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Badwater Ultramarathon

Bomhoff braves Badwater

Granite Bay resident to run 135 miles in Death Valley
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Greg Bomhoff is used to people calling him crazy when they hear he’s running the Badwater Ultramarathon. That’s because the grueling, two-day footrace, beginning July 11, covers 135 miles from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, where temperatures can reach 130 degrees. Bomhoff, a property management executive from Granite Bay, also has a healthy dose of inspiration — and stubbornness, that he believes will get him to the finish. That combination has worked out well for him in the past. He finished the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run just one year after he started running in 2005, and is a two-time winner of the Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run. Being one of 100 ultrarunners selected to compete in Badwater was quite the feat itself, according to Bomhoff. “Badwater was kind of like the next logical stop,” Bomhoff said. “(The race application is) like an essay question exam. It’s like you are submitting a resume as opposed to a race application. They just want to make sure you really, really want to do it.” Bomhoff said he believes part of the reason he was chosen is because of his motivation for running, Go the Distance at Franklin Elementary, where his children attend school. Last year he gained national media attention when he ran for 24 hours straight around the school’s track. Proceeds of his run and a conjoining 5K run, totaling over $30,000, saved the physical education program at Franklin for two years. Bomhoff wants to instill the “go the distance” message to the Franklin community and uses that as his personal motivation. “Running for me is not that much fun. The day to day training can be just plain monotonous. Having something that I’m accountable of doing this for and a cause, it gives you more people to talk to about it,” Bomhoff said. “There is no way I can back out now. I actually train different because of this whole accountability.” The small field of athletes hails from 24 states and 19 countries. “I’m glad I got assigned to the final 10 a.m. start,” Bomhoff said. “Generally they start the fast guys out at that time. That means you will be starting on the same line with the best from all over the world.” Training has consisted of 5 a.m. sessions on his treadmill and long-runs on weekends. Under the fierce desert sun, Bomhoff said it’s his mind that will be the most powerful force. “Being mentally strong is as important as being physically strong, if not more important,” Bomhoff said. Two weeks ago, Greg Bomhoff and his dad and crew chief, Ron Bomhoff, took a trip to Death Valley for some preliminary runs. “Basically I have kind of set up a routine for how we are going cool him off and hydrate him,” Ron said. “Our routine will keep track of what he eats and help keep his sodium in balance.” Greg will consume an average of 270 calories and 30-50 ounces of water, per hour. Ron said the calories would come mainly in the form of a powder made by Hammer Nutrition that will be mixed with water into an easily-digestible goo. He has every confidence his son will finish the race under his 30-hour goal. “He is very determined, sometimes to his detriment. He doesn’t like to be told he can’t do something,” Ron said. “I feel privileged that I get to do something like this with my son.” Gina Anixter, of Granite Bay, has been Bomhoff’s partner in the Go Distance project. She will also be part of his crew in Death Valley, pacing him for 20 miles intermittently. Anixter, who is training for the Iron Man Triathlon in November, said Badwater is one of the ultimate challenges. “This is really one the hardest races in the world. I admire him and respect him, but think it’s a little bit nutty,” Anixter said. “He is running with a purpose, not just so that he can finish a race. He’s running knowing the Franklin community is really counting on him and he is representing us.” Anixter said although Greg isn’t running at Franklin, the community is still drawing inspiration from him. “He is actually quite gifted in his ability. He is not just an ultrarunner, but he an ultrarunner who actually wins races,” Anixter said. “He is an inspiration to the community of Loomis to get out and do something that is uncomfortable.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.