Bomhoff reflects on his feat in the heat
The sound of noisemakers and cheering fans erupted outside of Greg Bomhoff’s home Wednesday night, welcoming him back from his brush with Death Valley.
Bomhoff, 43, of Granite Bay, took 20th place Tuesday, in the Badwater Ultramarathon, a grueling 135 mile foot-race, from Death Valley to Mount Whitney. The race featured 94 of some of the world’s best ultrarunners, battling it out in temperatures near 120 degrees. Even when the going got tough — and it did, Bomhoff grinded it out.
He said he knew he wasn’t just going the distance for himself, but for the entire Franklin Elementary School community, located in Loomis. After 128 miles, Bomhoff had to stake-out for medical attention before going on to finish the race.
“I had the race of a lifetime. When we got to the Whitney Portal I was in sixth place on pace to finish a little under 28 hours and just had a total shutdown,” Bomhoff said. “We tried to just go a half mile at time. It just wasn’t happening to the point where I’d get really dizzy, then couldn’t walk, then couldn’t stand. We checked into our hotel and rested for a bit, and I got some food in me and drove back out.”
Even with the break he took, Bomhoff finished in 34 hours, 6 minutes and three seconds (Oswaldo Lopez of Madera finished first with a time of 23:41). Bomhoff said his feat in the heat has raised about $10,000 for the Go the Distance Program at Franklin. The proceeds benefit the school’s struggling physical education program, which was facing elimination because of budget cuts.
“You can’t not finish. There was never a doubt. I didn’t come this far not to finish,” Bomhoff said. “That’s the whole Go the Distance message — it’s push yourself until you get the job done.”
Although Bomhoff walked the last seven miles up Mount Whitney, he said he felt triumphant at the finish.
“When we did cross the finish line I was in good spirits,” Bomhoff said. “I have no regrets. I won’t leave here with any disappointments.”
Fans in Loomis and Granite Bay, like Lori Jorgensen, eagerly tracked his progress on Facebook and Twitter. Bomhoff has paced Jorgensen and his wife Sheri Bomhoff in races they have run together, including the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run.
“I know it’s to raise money for our school, but just the biggest thing to me is it’s brought people together. It’s something our kids get excited about and inspired by,” Jorgensen said.
Last year, Bomhoff ran for 24 hours straight around the track at Franklin for Go the Distance. That, accompanied by a 5K, raised nearly $30,000 to keep the P.E. program running. Bomhoff is also a two-time winner of the Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance run and has completed the Western States 100 Mile Endurance run.
“I call him Bionic Bomhoff,” Jorgensen said. “For him there are just no limits. Not very many people have that mental capability.”
Reach Sara Seyydin at firstname.lastname@example.org.