Madera's Oswaldo Lopez finishes third at Badwater Ultramarathon

The Fresno BeeJuly 16, 2013 

Oswaldo Lopez’s remarkable consistency at the world’s toughest foot race continued Tuesday as the Madera ultrarunner finished third at the Badwater Ultramarathon.

Lopez, 41, completed the 135-mile course from Death Valley National Park to the base of Mount Whitney in 25 hours, 27 minutes, 3 seconds.

First place went to Carlos Sa of Portugal, whose finishing time of 24:38:16 was about 15 minutes faster than second-place Grant Maughan of Australia (24:53:57) and nearly 50 ahead of Lopez.

Lopez is the 2011 Badwater champion and has finished second three times. This was his fifth consecutive top 3 finish at the annual event held every July when temperatures in Death Valley routinely exceed 120 degrees.

Sa was 7 minutes ahead of Lopez at the 41-mile checkpoint (Stovepipe Wells) before the two converged on the climb to Father Crowley Point. They were together at 72 miles (Panamint Springs) and 90 miles (Darwin) before Sa pulled away in the early morning hours en route to Lone Pine.

Maughan trailed the leading duo throughout much of the race before passing Lopez in the Alabama Hills west of Lone Pine.

Lopez’s 2013 finishing time was nearly 2 hours slower than his personal record of 23:32:28, set last year when he took second.

The race begins at Badwater, 282 feet below sea level, and crosses two mountain ranges and the Owens Valley before ascending to 8,360-foot Whitney Portal.

Runners of Lopez’s caliber take only minimal breaks and are supported by their own crews.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6218 or marekw@fresnobee.com.

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