Wichita Man Takes On Death Valley To Help Veterans

By: Jordan Shefte Email
By: Jordan Shefte Email

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July 6, 2012

Tony Clark runs in ultramarathons across the nation including Texas, Illinois, Colorado, and Wyoming. But right now, he's training for a race that heats things up a bit.

The race is Bad Water 135, an invitation only competition that features 100 runners from across the world.

It's a grueling one hundred thirty five miles, in one hundred twenty degree weather.

Add a steep elevation change, and you're looking at a dangerous feat.

But Tony's ready to tackle the task, not to prove something,
but for charity.

He's raising money for Gallant Few, a local veteran support network.

"It's a program that helps place veterans with jobs or mentors when they come out of the military," Clark said

The more money he earns, the more weight he'll tack on for the last 13 miles of the run.

Once $5,000 is earned, he'll add the camo pants and combat boots while he's running, then once he's hit $10,000, he'll add a backpack.

For every $1,000 after that, he'll add 2 1/2 pounds of sand up to 25 pounds. And at $20,000, he will add an American flag, to all of this.

"If I can go through 13 miles of pain to raise some awareness and some money, then it's all worth it to me in the end," Clark said.

This isn't the first time he's run in the race. Last year he competed, but wasn't satisfied with his finish time.

"I almost had the ultimate deal happen last year, I was borderline kidney failure," he said.

This year, he's chasing a 30 hour finish time, and he's developed some interesting training methods.

To replicate the heat from Death Valley, he's been running in a homemade 'heat box'.

With a space heater and four heat lamps, the area reaches temperatures of 120 degrees.

Preparing for the heat, envisioning the finish.

"To finish the world's toughest footrace and to have your wife and all your best friends right there with you, it's just, something you can't buy," Clark said.

If you are interested in making a tax-free donation to support Clark's cause, click here

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