There's nothing quite like a short run in the sun. Well, unless it's 129 degrees Fahrenheit and you're sporting a Dark Vader costume.
But for seasoned runner Jonathan Rice, dressing up as Darth Vader to run Death Valley in the scorching heat is his idea of fun.
As part of an annual tradition that started in 2010 when he wanted to spice up his runs, Rice dons the Star Wars costume and sprints one-mile across the national park that lies near the California-Nevada border.
"I decided to come up with my own challenge," Rice, who has been running Death Valley since 1996, told The Huffington Post. "Something that would be more appropriate for a middle-aged guy with a little ponch these days."
That's where the heat-absorbing black suit came in, and Rice, as a Star Wars fan, said Darth Vader was a no-brainer. He also appreciates that parts of the series were filmed in Death Valley. As big a fan as he is, though, he promises that the Vader outfit is the only Star Wars costume he owns.
In a video of his latest challenge, which took place on June 30, Rice's team of supporters follow him in a car as he runs the mile in 6 minutes and 36 seconds.
Vader costume or not, "That is as fast as I can run a mile," Rice said. "I'm giving everything I got."
Though Rice appears to keel over at the end of the video, he assured HuffPost that his team had ice packs and medical supplies at the ready. Surprisingly, the hardest part is not the heat -- Rice regularly runs upwards of 8 miles in the valley and trains year-round in saunas -- but the mask.
"The mask lets hardly any air in," Rice told HuffPost. "Instead, you're just breathing in your own carbon dioxide."
Watch Rice's epic run in a Darth Vader costume through Death Valley in the latest Dark Valley Challenge video above. (When we say do not try this at home, we really mean it this time. Do not. Try. This. At home.)
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