One Bad(water) Marine

Badwater 135mile Ultra marathon – Worlds Toughest Footrace



For those of you that do not know me, my name is Tony Clark; I live in Wichita, Kansas and am a 6 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. For the last 3 summers my wife Angel and I have thought of ways to try and raise money for different veterans groups through running. I am not talking about a 5k or even a marathon, but real deal “make Tony suffer” pain, because the fact of the matter is we like to see others suffer, especially when it’s for a good cause!

Brief History

I have been running ultra marathons for about 6 years now (any distance over 26.2 miles). I have run 100mile races as far away as Hawaii and suffered greatly in mountains of Colorado and Wyoming. In 2010 we assembled a team that helped me run 224 miles across the State of Kansas in 59 ½ hours, we started at the Nebraska border and ran to Oklahoma, raising a little over $32,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. Last year, summer of 2011 I was invited to Badwater for the first time, we raised a bit over $10,000 for Operation Freedom Memorial, a veterans Memorial to be built here in Wichita.

What is Badwater?

The Badwater Ultra marathon is globally recognized as the “World’s Toughest Footrace”. It starts at the Badwater Basin 280ft below sea level, lowest point in the United States, in Death Valley, California on July 16th, yes I said Death Valley in July! Race day temp will reach upwards of 130 degrees and reach a cool 95 or so at night. This is an invitation only event and 100 runners from around the WORLD are handpicked by a race committee to participate. This year 16 countries, 18 nationalities, 2 Canadian Provinces and 19 American States will be represented, by far the most competitive field ever assembled.  We were invited last year and finished but made some serious “rookie” mistakes early on in the race that left me on the side of the road about mile 50 on the verge of kidney failure with severe dehydration, cramps, dizziness, hallucinations and diarrhea. My hand selected crew and all of their experience put me back together and gave me the “tough motivation” I needed to finish. By learning form my rookie mistakes at the race, we anticipate a much better finishing time at this year’s event!

Gallant Few and 2012 Badwater

This year we have chose Gallant Few, a 501(c)3 organization that helps veterans transition back into civilian life and gives them the tools, resources and assistance they need to be successful. Also, Gallant Few has started another organization I am very passionate about, Descendants of Sparta. This is an organization aimed at helping prevent veteran suicide and gives them an outlet to talk. This was all the idea of my good friend Army Veteran/Ranger Captain Karl Monger. He goes as far as to have his personal number on the front page of the website for direct contact of veteran in need; this speaks volumes for this organization. Please go to for more info.

 Tony’s Pain and donating

Now to the good stuff, the PAIN!! I know what you’re all thinking, “you’ve already finished Badwater once, what’s the big deal”?? I am going to take my Badwater experience to a whole new level, but your generosity will determine what level it goes too? Within the first 122 miles of this race we will cross two mountain ranges in constant scorching heat and some the roughest conditions on earth, sand storms are not uncommon. The final 13 miles of this race begin in a town called Lone Pine. At that point we have a 13 mile (half marathon) climb up the side of Mount Whitney. The race ends just below 9000’ at the portal to Mount Whitney, remember this race started at 280ft below sea level.  At Lone Pine my wife will contact Karl, he will let us know where the donations are at and the following will happen. The following amounts determine my gear for the final 13 miles up the mountain.

$5,000 – USMC approved Combat boots and Camouflage Bottom pants. (Boots and Ute’s)

$10,000 – We add a ruck sack (back pack)

$11,000 – $20,000 – We will add 2 ½ pounds of sand for every $1000 up to $20,000. So if we reach $20,000 that will be 25 pounds. I know what some of you hard chargers are thinking, 25pds that’s it? Keep in mind I will have 122 miles on my legs!

$20,000 and above – I will carry all of the above plus a 3 x5 American Flag up the mountain.


To our knowledge this has never been done. I am going to suffer up the mountain one way or another, you decide how. I will get to Lone Pine sometime on July 17th, Angel will make the call and my gear will be based on money in the bank, plain and simple.  We lose 18 veterans every day to suicide, that’s one every 80mins. You may not think your $5 or $10 makes a difference, but it does. It allows Karl and his team to keep charging forward and helping Veterans every day. Click on this link to donate.  Soon we will show progress towards my goal, to see my“Pain Tally”. I have asked Karl to keep the face book page for Gallant Few updated and you can go there on race day to see what I will be hiking up the mountain? If you are unable to donate, please at least pass this message on to someone who may be able to.

Thank you.

Semper Fi,

Tony Clark

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