The hottest temperature in the world was recorded on a scorching July day in 1913 in California's Death Valley -- 134 degrees. With the region's potential for legendary heat in mind, a group of ambitious athletes set off Tuesday on a grueling 135-mile race that spanned more than 24 hours and three mountain ranges.
The high temperature reached 117 degrees -- about average for July in Death Valley -- during Tuesday's STYR Labs Badwater 135. The punishing course on what's billed as "the world's toughest foot race" isn't just long. It also has a vertical ascent of 14,600 feet, dishing out waves of challenging climbs over long stretches of road that disappear into a distant horizon. The starting line was at Badwater Basin salt flats, the lowest elevation in North America at 280 feet below sea level. Runners finish at Whitney Portal, at 8,360 feet.
The winner crossed the line in just under 25 hours. The last runner crossed the line at 46 hours, 10 minutes, 46 seconds.
Below, follow the runners on the emotionally and physically draining trek across Death Valley's dramatic landscape.