jill Watson. She died aged 52 last July after a battle with cancer.
“I wanted to perform better in honor of my sister who I lost to cancer the day after last year’s Badwater 135,” Nott said. “Last year extreme swelling in both feet, ankles and calves forced me to walk with ‘clubfoot’ for the last 40 kilometres. I knew I could improve and I had a goal. ambitious to beat 30 hours.
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Fewer than 2,000 people worldwide have completed the Badwater 135 since the first race over 30 years ago. The ultramarathon begins at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park and ends at the Mount Whitney Trailhead in California.
Riders follow a route that includes portions of a desert and three mountain ranges. There is a total of 14,600 feet of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100 feet of cumulative descent. They pass through checkpoints with names such as Furnace Creek, Salt Creek and Stovepipe Wells with the aim of completing the race in less than 48 hours.
Along with the length, runners also have to contend with some of the hottest temperatures in the United States. The high temperature in Death Valley on July 11 – the first day of the event – reached 122 degrees. Highs on July 12 and 13 were 123 and 122 degrees with overnight lows in the upper 90s.
Nott raced his first Badwater 135 last summer and crossed the finish line in 33 hours, 1 minute, 28 seconds. He decided to see if he could run the ultramarathon for the second time this year, and race officials accepted his application for one of the wanted spots.
Nott continued his training at Plattsmouth throughout the year and felt confident of his chances when he reached the starting line. He said his support team cheered him on every mile of the endurance run.
“My team of Jodi Semonell, Amanda Wilson and Brian Petersen were amazing in helping me achieve my goal!” Nott said.
Nott placed eighth in a field that included 94 people. Athletes in this year’s race came from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Greece, India, from Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea and Spain. , Sweden, United Kingdom, Venezuela and the Navajo Nation.
The 32 women and 62 men represented 28 states and ranged in age from 31 to 77. Several of the athletes were teachers and coaches like Nott, but the professions of the other runners ranged from financial advisers to lawyers to orthodontists.
Japanese resident Yoshihiko Ishikawa, 34, won the championship in 23:08:20. Spanish resident Ivan Penalba Lopez, 31, was second in 24:02:57 and Utah resident Ashley Paulson, 40, was third in 24:09:34.
Nott covered the first 17.5 miles of his race in 2 hours and 53 minutes. He reached the 108 mile mark in 22:21:00 and passed the Lone Pine checkpoint in 25:47:00. He covered the last 20.3 kilometers of mountainous terrain in less than four hours.
Nott became one of ten people aged 50 or over to complete the course in less than 30 hours. He also became the oldest runner to do so. Grant Maughan, from New South Wales, Australia, was 55 when he crossed the finish line in 28:30:33 in the 2019 race.