WICHITA, Kan. (May 2, 2007) â€“ It's the toughest footrace in the world: 135 miles uphill and down, nonstop, from North America's lowest point to the end of the road on Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48. Did we mention it's in Death Valley, Calif., in July in the 120-degree-plus heat of summer? Ninety competitors from throughout the world will compete this year in the Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon, the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. One of the ultra-athletes, a 42-year-old Fortune 1,000 CEO, is running to help wounded vets back on their feet.
When Martin E. Franklin, Chairman and CEO of Jarden Corporation, steps up to the starting line on July 23, he'll have a six-person support team behind him, including several alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the newest generation of injured service men and women.
Also backing the effort will be as many of his fellow CEOs of Fortune 1,000 corporations as Franklin can recruit. He's seeking corporate donors who will sponsor at least one mile of his 135-mile race for $13,500, and will commit to developing â€“ if they have not already done so â€“ an affirmative action program for recruiting and hiring veterans returning from active duty.
The monies raised will go to the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) for its programs to help returning veterans with disabilities re-enter mainstream society. The Wounded Warrior Project also will maintain a list of participating companies that are joining in this effort and will establish direct e-mail links between the participating companies and the veterans to ensure that the veterans will receive the proper attention.
Jarden is kicking off the effort with a donation of $27,000, and Franklin has personally committed up to $135,000 â€“ or $1,000 for every mile he runs. Further, Jarden announced in December 2006 its Operation Careers for Veterans, which seeks to identify, consider and hire qualified veterans throughout its organization. Jarden has participated in job fairs for transitioning service members and has partnered with the military branches as well as local One Stop Career Centers through the HireVetsFirst program to inform transitioning service members of career opportunities in all Jarden businesses. Jarden hired 15 veterans in the first four months of the initiative.
â€œWhy am I doing this? Because, in a small way, this grueling run symbolizes the challenges our military veterans face when coming home from active duty,â€ Franklin said. â€œI am dedicating my participation in this race to the men and women who have served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also hope to raise ongoing awareness of the need for more resources for our injured troops when they return to America.â€
World's Toughest Footrace
The Badwater Ultramarathon is organized by AdventureCORPS, an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events. The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere at 280 feet (85 meters) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,360 feet (2,533 meters) above sea level.
The Badwater course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700 feet (1,433 meters) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mount Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places or landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil's Cornfield, Devil's Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Keeler and Lone Pine.
The men's course record is held by Scott Jurek of Seattle, Wash., with a time of 24:36:08 set in 2005, while the women's course record of 27:56:47 was set in 2002 by Tucson, Ariz., resident Pam Reed. Reed also was best overall in 2002 and 2003, beating all other men and women racing. It is expected that the winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon will finish in 24 to 28 hours. The average finishing time is approximately 48 hours, while the time limit is 60 hours.
Franklin's Jarden Corporation owns The Coleman Company, Inc., whose UltimateÂ® XtremeÂ® Cooler â€“ which can keep ice up to six days in extreme heat â€“ is the official cooler of the Badwater competition. Coleman is supplying each of the 90 race participants with an 82-qt Ultimate Xtreme Wheeled Cooler. Like the rest of the Badwater competitors, Franklin will be relying upon the cooler during the race to store the cold water and perishable food supplies that are so vital to the racers and their support teams.
â€œFor the racers, this race is the ultimate test of athletic performance,â€ Franklin said. â€œHow appropriate to have Coleman's cooler face its own ultimate test.â€
Coleman officials consider Badwater â€œthe Mount Everest of heat,â€ a fitting locale to demonstrate its most insulated, highest performing cooler. When the Ultimate Xtreme Cooler performs in 120-degree-plus temperatures in Death Valley, the company believes consumers will have no doubt it will perform for them at campsites, beaches, tailgate parties, sporting events, and any other gatherings where the company's coolers are used.
The Coleman Company, Inc. is an international leader in the innovation and marketing of outdoor products, including its legendary lanterns, as well as stoves, tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, coolers, furniture and grills. Its products are sold and used all over the world. Coleman embraces its leadership role as an advocate for the outdoors, contributing to outdoor causes and inspiring people to get outside. Founded in 1900 and based in Wichita, Kan., Coleman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jarden Corporation, and can be found online at www.coleman.com. Consumers can contact Coleman by phone at 800-835-3278 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Note to media: Electronic images are available upon request. Coleman also maintains a newsroom with downloadable news releases and photos at www.coleman.com/newsroom.
To request media credentials, contact Chris Kostman, race director, at 818-597-9008 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For the duration of the race, fans can follow the competition through a live Webcast produced by AdventureCORPS and hosted at www.badwater.com.
UltimateÂ® and XtremeÂ® are registered trademarks of The Coleman Company, Inc.
Jarden Corporation is a leading provider of niche consumer products used in and around the home. Jarden operates in three primary business segments through a number of well recognized brands, including: Branded Consumables: BallÂ®, BeeÂ®, BicycleÂ®, CrawfordÂ®, DiamondÂ®, First AlertÂ®, ForsterÂ®, HoyleÂ®, JavaLogÂ®, KerrÂ®, LehighÂ®, Leslie-LockeÂ®, Loew- CornellÂ® and Pine MountainÂ®; Consumer Solutions: BionaireÂ®, Crock- PotÂ®, FoodSaverÂ®, HarmonyÂ®, Health o meterÂ®, HolmesÂ®, Mr. CoffeeÂ®, OsterÂ®, PattonÂ®, RivalÂ®, Seal-a-MealÂ®, SunbeamÂ®, VillaWareÂ® and White Mountainâ„¢; and Outdoor Solutions: Abu GarciaÂ®, BerkleyÂ®, CampingazÂ®, ColemanÂ®, FenwickÂ®, GulpÂ®, MitchellÂ®, StrenÂ® and TrileneÂ®. Headquartered in Rye, N.Y., Jarden has over 20,000 employees worldwide. For more information, please visit www.jarden.com.
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