Tyler Runner Set To Tackle Death Valley - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/22/04 - Tyler

Tyler Runner Set To Tackle Death Valley

For some people, a marathon is just not enough. Doctor Mark Morris is getting ready for the Badwater Ultramarathon. 135 miles, with no scheduled breaks, through Death Valley.

"The way it felt at the hottest part of the race would be like getting into a big blow dryer, turning it on and running right down the barrel right into it," said Morris, "and it feels like that for 20 or 30 miles or more of it. It's pretty hot. The humidity last year was 36%. It got up to 126 degrees. That makes the effective heat index over 150. You know, you step out of your car when it's that hot and you look around to make sure there are people still alive."

Dr. Morris ran it last year, stopping twice for sleep, in 45 hours. He's working out again, running a marathon today just for practice. What pushes a man to cover that kind of ground?

"It's the best feeling in the world," said Morris. "All of your senses are heightened. Food tastes better, sleep tastes better, sitting down feels better. I guess it would be like a high on drugs, except it's good for you and legal."

So he pushes himself through the East Texas heat, knowing Death Valley waits for him. He will compete in the Badwater Ultra-marathon starting July 12.  He's the only Texan invited to run this year's 135 mile course.

Reid Kerr reporting.
rkerr@kltv.com

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