Robert J. (Bob) Becker, Ultra Runner
Ultra Runner. Race Director. Record Holder.
The inaugural Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in Tengchong, China, was held November 18-19, 2016. It was one of the great experiences of the race director's life. Completion of the mountainous 77-mile course and the entire five days visiting this remote area of southwest China became an homage to his father, who flew many combat missions in that area during World War II in support of Chinese and American forces on the ground. The connection was palpable. Seven decades later, Americans are still revered there as the co-liberators of Tengchong and Yunnan Province.
In August 2016, Bob completed the 120-mile “Trans Rockies Run”, a point-to-point six-day stage race on mountain trails from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, Colorado.
In July, 2015, Bob Becker completed his third “Badwater 135” Ultramarathon, the iconic road race through Death Valley, CA that ends at the Mt. Whitney Portal at 8,300 feet. Then, from the “Portal” where the mountain road ends, Bob ascended Mt. Whitney trails to its summit--at 14,505 feet the tallest peak in the lower 48 States--for a total of 146 miles. Known as “Badwater 146”—the original length of the Badwater race—Bob set the record as the oldest finisher ever. He then turned around, descended Whitney and returned to Badwater Basin where the Badwater race began. This 292 mile round trip, known as the “Badwater Double”, had previously been completed by 27 others, the oldest of whom was 59. At 70 years of age, Bob set the new age mark.
Since 2003, Bob Becker has run the Boston Marathon, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, raced in the 150-mile Marathon des Sables stage race in the Sahara Desert in Morocco and the 167 mile Grand 2 Grand Ultra stage race in the southwestern U.S. In August 2016, Bob completed the 120-mile TransRockies stage race in Colorado. In addition to two top 50 finishes at “Badwater” and the 2015 “Double”, Bob has completed multiple hundred and fifty mile races on trails and roads, in the mountains and along the coast, provided crew and pacing support for friends who have run across the entire United States and completed many other adventures while surviving radical prostate cancer surgery in 2006 and recovering from a fractured femur during a race in ‘05. Bob ran his first marathon in 2002 at the age of 57.
Along the way, Bob Becker found a passion for creating, producing and directing exciting and unique long- distance running events, and introducing ultramarathon racing to thousands of athletes in South Florida and beyond. His inaugural event, tracing its roots to 2007, was the KEYS100 Ultramarathon, including 100, 50- mile and 50-kilometer individual races and a 100-mile, six runner team relay, from Key Largo to Key West, FL, held on the third Saturday each May. The newest event, now in its sixth year, is the EVERGLADES ULTRAS trail race through the Florida Everglades, offering races of 50 Miles, 50 Kilometers and 25 Kilometers. Bob also created, but no longer directs, the PALM100 ultramarathon and Peanut Island 24, a fixed-time 24-hour race.
Bob’s ultramarathon events raise money to combat prostate and other cancers through “The Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys”, and in support of the spectacular but under-funded Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Florida’s largest, where the EVERGLADES ULTRAS is held each year. His individual races have also raised money for the National MS Society.
Bob Becker and his races have been featured in the “Sun-Sentinel” and “Miami Herald” newspapers, “Runners World”, “Trail Runner”, “Running Times” and “Masters Athlete” magazines, “South Florida Today” on NBC-6 and “Growing Bolder” radio, among others, and his running-related articles and reports have been published in “South Florida Running Forum”, “Masters Athlete” Magazine, “Ultra Running” magazine and “Florida Running & Triathlon” magazine. He continues to be the subject of online “live” interviews and speaks frequently to groups of new and experienced runners.