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Badwater 2019 has 1,000 stories ... but Oswaldo López will not be part of them this year

Madera’s Oswaldo López runs near Stovepipe Wells in the heat of the day during the 2015 Badwater 135. The 2011 champion will miss the race for the first time since he began in 2009.
Madera’s Oswaldo López runs near Stovepipe Wells in the heat of the day during the 2015 Badwater 135. The 2011 champion will miss the race for the first time since he began in 2009. jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

The 2019 edition of the world’s toughest foot race, as is always the case, will have 100 runners trying to run the 135 miles from Badwater Basin to Mt. Whitney Portals in the hottest time of the year through Death Valley.

There are also 1,000 stories for the Badwater 135 race which starts July 15 as the sun sets on the hottest spot on earth.

▪ Pete Kostelnick, who owns the record for fastest run from San Francisco to New York City (3,100 miles in 46 days, 8 hours, 30 minutes in 2016), will be there. The 31-year-old Missouri resident, who holds the Badwater 135 record in 21:56.31when he won his second consecutive Badwater , also covered the 5,900 miles from Alaska to Key West, Florida on foot in 98 days last year.

▪ Harvey Lewis, the 2014 champion, is a schoolteacher in Cincinnati who runs to work and back home every day. He broke into the top 10 fastest runners to complete the 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trial last July.

▪ Grant Maughan, a ship captain from Australia, has climbed Mt. Everest, taken part in the Iditarod and has plans to cross Alaska.

▪ Chris Moon is a double amputee from the United Kingdom who lost an arm and a leg while supervising a mine clearance in Mozambique. He finished the 2012 Badwater in just under 42 hours.

However, Madera resident Oswaldo López will not show up to run the race with cumulative elevation gains of more than 19,000. The 2011 champion finished fourth last year in 28:14.12 after dropping of the race the previous year and in 2014.

“I didn’t send in the application this year so that I can take a break and recuperate well and return next year more recharged,” said López, 47.

López has been a Badwater fixture since 2009 when he first ran, and has been a pacer in previous years.

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England’s Chris Moon got into ultrarunning after losing his left leg and arm to a booby-trapped landmine in Mozambique. He ran Badwater in 2012, and plans to return this year. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Race director Chris Kostman and Badwater veteran Andrea Casella Kooiman announced the 100 entries for this year’s race during a Facebook Live session on Friday morning that had several technical difficulties.

There are 29 women and 71 men, of which 49 are Badwater veterans and 51 are rookies. The runners represent 19 countries, from Argentina to Japan and India.

There are four entrants on the waiting list.

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Ray Sánchez of Sacramento and his pacer head toward Panamint Springs during the first day of the 2017 STYR Labs Badwater 135. He returns to the race for the 12th time in July. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

There will be no repeat winners this year. Men’s 2018 champion Michele Graglia and women’s winner Brenda Guajardo are not running.

The official list of Badwater entrants will be posted online on March 8.

Other entries include Sacramento engineer Ray Sánchez, who will try to finish his 12th consecutive Badwater.

This story was updated on Feb. 16 to correct the nationality of Grant Maughan.

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