Furnace Creek 508 runs October 4 – 6

Ultramarathon event celebrates 25th anniversary

Bill Hanf racing the 2007 Furnace Creek 508.

The 34th edition of the Furnace Creek 508, billed as “The Toughest 48 hours in Sport,” will be held October 4-6, 2008.


The Furnace Creek 508 race course is 509.58 miles long and has a total elevation gain of over 35,000 feet, while crossing ten mountain passes, and stretching from Santa Clarita (just north of Los Angeles), across the Mojave Desert, through Death Valley, to Twenty Nine Palms.

This year’s Furnace Creek 508 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the 1983 John Marino Open, the predecessor to “The 508.” That inaugural race was won by Michael Secrest, setting the stage for his career as one of the dominant, most competitive, and most respected cyclists in the sport of ultracycling. Twenty-five years later and aged 55, Secrest will compete at Furnace Creek 508 this year.

“Since 1983, Michael has become the only athlete in history to set similar World Records in three consecutive decades,” said event organizer Chris Kostman. “Michael is the only cyclist to have ridden more than 500 miles in 24 hours in all three venues: Indoor Track, Outdoor Track and Road (not to mention 1216 miles in 24 hours while drafting a truck around a motor speedway). He is also the world transcontinental record holder. He will be at Furnace Creek 508 with the goal and intention of overall solo victory.

Designed as an endurance challenge, no drafting or pack riding is allowed in any division at Furnace Creek 508. There is a 48-hour time limit for the solo division and a 46-hour time limit for the relay team division.

The 2008 Furnace Creek 508 is dedicated to John Marino, the godfather of ultracycling, who created the Great American Bike Race, Race Across America, and Furnace Creek 508 in the early 1980s. The plaque he will receive on Friday evening recognizes him “for his pioneering vision as an athlete, for his unmatched leadership as a race director, for creating this event 25 years ago, for his friendship, wisdom, and support, and for being a guiding light and inspiration to cyclists across the USA and beyond.” John will be on hand at the pre-race meeting and working on the race staff during the weekend.


For more information, visit www.the508.com.