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Badwater 135: A photo gallery of the world's toughest race

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Beginning in Death Valley, 280 feet below sea level, and finishing at 8,350-feet, the Badwater Ultramarathon -- the toughest footrace in the world -- takes runners 135 miles through some of the planet's most unforgiving terrain.

The 36th edition of the Badwater Ultramarathon was held last week, taking runners 135 miles through Death Valley and up-and-down three mountain ranges, and all in heat that is routinely over 110 degrees.

The race was won by Carlos Alberto Gomes De Sá, a 39-year-old from Portugal, who finished the toughest road race in the world in 24 hours, 38 minutes and 16 seconds. Catherine Todd (29:55:29) was the first female finisher.

Meredith Dolhare, the Timex Multisport Team member who spoke with Stride Nation days before the race, was the third-place women's finisher (and 20th overall), crossing the finish in line 32 hours and 52 minutes.

Ninety-six runners started the race, but only 81 made it to the finish.

This photo gallery, with pictures from Getty Images' David McNew, capture the heat, the vast loneliness of Death Valley, and the pain -- both physical and mental -- runners experience at Badwater 135.