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Badwater 135 Cools Down, Speeds Up in 2015

Death Valley temperatures gave runners a break in 2015.

The thermometer gave Badwater 135 runners a break—as much as Death Valley possibly could, anyway.

Due to new National Park Service regulations, Badwater runners started the 2015 race from Badwater Basin after sunset Tuesday, and were required to be at least 2,000 feet above sea level (50.5 miles into the race) by 10 a.m. Wednesday to adhere to the new regulations. Due to that, runners avoided the 110-plus degrees heat that makes the race famous—in part because it was a little cooler than normal in eastern California anyway. Runners started Tuesday night with temperatures in the 70s, and temperatures in Death Valley National Park barely eclipsed 100 degrees even during the heat of the day this week (the average high in July at Death Valley is about 115 degrees).

Pete Kostelnick was the winner of the 2015 race, reaching Whitney Portal in 23:27:10—winning by more than two hours. It was the fastest finishing time since 2012, and just 36 minutes off the course record.

Nikki Wynd was first female and fourth overall in a time of 27:23:27.

Past champions to finish the 2015 race include Oswaldo Lopez (2nd, 25:28:32), Pam Reed (12th, 31:24:34) and Harvey Lewis (48th, 39:12:22).

RELATED: Badwater Goes Forward With New Restrictions in Place