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Runners race 135 miles in 120-degree heat

Keith Straw, 58, competes during the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley National Park, Calif. July 15, 2013.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
A crew member squeezes wet sponges over Oswaldo Lopez of Madera, Calif. during the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images
A competitor has his feet examined by a medic during the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley National Park, Calif., on July 15, 2013.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Billed as the toughest footrace in the world, the 36th annual Badwater 135 starts at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, 280 feet below sea level, where athletes begin a 135-mile non-stop run over three mountain ranges in extreme mid-summer desert heat to finish at 8,350 feet above sea level near Mount Whitney for a total cumulative vertical ascent of 13,000 feet. July 10 marked the 100-year anniversary of the all-time hottest world record temperature of 134 degrees, set in Death Valley where the average high in July is 116. A total of 96 competitors from 22 nations are attempting the run which equals about five back-to-back marathons. Previous winners have completed all 135 miles in slightly less than 24 hours.

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The first of three waves of runners start at the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images
Runners pass a heat danger warning sign during the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images
Double amputee Chris Moon of the U.K. runs in the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images
Lisa Smith-Blatchen of Driggs, Idaho receives first aid foot maintenance at Panamint Pass as night nears during the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images
A competitor passes the unofficial thermometer at Furnace Creek Visitor Center during the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images
Shannon Farar-Griefer, 52, of Hidden Hills, California (lying down), is attended to by her team after stopping to drink water as she competes in the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley National Park, Calif., on July 15, 2013.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
Oswaldo Lopez (near L) of Madera, California and Carlos Alberto of Portugal (near R) run wearing headlamp near Panamint Springs as night falls during the AdventurCORPS Badwater 135 ultra-marathon race on July 15, 2013 in Death Valley National Park, Calif.David McNew / Getty Images