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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Athlete's Death Valley 'triumph'
William Sichel (picture by adventureCorps)
William Sichel finished seventh in the race
An endurance athlete from Orkney has completed a 135-mile road race in California's Death Valley.

William Sichel, 52, came seventh in what is described as the world's hottest endurance foot race.

He is thought to be the first person from Scotland to take part in the race, which he completed in 31 hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds.

Mr Sichel said the performance in the Badwater Ultramarathon had been one of the best of his life.

The race took competitors from the lowest point in the US, Badwater, to the finish line at Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

Finish line

More than 20% of the field dropped out as temperatures reached 53C (128F) and humidity levels approached 20%.

The race ended with a 13-mile uphill climb to the finish line.

Mr Sichel said: "I've never run hills like that before with such continuous long climbs.

William Sichel in Death Valley
Temperatures in Death Valley reached 53C

"I'm good at fast running down hill but am not used to steep descents of 15 miles which I had to do twice in this event.

"I suffered some large toe damage from the downhill running but it didn't really effect me during the race."

The athlete attributed his success to the meticulous preparation which he and his three-strong crew carried out.

The 52-year-old, who has lived in Orkney since 1982, trained on a treadmill under heat lamps.

Mr Sichel's next target is to qualify for next year's world 24-hour road running championships in Canada.

Athlete shows a burning ambition
17 Jul 06 |  North East/N Isles

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