Artsakh Ultra by Badwater

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In 2020, Join Badwater for a Brand New Vision of Stage Racing in the Republic of Artsakh!
On August 30 through September 4, 2020, AdventureCORPS will host a six-day, point-to-point, 160-mile (260km) trail running stage race in the Republic of Artsakh, the democratic, Christian, Armenian homeland located just east of Armenia itself.
Formerly known as Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet era, this is a fascinating, wonderful country that few people have even heard of, and even less have visited. We aim to change both of those facts by bringing runners from all over the world to Artsakh! In 2020, we hope to have 50 runners representing at least ten different countries participating.
Read the full press release about the Artsakh Ultra™ here.

The race will be organized in a “stage race” format, in which runners will run a certain section of the Janapar Trail each day. Each day’s “stage” will be timed separately, and overall results will be calculated by adding all six days’ times together. The first stage will be 22mi (36km); the next four stages will vary from 26 to 34 miles (42 to 55km), while the final stage will be 16mi / 26km. With a total distance of 160km (260km), there is a total of 26,000 feet (8000m) of elevation gain along the route. See the Route & Schedule tab for all the info about each stage, and the Route Gallery tab for images of the entire race route.

Racer check-in and gear check will take place in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, while runners will enjoy restaurant dining that night and an overnight at an excellent Yerevan hotel. The next morning we will board buses for the three-hour drive across Armenia to our start line.

Beginning in the northeastern Armenian city of Vardenis at the start of the Janapar Trail, after 15 miles (24km) and at the top of a 9000-foot (2743m) pass, competitors in the Artsakh Ultra will leave Armenia and cross into the Republic of Artsakh. From here they will follow the Janapar Trail – with a few side diversions to see ancient sites – and transect the majority of this magnificent country. The six nights on the trail will include tent camping the first three nights and hotel stays the final three nights.

As we want you to focus on the running and the overall experience, luggage transport will be provided each day.  Also, all breakfast and most dinner meals will be provided. (Runners will provide their own energy food while running, and will be on their own for restaurant dining on two nights: in Vank and Stepanakert.) Runners will stay in large tents the first three nights, enjoy natural hot springs on nights two and three, and will stay in hotels on the fourth, fifth and sixth nights of the race.

While the route will be incredibly beautiful and challenging, the race itself will also be a culturally immersive experience. Each day’s route will pass through one or more villages, while the overnights will be in or near villages and cities. Runners will eat the local, super healthy, incredibly fresh food. They will enjoy Armenian music, dance, and culture. Along the way, the runners will visit – sometimes “off the clock” – 1000-year-old Armenian churches, monasteries, and archaeological sites. Also, other than the race director, the entire race staff will be Armenians. And while each competitor will run as part of an international field of runners, they will be embraced, surrounded, and supported by the people of Artsakh and their Armenian food, music, language, and culture.

This event is supported by the Government of Artsakh and AdventureCORPS’ local charitable partner is Trails For Change NGO, the organization which is developing and signposting the trail.

The race will start in Vardenis, Armenia and cross into the Republic of Artsakh during the first day’s stage, which will conclude in Tsar, Artsakh.

Leaving Tsar, the race route will follow the Janapar Trail and pass through the Artsakhian villages and towns of Karvajar, Zuar, Dadivank, Vank, Gandzasar, Kolatak, and Patara during the first five days.


Stage five will finish in the gorgeous capital city of Artsakh – Stepanakert – at the “We Are Our Mountains” sculpture affectionately known as “Tatik-Papik.” Created in 1967 (like your race director), this is the symbol of Artsakh, and will also be the symbol of this race, featured in the race logo, t-shirt, hat, race magazine, and finisher awards.

Stage 6 will finish in the historic city of Shushi. This final stage will include an out-and-back leg through fabled Hunot Canyon, one of the world’s most beautiful places and home to the awe-inspiring Umbrella Waterfall.
After a turn-around at the waterfall in the bottom of of Hunot Canyon, the race will finish back in Shushi with an overnight in hotels and a celebratory evening with Armenian food, music, and a final deep immersion in Artsakhzi culture. Buses will transport runners back to Yerevan the next morning for flights back home that evening.

2020 ENTRY: REGISTER NOW!

We opened registration on October 7, 2019 for the 2020 race! See who is currently registered. Please click the Entry & Support tab on this page for all the details! Click here for the Press Release!
Entry in the 2020 Artsakh Ultra is open to experienced ultra runners who have officially completed, at the minimum, at least one 50-mile or longer running race OR a full-Ironman-distance triathlon. Experience running multi-day trail stage races is highly recommended, but not strictly required.
Artsakh Ultra is, effectively, an invitational event. As such, AdventureCORPS, the organizers of Artsakh Ultra, reserve the right to refuse entry to any person they deem incapable of completing the event or not suitable – in any manner – for the event. This includes the right to cancel the entry of anyone already registered.
Participants in the race are expected to be able to complete all six stages of the race under their own power and comfortably within each day’s time limit; provision for driving or shuttling runners who cannot run is very limited. Please do not enter unless you plan to train properly and show up prepared for six days of trail running through rugged, remote terrain. Though we will offer water checkpoints (and self-serve spring water) and occasionally pass local stores and cafés, self-sufficiency along the course will also be required.
Field Limit: 50 runners.
RosterClick here to see who is currently registered.
Country Quotas: One of the goals of this event is to bring runners from as many different nations as possible.Our goal for 2020 is to have at least ten nationalities represented, preferably more. As such, we will have quotas (field limits) for each nation: For this first race in 2020, we anticipate limiting the field to 20 USA citizens and limiting most other nationalities to no more than 5 runners. The organizers reserve right to change quotas and the number of participants. For this purpose, and for securing visas from Artsakh, a high-resolution scan of each runner’s passport will be required upon registration for the race.
Entry Fee: The early bird discounted entry fee is US$2900, which will rise to $3200 on March 1; the fee can be paid fully upon registration, or a $1000 deposit may be sent, followed by the remaining balance no later than June 1, 2020.
*Entry Fee for Armenian Citizens Residing Full-Time in Armenia or Artsakh: Very special pricing is available; please contact us for details.
Refunds: Refunds – less $500 – are available until June 1, upon written request. Entry fees and deposits are strictly non-transferable.
What’s Included:
• Hotel Rooms for Four Nights: Occupancy will be 2, 3, or 4 runners per room at the organizers’ discretion. Locations: Yerevan on October 29 (pre-race), Vank on September 2 (end of Stage 4), Stepanakert on September 3 (end of Stage 5), and Shushi (end of Stage 6) on September 4. Those needing a hotel room in Yerevan on September 5 (after we drive back to Armenia at the conclusion of the race) will pay an additional $100, double-occupancy. (Most runners will be able to fly out that evening or night from Yerevan Airport and thus won’t require that additional hotel overnight stay.)
• Shuttle from Yerevan Airport to the host hotel in Yerevan upon arrival in Armenia. Likewise, shuttles back to Yerevan Airport at the conclusion of the race.
• Bus Transportation from Yerevan to Vardenis (three-hour drive, prior to Stage 1) on August 30.
• Bus Transportation from Shushi to Yerevan on September 5 (five-hour drive, the day after the final stage.)
• Tent Camping on August 30 (end of Stage 1), August 31 (end of Stage 2), and September 1 (end of Stage 3.)
• Breakfast each morning.
• Dinners at the end of Stages 1, 2, and 3, plus a finish line buffet followed by a catered dinner at the end of Stage 6. (Runners will eat on their own in hotel-adjacent restaurants after Stage 4 in Vank and Stage 5 in Stepanakert.)
• Baggage Transport throughout the race. (Runners only must carry running clothing, gear, water, and food while running.) Bag size and weight will be limited, but will be sufficient to carry clothing, camping gear, and food for the duration.
• Very detailed, laminated Route Cards will provided for each stage which include the location of potable water springs along the route, stores, and tourist facilities where water and sometimes food may be purchased, along with all of the routing details, elevation profile, and map. Additionally, we will provide one or two Water Stops along the route each day, as needed.
• Course Marking.
• Any Entry Fees associated with visiting Dadivank Monastery, Gandzasar Monastery, Zuar Hot Springs, and other tourist sites.
• Tourist Visa to visit the Republic of Artsakh. (See below under “What’s Not Included” for info about visas for Armenia.)
• Various cultural and festival activities along the route.
• Medical Support. (However, all runners must show proof of Evacuation Insurance.)
• Commemorative Items (Artsakh Ultra Magazine / Route Book, T-Shirt, Hat and more) and a Finisher’s Belt Buckle.
What’s NOT Included:
• Travel expenses (airfare, etc.) to and from Yerevan, Armenia.
• Running Food and Snacks: Please bring enough of your favorite energy foods, gels, powders, and bars for six days of running. Also bring afternoon snacks for at least the three first stages which finish at remote campsites. Note that some stages will pass small stores where you will be able to purchase food and drinks. Also, all runners must bring and wear a large hydration vest for carrying sufficient water along the route. See the Mandatory Gear & Packing List tab for more info on the gear you will need.
• Dinner in Vank (end of Stage 4) and in Stepanakert (end of Stage 5): Runners will enjoy local cuisine at hotel-adjacent restaurants on their own.
• Dinner, hotel, etc. upon return to Yerevan the day after the conclusion of the race. (We can arrange a hotel room on your behalf that night if you are not able to fly out that evening.)
• Evacuation of you or your body.
• Visas are required for nationals of the following countries for visiting Armenia; runners from those countries must obtain a visa as necessary. All else are exempted and may visit Armenia without a visa.
• You may not bring along a non-running friend, family member, spouse, or dog. This event is organized for runners only, plus the race staff. But by the end of it, everyone will feel like family to you! That said, there is plenty to do in both Armenia and Artsakh which can keep your family and friends occupied and entertained while you run the Artsakh Ultra! We would be happy to advise on this.
We recommend that each runner change the equivalent of at US$100-150 into Armenian Drams for spending along the route for snacks and souvenirs.
For further details about the route, overnight accommodations, and support provided, and more, please visit the Route tab on this page.
Remember, refunds – less $500 – are available until June 1, upon written request. Entry fees and deposits are strictly non-transferable.
Please Also Study the “Frequently Asked Questions” tab before registering for the event!
To register, visit our RunReg page at this link. (If you would like to avoid the RunReg surcharges for paying via credit card, use coupon code ARTSAKH_CHECK to submit all of your information through the site and then mail your payment accordingly to AdventureCORPS, Inc. We must receive your check within one week of your online registration.) Please note that your place in the event may only be held through payment of the $1000 deposit and entry is not fully completed until the entire entry fee of $3200 is received.
Stages will start and finish in or near villages each day. Runners will pass by waterfalls, hot springs, and thousand-year-old churches and monasteries and through a dozen Artsakhian villages on a combination of single-track trails, jeep tracks, dirt roads, and short connecting paved roads. A tent village will be set up each night for the first three stages, while the last three stages will include overnights in hotels and restaurants or catered dining (in Stepanakert and Shushi.) Personal and overnight gear will be transported by the organizers throughout the race; runners will only need to wear and carry what they need to use and eat on the trail each day. All breakfasts and all but two dinners will be provided; see the Race Overview table and the rest of the information below for all the details.
With a total distance of 160km (260km), there is a total of 26,000 feet (8000m) of elevation gain along the route.

Artsakh Ultra Schedule:

Date Stage Start Finish Distance Elevation Gain Sleep Notes
Aug 29, Saturday Racer Check-In Yerevan Yerevan 0 0 Yerevan Hotel  
Aug 30, Sunday Stage 1 Vardenis Tsar 22.25 miles / 36km 3000′ / 1000m Tsar Camping 3-hour drive to start
Aug 31, Monday Stage 2 Tsar Zuar Tak Jur 34 miles / 55km 4400’ / 1382m Zuar Camping Hot Springs at finish
Sept 1, Tuesday Stage 3 Zuar Tak Jur Zuar Tak Jur 30 miles / 48km 1800’ / 555m Zuar Camping “, Out-and-Back route
Sept 2, Wednesday Stage 4 Zuar Tak Jur Gandzasar 25.8 Miles / 42km 5127’ / 1563m Vank Hotel Restaurant Dining
Sept 3, Thursday Stage 5 Vank Stepanakert 30.5 miles / 50km 6200’ / 1890m Stepanakert Hotel Restaurant Dining
Sept 4, Friday Stage 6 Stepanakert Shushi 16 miles / 26km 5256’ / 1600m Shushi Hotel Catered Dinner
Sept 5, Saturday Drive to Yerevan Shushi Yerevan Five-hour drive Fly home this evening Hotel, if needed Fly out of Yerevan
Stage-by-Stage Route Details:
Stage 1: Vardenis, Armenia > Tsar, Artsakh
22.25 miles / 36km with 3300’ / 1000m of elevation gain: See route on Strava / on Garmin.
After an early breakfast at our hotel in Yerevan, runners will board buses for a three-hour drive from the Armenian capital, along the shores of gorgeous Lake Sevan, to the north-eastern Armenian city of Vardenis. Box lunches will be provided for all runners for the drive. Upon arrival in Vardenis, runners will get ready, and then we will have a brief start line event which will include a blessing by the priest of the main church in Vardenis. Then the race will begin!
Runners will quickly leave town, heading east towards and into the mountains. The route will be a broken pavement road through a few villages, then a dirt road up, up, up into the wide-open, mostly empty mountains which delineate the border between Armenia and Artsakh.
From a start line at 6366′ (1940m), runners will ascent to a 9000′ (2743m) pass at mile 14.8  (24km) which is also the border with Artsakh. Runners should be prepared for the possibility of a dramatic change in weather along this stage as they ascend the mountains; rain and chilly temperatures are possible at higher elevations, including during late summer. From the summit and border, the route is mostly downhill to the village of Tsar where our local friends will greet us and support our overnight camp.
The tent village will be located in front of the local school (which currently has five students.) Each tent, holding up to ten people each, will be named for a town in Artsakh and runners will be assigned to specific tents for the first three nights of the race.
A shish kebab dinner (“khorovats”) with bread, cheese, and veggies will be served. Hot water will be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal.
STAGE 1 SCHEDULE:
530: Early Breakfast at Yerevan hotel
620:  Sunrise
630:  Load Bus
645:  Bus Departure to Vardenis
1000: Arrive Astvatsatsin Church, Vardenis
1045: Priest blessing
1100: Race Start
1400: Finish Line Ready
1800: Last Finisher (7 hours)?
1900: Cut-Off (8 hours; 21.5-minute-per-mile pace)
1920: Sunset
Evening:  Camp Dinner
Overnight: Tsar Village (Tent City at Tsar School)
Stage 1 Support:
Mile 5.7: Checkpoint with Water
Mile 10.5: Spring Water
Mile 13.1: Spring Water
Mile 14.8: Checkpoint with Water (Artsakh Border; 9000′ summit)
Mile 22.25: Finish Line in the village of Tsar
Below is the elevation profile and map of the route for Stage 1. See the Route Gallery for images of the route. Also, later we will have maps professionally drawn of each stage.

Stage 2: Tsar to Zuar Hot Springs (“Zuar Tak Jur”)
34 miles / 55km with 4400’ / 1382m of elevation gain: See route on Strava / on Garmin.
Breakfast at our Tent Village will include bread, cheese, veggies, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, tea, and coffee. Hot water will also be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal or hot breakfast cereal.
Today’s stage will be led out by Telma Altoon and the children of Tsar. After that, the runners will drop down a rocky single-lane road into the canyon carved and dominated by the Tartar River. Spectacular scenery includes a 12th century stone bridge and then the “Symphony of Rock” geological phenomenon during the uphill approach to the small city of Karvachar. After 11 miles downhill followed by a short climb, in the town of Karvachar we will have a checkpoint in front of a local store / market where runners can purchase drinks, fruit, pastries, and much more.
Following the Tartar River further downstream, we will turn right at the village of Nor Verinshen and begin our climb up and over the mountains to the adjacent Tutkhun River canyon wherein lies our finish line. This ascent is 6.4mi / 10km and climbs 5700′ / 1737m on a dirt road / Jeep track. After a few rollers, we will descend 2400′ / 730m over the final 6.4mi / 10km to our finish line next to the Tutkhun River.
Our Tent Village be located next to the Tutkhun River, just a few hundred meters upstream from the natural hot springs (“tak jur” ) along its bank. Runners will be able to enjoy the hot springs this evening, and the following evening, as we will stay at this camp location for two consecutive nights. (Tomorrow’s stage is an out-and-back.)
A shish kebab dinner (“khorovats”) with bread, cheese, and veggies will be served. Hot water will be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal.
Stage 2 Schedule:
530: Wake-Up and Breakfast
620: Sunrise
630: Race Start: Local children lead runners out
800-900: Karvachar Checkpoint at local market: purchase as needed
1230: Finish Line Ready
1730: Last Finisher. (11 hours)?
1830: Cut-Off (12 hours; 21-minute-per-mile pace)
1920: Sunset
Evening:  Camp Dinner
Overnight: Zuar Tak Jur Campsite
Stage 2 Support:
Mile 4.2: Checkpoint with Water (Photo at ancient stone bridge)
Mile 12.3: Checkpoint at local market in Karvachar: purchase as needed
Mile 16.1 Checkpoint with Water at turn-off to Nor Verinshen (next to local store; purchase as needed)
Mile 20: Spring Water
Mile 21.3: Spring Water
Mile 22.1: Spring Water
Mile 28: Checkpoint with Water at Zuar Loop Junction
Mile 34: Finish Line at Zuar Tak Jur Campsite
Below is the elevation profile and map of the route for Stage 2. See the Route Gallery for images of the route. Also, later we will have maps professionally drawn of each stage.

Stage 3: Zuar Hot Springs > Dadivank Monastery > Zuar Hot Springs
30 miles / 48km with 1800’ / 555m of elevation gain: See route on Strava (not yet available on Garmin).
Breakfast at our Tent Village will include bread, cheese, veggies, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, tea, and coffee. Hot water will also be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal or hot breakfast cereal.
Today’s stage is an out-and-back, so we will return to this campsite tonight again. Our destination – and turn-around point – is the magnificent 9th century monastery of Dadivank.
The route follows the dirt road downstream (and gently downhill) along the Tutkhun River through the village of Zuar to the north-south highway at mile 10.8 / 17.5km. There is a very nice, modern café, bakery, and mini-mart at this intersection where runners may purchase all manner of food, drinks, and snacks. The only significant section of paved road of the whole race follows, about 4 miles / 6.4km down the two-lane highway, followed by a .75mi / 1.2km uphill to Dadivank Monastery on a steep, curvy road.
There will be a checkpoint located at Dadivank at the snack bar / restrooms, and runners will be given up to 30 minutes “off the clock” to explore the monastery. It’s a dramatic, gorgeous setting with over one millennium of history! This time off the clock will be deducted at the finish line so that every runner may take the time to properly enjoy Dadivank.
From here, the runners will turn around and retrace their steps back up the highway, and then up the gentle uphill dirt road along the Tukthun River through Zuar to our campsite just beyond the hot springs.
Today’s route has just two turns in each direction and is – by far – the “easiest” stage in terms of elevation gain and running surface. (But, it is still a full 50km ultramarathon!)
As it was last night, our Tent Village be located next to the Tutkhun River, just a few hundred meters upstream from the natural hot springs (“tak jur” ) along its bank. Runners will be able to enjoy the hot springs this evening once again as we spend a second night camped at this location.
A shish kebab dinner (“khorovats”) with bread, cheese, and veggies will be served. Hot water will be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal.
Stage 3 Schedule:
530: Wake-Up and Breakfast
620: Sunrise
630: Race Start
815-1000: Dadivank Checkpoint (runners may take up to 30 minutes “off the clock” for visiting Dadivank)
1130: Finish Line Ready
1630: Last Finisher (10 hours)?
1830: Cut-Off (12 hours; 24-minute-per-mile pace)
1920: Sunset
Evening:  Camp Dinner
Overnight: Zuar Tak Jur Campsite
Stage 3 Support (Today’s route is relatively easy and we anticipate that runners can run it without any water provided by the organizers (using the cafés to get supplies), but if we have high heat we will add a water checkpoint mid-way along the 10.8-mile stretch of dirt road between the start/finish and the highway):
Mile 10.8: Checkpoint at Café / Restaurant / Bakery / Store at highway junctions: purchase as needed; has WiFi
Mile 15.5: Checkpoint with Water at Dadivank Monastery with snack bar and restrooms: purchase as needed. (Runners make take up to 30 minutes “off the clock” here.)
Mile 20.2: Checkpoint at Café / Restaurant / Bakery / Store at highway junction: purchase as needed; has WiFi
Mile 31: Finish Line at Zuar Tak Jur Campsite
Below is the elevation profile and map of the route for Stage 3. See the Route Gallery for images of the route. Also, later we will have maps professionally drawn of each stage.

Stage 4: Zuar Hot Springs > Andzavner > Vank > Gandzasar (overnight in Vank)
25.8 Miles / 42km with 5127’ / 1563m of elevation gain: See route on Strava / on Garmin.
Breakfast at our third and final morning in the Tent Village will include bread, cheese, veggies, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, tea, and coffee. Hot water will also be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal or hot breakfast cereal.
Beginning at our camp site at an elevation of 4600′ / 1400m, there is a short run down the dirt road and past the Tak Jur. Shortly thereafter, we will cross the Tukthun River. In 2019 there was a fallen tree across the river upon which some could scramble. Otherwise, everyone should expect to get their feet wet around mile 1.
After crossing the river, it’s a long, relatively gentle uphill on a Jeep track to a false summit at mile 3.6 and then up an increasingly steeper ascent to the actual summit at mile 7.6 (elevation 7000′ / 2133m.)
At this point, save a few small rollers, the route is 95% downhill to mile 24 (38.6km.)
Today’s route is the most remote of the entire race and there will likely be no race support (and definitely no stores nor spring water) until the one-man village of Andzavner (which means “cave” due to the large cave nearby) at mile 10.25.  We will have a checkpoint here at the spring. Then runners will continue down a dirt road – with many creek crossings, depending on rain – through pasture land to the funky, eclectic town of Vank.
We join a paved road at mile 22 in Vank and pass some kind of a water park, the mountain lion (a lion carved into the mountain), a hotel, Roman columns and statues, cars on display atop pillars, a giant eagle, and much more while passing through town. In the center of town, you’ll make a hard left and then climb 400′ (122m) over .8 of a mile (1.3km) on a paved road to your race director’s favorite spot in all of Artsakh, Gandzasar Monastery, located at mile 25.8 (40.2km) located at 4000′ (1220m).
This is a finish line setting you will never forget, a glorious, spectacular, 1000-year-old monastery covered in hundreds of carved details and sitting atop the mountain with an incredible view of Vank below and the entire surrounding area.
You will want to step inside the monastery to take in the history and its aura. As a sacred place, legs must be covered and women must wear a simple scarf over their hair; we will provide what you need so you can take in this peaceful, ethereal setting.
There’s also a museum next door and we will cover your entry fee if you’d like to visit.
After you’ve had your fill of Gandzasar, we will shuttle you down the hill back into Vank where we will all stay at the aptly named Eclectica Hotel. Read about it here. Runners will be placed 2, 3, or 4 to a room and we will keep tentmates together as much as possible.
Runners will be on their own for dinner tonight, and will enjoy Armenian cuisine at one or more hotel-adjacent restaurants. There’s also a zoo here (with a lion, if you can believe it), the “license plate wall,” and other local attractions. Read about Vank here.
Stage 4 Schedule:
530:  Wake-Up and Breakfast
620:  Sunrise
630:  Race Start
930-1200:  Andzavner Checkpoint with Water (Mile 10.25)
1230:  Finish Line Ready
Afternoon: Runners may visit Gandzasar Monastery and the Gandzasar Museum at the finish line, then will be shuttled down the hill from Gandzasar down to Vank
1630:  Last Finisher (10 hours)?
1830:  Cut-Off (12 hours; 28-minute-per-mile pace)
1920:  Sunset
Evening:  Runners eat at hotel-adjacent restaurants on their own
Overnight: Vank (Eclectica Hotel)
Stage 4 Support (Today’s route is very remote, but if we have high heat, we will add an additional water checkpoint around Mile 5):
Mile 10.25: Andzavner Checkpoint with Water
Mile 16.5: Checkpoint with Water
Mile 22.5: Hotel and Snack Bar
Mile 25.8: Finish Line
Below is the elevation profile and map of the route for Stage 4. See the Route Gallery for images of the route. Also, later we will have maps professionally drawn of each stage.

Stage 5: Vank > Hakobvank > Kachaghakaberd > Patara > Stepanakert
30.5 miles / 50km with 6200’ / 1890m of elevation gain: See route on Strava / on Garmin.
While there’s no way to top Gandzasar as a finish line, today’s finish will certainly match it!
Today’s stage will also go down in your memory as the most dramatic and most “epic” of the entire six days of the Artsakh Ultra!
After breakfast at a local restaurant, we will depart Vank and the Eclectica Hotel on jeep tracks through fields and forests, eventually reaching the abandoned monastery of Hakobvank (“Hakob” is Armenian for Jacob, and “Vank” means monastery) at mile 5.9. There is spring water and we will have a checkpoint which will allow runners ten minutes “off the clock” to explore the ruins of Hakobvank.
You will be able to look across the wide valley (carved by the Kolotak River far below you) from here, and up to the dramatic peak of Kachaghakaberd (“magpie fortress”), literally the high point of today’s route.
Heading down the mountain from Hakobvank, you’ll pass through the town of Kolotak and down to the bottom of the Kolotak River canyon. You’ll cross the river on an awesome wooden bridge, and then immediately begin the ascent of Kachaghakaberd. The trail will switchback some, but will climb relentlessly for two miles until a brief reprieve on a jeep track. Every so often, you’ll catch a sight of the awesome peak above you, ever so slowly getting closer and closer.
After one mile on the jeep track, you’ll make a hard left onto a singletrack uphill trail. It’s actually more of a scramble as you tackle the final ascent to Kachaghakaberd. (Our local charitable partner, Trails For Change NGO, is currently discussing building a proper trail with the Artsakh government. It may be completed before the race, but this will still prove a dramatic final ascent.)
During our recent reconnaissance, Kachaghakaberd and its adjacent mountains were shrouded in fog and cool temperatures, and certainly this type of mountain range is known for “attracting” fog and moisture. As always, runners should be prepared for inclement weather.
After a final scramble up to a notch, there’s a hard right and a few dozen meters to the actual summit. We guarantee you will heave a sigh of relief and feel a massive sense of accomplishment when you reach this peak!
“It was very difficult to get to the fortress, hence its name. The invaders tried to climb the rocks near the fortress and failed each time. The only living things other than Armenians that managed to reach Kachaghakaberd were birds. That’s how the fortress was named “Magpie Fortress”, from where an amazing panorama of the high mountains and the Tartar River opened.” – Artavazd Khloyan
We’ll have a checkpoint here with no supplies, just to make sure you’re doing OK and to take your photo. Then you’ll head down down down the other side of the mountain, eventually reaching a water spring and then the village of Patara. There’s an unnamed but well-stocked mini-mart in the town square where you’ll probably want to get a soda and a pastry. Then, onwards to Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh!
But… that’s still 13 miles / 20km away! You’ll traverse fields, forests, and many stretches of “tree tunnel” before passing through the village of Aygestan and then reaching the Stepanakert city limit sign. Now you will smell the barn, and accelerate your pace to the finish line at the “Tatik-Papik / We Are Our Mountains” sculpture atop a hill on the outskirts of Stepanakert!
Here you will be greeted by a dance troupe in classic Artsakhian costume (with one member you just might recognize) and pose for photos with them and Tatik-Papik. We guarantee this is another finish line you will never forget!
With today’s 30.5 miles (50km) stage with 6200’ (1890m) of elevation gain behind you, we’ll shuttle you into town for a luxurious overnight at the Armenia Hotel in downtown Stepanakert.
Runners will be on their own for dinner tonight, and will enjoy Armenian cuisine at one or more hotel-adjacent restaurants. There’s a fantastic restaurant literally across the street, but many other restaurants, cafés, tea shops, and even a pizza joint are available in town. Even on tired legs, you may want to do some exploring in a city that we firmly believe is well on its way to becoming the world’s greatest small capital city!

Stage 5 Schedule:
530:  Wake-Up and Breakfast
620:  Sunrise
630:  Race Start
715-830:  Hakobvank Checkpoint with Water at Mile 6 (Runners may take up to 10 minutes “off the clock” for visiting the site)
930-1230:  Kachaghakaberd Checkpoint; no support
1230:  Finish Line Ready
Afternoon: Music and dance troupe at finish line
1330:  First Finisher?
1730:  Last Finisher (11 hours)?
1830:  Cut-Off (12 hours; 28-minute-per-mile pace)
1920:  Sunset
Evening:  Runners eat at restaurants on their own
Overnight: Stepanakert (Armenia Hotel)

Stage 5 Support:
Mile 0, Start Line: Spring Water
Mile 5.9: Checkpoint with Spring Water at Hakobvank Monastery (Runners make take up to 10 minutes “off the clock” here to explore the monastery.)
Mile 9.3: Checkpoint with Water at wooden bridge over the Kolotak River (beginning of the Kachaghakaberd ascent)
Mile 12.5: Checkpoint; no support (Photo at summit of Kachaghakaberd)
Mile 16.3: Spring Water
Mile 18.1: Mini-Mart on left in town square of Patara (bottom of Kachaghakaberd descent)
Mile 25.5: Checkpoint with Water in village of Aygestan
Mile 30.55: Finish Line at “Tatik-Papik / We Are Our Mountains” sculpture in Stepanakert

Below is the elevation profile and map of the route for Stage 5. See the Route Gallery for images of the route. Also, later we will have maps professionally drawn of each stage.

Stage 6: Stepanakert > Shushi > Hunot > Shushi
16 miles / 26km with 5256’ / 1600m of elevation gain: See route on Strava / on Garmin.

Oh my gosh, the final stage! Today you get to sleep in a bit longer and then enjoy a fantastic breakfast buffet in our hotel. And then, with your gear ready, you’ll walk over to the adjacent outdoor amphitheater for our start line festivities and ceremonies hosted by the Government of Artsakh!

While the last five days will have been tough, challenging, scenic, epic, photogenic, and truly memorable – just to name a few applicable adjectives – today’s final stage will underline the whole experience with a relatively easy and “short” stage that will be incredible every moment!

After an exciting hour-long cultural celebration to welcome the race and the runners, a police escort will lead the runners across the streets of Stepanakert for 2km. Then the runners will traverse a local canyon on a jeep track before ascending into Shushi, known as the cultural capital of Artsakh. Sitting on the mountain above Stepanakert, Shushi has a commanding presence and view of the entire region (not to mention a wide selection of amazing museums.)

Runners will run through Shushi on roads and sidewalks, literally running through the castle wall which encircles the town and then past Shushi’s gorgeous cathedral. Dropping down a dirt connecting road, runners will pass one of Shushi’s historic mosques (currently being fully restored by the Artsakh government) and a local neighborhood before dropping into Hunot Canyon, truly one of the jewels of Artsakh.

Armenians and “odars” (non-Armenians) come to Artsakh from all over the world to visit Hunot Canyon. Carved by the Karkar River, it’s a dramatic, beautiful, peaceful setting and the sense of harmony one feels here with nature and history will be the the perfect balm upon each runner’s body, mind, and spirit during the final day of the Artsakh Ultra.

You’ll want to stop repeatedly to take photos on the singletrack trail leading to the bottom of Hunot Canyon, and then stop again at the stone arched bridge across the river which was built in 1720. Next is a water spring, and then a little further on runners will reach “Ultra Runner Telma Altoon’s Bridge.” This wooden bridge was installed in 2019 in honor of the Armenian ultra runner (and Badwater athlete) who first ran the entire Janapar Trail in 2017. (She ran the full 178 miles / 286km in June of 2017 in a time of two days, 10 hours. Her run literally put the Janapar Trail on the map and led to a dramatic increase of support for trails by the Artsakh government and for Trails For Change NGO.)

Just 50 meters beyond Telma’s bridge is “Umbrella Rock,” a moss-covered cave covered in a waterfall. It’s a stupendous sight, and site, one not to be missed! In fact, we will have a checkpoint here and runners will be able to take up to 15 minutes “off the clock” to enjoy the setting.

After absorbing the energy, the stillness, the power of Mother Nature, and the millennia of Armenian cultural history here, the runners will turn around and retrace their steps back up up up and out of Hunot Canyon. After 1km on city streets, the triumphant Artsakh Ultra runners will reach their final finish line at the Avan Shushi Plaza Hotel. A bonfire, festivities, music, and food buffet will await each runner in or next to the Los Angeles Shushi Friendship Park outside the hotel.

Today’s final stage will be just 16 miles (26km) with 5256’ (1600m) of elevation gain, but it will be etched in everyone’s memory, the perfect conclusion to an incredible journey through geography, history, and time.

Runners and staff will stay in this hotel overnight and enjoy a final celebratory banquet with live local music this evening. It will be a wonderful final cap on an extraordinary journey!

The following morning (September 5), after breakfast at the hotel, everyone will load up in buses for the five-hour drive back to Yerevan. Most runners – unless they want to extend their stay to visit Armenia – will be able to catch a flight out of Yerevan Airport this evening.

Stage 6 Schedule:
700-750am:  Wake-Up and Breakfast
800AM:  Start Line Festival at Outdoor Amphitheater, Stepanakert
900AM:  Race Starts; Police escort for first 2km through Stepanakert
1030:  Shushi Church Checkpoint (Mile 9.5)
1115-1330:  Umbrella Rock, Hunot Canyon Turn-Around Checkpoint (Mile 13): 15 minutes “off the clock” for visiting Umbrella Rock
1200: Finish Line Ready, including buffet
1230: First Finisher?
1430: Last Finisher (5 hours)?
1530: Cut-Off (6 hours; 23-minute-per-mile pace)
1800: Dinner and Celebrations!
Overnight: Shushi Hotel (Ani Shushi Plaza Hotel)

Stage 6 Support:
First 2km: Police Escort through Stepanakert
Mile 8.5: Checkpoint with Water at entrance to Shushi
Mile 9.7: Checkpoint; no support (Photo at Shushi Cathedral)
Mile 12.5 (app.): Spring Water near ancient stone bridge in bottom of Hunot Canyon
Mile 13.25: Checkpoint; no support (Photo at Umbrella Rock: Runners make take up to 15 minutes “off the clock” here.)
Mile 14 (app.): Spring Water near ancient stone bridge in bottom of Hunot Canyon
Mile 16: Finish Line at Avan Shushi Plaza Hotel in Shushi

Below is the elevation profile and map of the route for Stage 6. See the Route Gallery for images of the route. Also, later we will have maps professionally drawn of each stage.

Coming Soon
Coming Soon

Frequently Asked Questions:

Email us your additional questions in care of adventurecorps@ gmail dot com.

Watch this video with race director Chris Kostman describing and explaining Artsakh Ultra:

Where is Artsakh and how do I get there?

Artsakh is located immediately east of Armenia. More specifically, Artsakh is a landlocked country located on the crossroads between Europe and Asia. This former Soviet republic is situated in southeastern Europe/western Asia, east of Turkey, north of Iran and south of the mountainous Caucasus region (Transcaucasia). It is also bordered by Azerbaijan to the east and Georgia to the north. It is a mountainous country located in the Armenian Highlands (just south of the Caucasus Mountains.) Learn more on the “About Artsakh” tab of this webpage, and at the Artsakh Travel website.

The Artsakh Ultra experience will begin and finish in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, which has an international airport (code EVN.) All runners need to arrive in Yerevan no later than 300pm on August 29, 2020 (preferably earlier in the day.) Also, we can help coordinate hotel rooms for those who want to arrive a day or two, or a week, early to acclimate while exploring Armenia.

If you only search for flights to Yerevan on the Travelocity website, you may not find all of the airlines which service Yerevan. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on Travelocity or other travel sites, consider going directly to the websites for specific airlines. Also, note that some airlines only service this route on certain days of the week, so consider adding a few tourist days in Armenia to the start or finish of your trip! Here is a list of airlines we recommend you contact directly for flight opportunities (and here is the complete list of all airlines which fly in and out of Yerevan):

Aegean, Aeroflot, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, Emirates Air, LOT Lufthansa, KLM, Polish Airlines, Ryan Air, Ukraine Airlines, and Qatar Airways all service Yerevan Armenia.

For more about Artsakh tourism, visit the Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Where do I put my main luggage during the race? 

We will arrange for storage of your main luggage (if you have luggage bigger than what you will bring during the race) at a hotel in Yerevan.  

Can I bring a non-running friend or spouse? Can my family and friends watch the race or tag along? Can I bring my dog?

No. This event is organized for runners only, plus the race staff. But by the end of it, everyone will feel like family to you! That said, there is plenty to do in both Armenia and Artsakh which can keep your family and friends occupied and entertained while you run the Artsakh Ultra! We would be happy to advise on this.

Do I have to qualify to enter?

Entry in the 2020 Artsakh Ultra is open exclusively to experienced ultra runners who have officially completed, at the minimum, at least one 50-mile or longer running race. Experience running multi-day trail stage races is highly recommended, but not strictly required.

Participants in the race are expected to be able to complete all six stages of the race under their own power and comfortably within each day’s time limit; provision for driving or shuttling runners who cannot run is very limited. Please do not enter unless you plan to train properly and show up prepared for six days of trail running through rugged, remote terrain. Though we will offer water checkpoints (and self-serve spring water) and occasionally pass local stores and cafés, self-sufficiency along the course will also be required.

If you are ready for awesome running and an awesome adventure in an awesome country, SIGN UP NOW!

How tough is this race?

Arsakh is a mountainous country with an average altitude of 3600’ (1100m.)

The first stage will be 22mi (36km), the next four stages will vary from 26 to 34 miles (42 to 55km), while the final stage will be 16mi (26km.)

The first stage will include a 2600 foot (793m) climb to a 9000’ summit (2743m), the highest point of the whole race route. After that first stage, the course tends lower and lower as we head south-east across the country. (But of course there are other summits along the way, especially on Stage 5 which climbs over Kachaghakaberd.)

There is a total of 26,000 feet (8000m) of elevation gain over the 160 mile / 260km of the race route. You can see the elevation profile for each stage in the Route & Schedule section of this page.

What is the terrain like? How dangerous is the race?

The route is primarily jeep tracks, along with single track, some dirt roads (mostly stage 3), and about 10 miles total of paved roads (mostly stage 3.)

It is not technical and there are no trails alongside cliffs or other sheer drop-offs. The trails are occasionally rocky, and occasionally overgrown. Mostly they are just great for running. There’s one section on Stage 5, the final ascent of Kachaghakaberd, which is very steep. 

All that said, trail running and hiking are inherently risky sports. Also, while we will have medical support for the race, the major, modern hospital in Artsakh is located in the capital city, Stepanakert – the end of Stage 5 and start of Stage 6 – so runners will always want to exercise caution and common sense.

There are generous time limits for each stage that are primarily designed to get everyone off the trail well before sunset.

See the Route & Schedule tab for all the info about each stage and the Route Gallery tab for images of the entire race route.

Is Artsakh safe?

Yes! We have been there several times and can attest that the country feels – and is – peaceful, tranquil, welcoming, and very hospitable. There was a war for independence here in 1991 through 1994, and that ended with a cease-fire agreement between Artsakh and adjoining Azerbaijan. Our race route goes nowhere near the border with Azerbaijan and you are not likely to encounter any military personnel (except maybe in or near the capital city, Stepanakert.) However, our event will be supported by the Artsakh Military, with the “tent village” the first three nights being set up by Artsakhzi soldiers.

Tourists – including backpackers who traverse the entire Janapar Trail – come here from Europe, Asia, and beyond every year and Artsakh is becoming increasingly known as a Must-See destination. 

What will the weather be like? What should I wear?

It will likely be cool to warm and vary between sunny and overcast. Runners will be required to carry a rain jacket, beanie and gloves at all times, just to be safe. (See the Mandatory Gear & Packing List tab for more info on the gear you will need.)

While the locals generally all wear long pants (trousers), most runners will likely choose to run in shorts or capri-length tights and a t-shirt. Outside of the capital city, you aren’t likely to see anyone running (though we are working to change that), so you might be perceived as a bit of an oddity along the route. (Anyone in a car may ask if you need a ride, since why would you be running?) ? 

Will my phone work? Is there WiFi?

If you have an international calling plan set up with your mobile phone provider, your phone should work in Armenia, however it will NOT work in Artsakh unless you use a SIM card from Karabakh Telecom (which is only available in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh.)

We hope to provide WiFi access during the first three nights of camping during the race with a mobile hotspot provided by Karabkh Telecom. WiFi is normally available at the hotels where will stay during the final three nights of the race (Vank after Stage 4, Stepanakert after Stage 5, and Shushi after Stage 6.)

We recommend that you plan to communicate using a messaging app (Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, for example) during the race, which will allow texting, sending of images, and audio/video chat. (But again, only when you can connect to WiFi.)

Do I have to navigate, read a map, use a compass?

The course will be well-marked and runners should be able to follow it without too much effort. 

Additionally, 90% of the route can be followed with the “Guthook” App by Atlas Guides which can be downloaded to a smart phone and – along with downloading all of the Janapar Trail trail data through that same app – can be used offline (even in “airplane mode” to follow the route or confirm location.) We will provide further instructions about this App and an in-person tutorial before the race begins; however, unless you manage to get lost, you shouldn’t ever “need” to use it.

Can I stay in my own tent or my own room?

No. Part of the whole stage race experience is bonding with your teammates (and later, hotel-mates.) Tents will hold up to ten runners and hotel rooms will be hold up to four runners; nobody will share a bed unless they want to.

What kind of support will you provide?

We will provide baggage transport throughout the race. (Runners only must carry running clothing, gear, water, and food while running.) Bag size and weight will be limited, but will be sufficient to carry clothing, camping gear, and personal / running food for the duration.

We will provide breakfast each day and dinner on all but two nights (runners will be on their own at restaurants those two nights.) Vegetarians and vegans will not starve as there will be plenty for them available. Hot water will be available for any who brought – and want to prepare – a freeze-dried meal at breakfast or dinner.

Though we will offer water checkpoints (and self-serve spring water) and occasionally pass local stores and cafés, self-sufficiency along the course will also be required.

Unlike most stage races, you will have relatively unlimited access to water (including hot) at our tent villages and hotels and wherever it is available along the route.

There will be no showers at the end of the first three stages, however our stage 2 / 3 campsite is next to a natural hot springs and a river, so you will be able to enjoy the hot springs and dunk – and clean – in the river those two nights. We will stay in hotels with showers for the final three nights of the race.

Please bring enough of your favorite energy foods, gels, powders, and bars for six days of running. Also bring afternoon snacks for at least the three first stages which finish at remote campsites. Note that some stages will pass small stores where you will be able to purchase food and drinks. Also, all runners must bring and wear a large hydration vest for carrying sufficient water along the route. See the Mandatory Gear & Packing List tab for more info on the gear you will need.

See the Route & Schedule tab for more info about each day’s schedule, meals, checkpoints, water stops, etc, but here is an overview of the support along the route:  

Stage 1 Support:
Mile 5.7: Checkpoint with Water
Mile 10.5: Spring Water
Mile 13.1: Spring Water
Mile 14.8: Checkpoint with Water (Artsakh Border; 9000′ summit)
Mile 22.25: Finish Line in the village of Tsar
 
Stage 2 Support:
Mile 4.2: Checkpoint with Water (Photo at ancient stone bridge)
Mile 12.3: Checkpoint at local market in Karvachar: purchase as needed
Mile 16.1 Checkpoint with Water at turn-off to Nor Verinshen (next to local store; purchase as needed)
Mile 20: Spring Water
Mile 21.3: Spring Water
Mile 22.1: Spring Water
Mile 28: Checkpoint with Water at Zuar Loop Junction
Mile 34: Finish Line at Zuar Tak Jur Campsite
 
Stage 3 Support (Today’s route is relatively easy and we anticipate that runners can run it without any water provided by the organizers (using the cafés to get supplies), but if we have high heat we will add a water checkpoint mid-way along the 10.8-mile stretch of dirt road between the start/finish and the highway):
Mile 10.8: Checkpoint at Café / Restaurant / Bakery / Store at highway junctions: purchase as needed; has WiFi
Mile 15.5: Checkpoint with Water at Dadivank Monastery with snack bar and restrooms: purchase as needed. (Runners make take up to 30 minutes “off the clock” here.)
Mile 20.2: Checkpoint at Café / Restaurant / Bakery / Store at highway junction: purchase as needed; has WiFi
Mile 31: Finish Line at Zuar Tak Jur Campsite
 
Stage 4 Support (Today’s route is very remote, but if we have high heat, we will add an additional water checkpoint around Mile 5):
Mile 10.25: Andzavner Checkpoint with Water
Mile 16.5: Checkpoint with Water
Mile 22.5: Hotel and Snack Bar
Mile 25.8: Finish Line
 
Stage 5 Support:
Mile 0, Start Line: Spring Water
Mile 5.9: Checkpoint with Spring Water at Hakobvank Monastery (Runners make take up to 10 minutes “off the clock” here to explore the monastery.)
Mile 9.3: Checkpoint with Water at wooden bridge over the Kolotak River (beginning of the Kachaghakaberd ascent)
Mile 12.5: Checkpoint; no support (Photo at summit of Kachaghakaberd)
Mile 16.3: Spring Water
Mile 18.1: Mini-Mart on left in town square of Patara (bottom of Kachaghakaberd descent)
Mile 25.5: Checkpoint with Water in village of Aygestan
Mile 30.55: Finish Line at “Tatik-Papik / We Are Our Mountains” sculpture in Stepanakert
 
Stage 6 Support:
First 2km: Police Escort through Stepanakert
Mile 8.5: Checkpoint with Water at entrance to Shushi
Mile 9.7: Checkpoint; no support (Photo at Shushi Cathedral)
Mile 12.5 (app.): Spring Water near ancient stone bridge in bottom of Hunot Canyon
Mile 13.25: Checkpoint; no support (Photo at Umbrella Rock: Runners make take up to 15 minutes “off the clock” here.)
Mile 14 (app.): Spring Water near ancient stone bridge in bottom of Hunot Canyon
Mile 16: Finish Line at Avan Shushi Plaza Hotel in Shushi
 

Email us your additional questions in care of adventurecorps@ gmail dot com.

The Mountainous Republic of Artsakh – formerly known as Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet era – is a democratic, Christian, Armenian homeland located just east of Armenia itself. It’s an absolutely gorgeous place, covered almost entirely in pristine, green, forested mountainous with trails and pathways dating back literally thousands of years. Artsakh is home to beautiful, fascinating towns and villages, ancient sites, natural wonders, Christian churches dating as far back as the 4th Century AD, the history city of Shushi, the gorgeous capital city of Stepanakert, and much more.
Artsakh is a must-see for any serious traveler, adventurer, and runner!
Artsakh is located immediately east of Armenia. More specifically, Artsakh is a landlocked country located on the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It is situated in southeastern Europe/western Asia, east of Turkey, north of Iran and south of the mountainous Caucasus region (Transcaucasia). It is also bordered by Azerbaijan to the east and Georgia to the north. It is a mountainous country located in the Armenian Highlands (just south of the Caucasus Mountains.)
Artsakh is just a short flight from Europe and easily reached from anywhere in the world. (International flights arrive through Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, which is just a few hours drive west of Artsakh.) Here’s a map showing the relative location of Armenia (Artsakh is just east of Armenia).

How Big is Artsakh?
For a little perspective, Artsakh is bigger than Cyprus, Lebanon, and Jamaica, but a bit smaller than Connecticut and Death Valley National Park:

Cyprus: 9,251 square kilometers (3572 square miles)
Lebanon: 10,452 square kilometers (4036 square miles)
Jamaica: 10,091 square kilometers (4244 square miles)
Artsakh: 11,300 square kilometers (4363 square miles)
Connecticut:  12,542 square kilometers (4,842 square miles)
Death Valley National Park:  13,650 square kilometers (5,270 square miles)
Armenia: 29,473 square kilometers (11,484 square miles)

For more information about visiting Artsakh, visit www.artsakh.travel

We also recommend you visit the Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

We also highly recommend the Artsakh Travel Facebook page, and THIS VIDEO in particular.

The Artsakh Tourism department runs this wonderful Instagram account: @artsakhtravelofficial

To read the current news in Artsakh, visit the Arsakh Press website (in English).

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About AdventureCORPS®, Inc. and Badwater®

AdventureCORPS®, Inc. is an athlete-run firm which owns and represents BADWATER®, “The World’s Toughest Brand, Gear, and Races.” As a brand, BADWATER represents digging deep and going farther; it is the lifestyle brand for all who push their limits while exploring the outer and inner universes.
BADWATER® is a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS® in variety of classes, including – but not limited to – event production, adventure travel, publications, clothing, footwear, skin care, sunglasses, backpacks, medals & medallions, belt buckles, broadcast media, entertainment services, and other classes.
AdventureCORPS® is also a federally registered trademark owned by AdventureCORPS® in variety of classes.
AdventureCORPS’ world-class events for athlete-adventurers include epic running races such as BADWATER® Cape Fear in March, BADWATER® Salton Sea in April, and BADWATER® 135 Ultramarathon in July, together comprising the BADWATER® Ultra Cup. We also host the ARTSAKH ULTRA Stage Race across the Republic of Artsakh.
Past events we’ve hosted include Badwater Presents Mustang Trail Race in Nepal in 2015 and Badwater Presents Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in China in 2016. Additionally, we hosted the Furnace Creek 508 ultra cycling race from 1990 through 2013 and the Silver State 508 ultra cycling race from 2014 through 2016. New BADWATER venues and events are in development across the USA and abroad, while new BADWATER products and gear are also in development.
For more information about the company behind the Badwater® brand, visit adventurecorps.com.
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ABOUT CHRIS KOSTMAN

Chris Kostman is the Chief Adventure Officer at AdventureCORPS, Inc. and the Race Director of the entire worldwide series of Badwater® events.

Chris got his start early in ultra sports as both an athlete and an event organizer: He set world ultra cycling records in high school in 1984 and 1985 (riding against the clock from San Francisco City Hall to Los Angeles City Hall) and completed the 3127-mile Race Across America bicycle race in less than eleven days at age 20 in 1987. That was a springboard to competing in events as diverse as the Triple Ironman in France, the 6.5-mile Skaha Lake Ultra Swim in Canada, three 100-mile snowshoe races in Alaska, six Ironman Triathlons, an Ultraman-distance triathlon stage race in Vermont, the Boston Marathon, and many other endurance races.

Hand in hand with his athletic career, Chris has been producing some of the toughest endurance events on the planet since 1984 through his company, AdventureCORPS, Inc. Hosted in Death Valley, on the slopes of Mt. Whitney and Palomar Mountain, on the beaches of North Carolina, in Nepal, China, and beyond, Chris has now produced well over 150 endurance sports events. These include the world-famous Badwater 135 Ultramarathon and its sister events, Badwater Salton Sea and Badwater Cape Fear. Chris also produced and directed the venerable Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race from 1990 through 2013, and its sequel, the Silver State 508 bicycle race, from 2014 through 2016.

Available for hire as a consultant or event partner, Chris worked on the staff of the Race Across America for thirteen years, including five years as the creator and race director of the team division. He has also produced, directed, and orchestrated special events for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Lung Association, City of Los Angeles Marathon, and other organizations.

Chris has also published over 250 articles about the endurance world, adventure, travel, archaeology, human potential, and lifestyle. Trained and educated as an archaeologist at U.C. Berkeley (BA, MA, and “half a Ph.d.”), he works part-time in that field, both undersea and on land in the Middle East and South Asia. He is a Fellow of The Explorers Club. Further details are available at www.chriskostman.com and on his Linkedin page.

Leave No Trace

  • Plan ahead & be prepared
  • Dispose the waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect the wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

Roads conditions

It is winter time! Check out road conditions before heading to the road! Beware of the snow & ice layer!

Vanadzor - Alaverdi section of the M6 Interstate highway stretching from Yerevan to Georgian border is temporarily closed. You can use Vanadzor-Stepanavan-Odzun-Alaverdi bypassing road.

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