Into 'Valley of Death' strides Dunedin man

Everyone is looking for some heat come July. But Glenn Sutton is probably taking that to the extreme.

On July 21, the 40-year-old Dunedin man will line up in the Badwater race, a 217km running race in the searing heat of Death Valley in California.

Yes, Death Valley. As the name suggests, it is not a place for the faint-hearted.

Temperatures for the race in the eastern Californian desert are expected to be well above 50degC.

Eggs can be fried on the side of the road. The sun never lets up.

''You are running on tarmac and it is in the peak of summer. Last year, they reckoned it got up to 56degC. So yes, it is going to be reasonably warm.''

The father of three is not going in blind.

A joiner by trade, he put his carpentry skills to good use and built his own little bit of Death Valley in his garage.

He constructed a heat box, big enough to put a treadmill inside. The box is lined with insulation, with a couple of heaters installed.

He gets on the treadmill and away he goes.

Sutton said the box was working out well, although thermostats turned the heaters off just when the temperature climbed past 40degC.

He used the box every second day for 30-minute sessions, but would increase that as the race got nearer.

Sutton, who completed the Northburn 100 event in Central Otago last month, finishing second in just over 26 hours, said he was actually surprised to gain entry to the event.

Sutton, who was also doing Bikram Yoga in preparation, had run more than 20 marathons and other ultradistance events.

He was the only New Zealander in a field of 100 runners this year and was hoping for a time of between 30 and 35 hours. The winning time last year was just over 24 hours.

''I was looking round for an adventure, something a bit different, a challenge, I suppose.

''It is going to be tough. The first few hours it will be about the physical challenge. But, after that, it's all about the mental side of it.

''It's all about pacing yourself, not going too fast or too slow.

''You've got to be pushing yourself all the time and not giving up.''


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