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Chicagoan Plans Unprecedented 600 Mile-Run Through Death Valley

By Justin Breen | March 30, 2017 5:51am | Updated on March 30, 2017 9:21am
 William Gane plans to run 600 miles through Death Valley this year. Gane with his mother, Margaret.
William Gane plans to run 600 miles through Death Valley this year. Gane with his mother, Margaret.
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CHICAGO — William Gane is more than quadrupling down after finishing the world's toughest race.

Gane in July became the third Chicagoan ever to finish what many consider the world's toughest running race, the Badwater 135. The Old Town resident completed the epic 135-mile trek from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, Calif. in 35 hours, 22 minutes and 34 seconds, joining Chicagoans Adrian Belitu and Nikki Seger, who both finished twice, with Seger taking more than 54 hours to complete one of her attempts.

This year, Gane plans an unprecedented feat: to run the Badwater 135 again, plus complete a 173-mile off-road crossing of Death Valley National Park and the 292-mile Badwater Double event, for a total of 600 miles.

Gane is hosting a "Talk It Out" session from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Live Grit, 1010 W. Monroe St., to discuss his upcoming adventure, which he hopes to finish in 12 days.

"I'm doing this, something no one has done before, in partnership with Chicago Foundation for Women, which invests in solutions to the most pressing challenges facing women and girls, and aims to achieve gender equity in the Chicago region by 2030," said Gane, a Northwestern graduate, native of England and vice president for technology firm Bureau van Dijk in the Loop.

Gane runs for two reasons: to inspire others and to promote gender equality. He was raised by a single mother, Margaret, and said that allowed him "witness gender inequality first-hand." Ultra-long-distance races also consistently show that women finish near or sometimes ahead of men, Gane said.

The Badwater 135 is considered by many to be the world's most difficult and dangerous ultra-distance run, although no one has ever died competing.