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Man Dressed as Darth Vader Runs a Mile Through Death Valley’s Near 130 Degree Heat [VIDEO]

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If you happened to be driving through Death Valley over the weekend and spotted what appeared to be Darth Vader running alongside the highway in the near 130 degree heat – it wasn’t a dehydration induced hallucination – that bizarre spectacle actually happened.

However, it wasn’t the real Darth Vader (not even the dark side of the Force would dare run around in that kind of heat), it was actually a man named Jonathan Rice, who is a seasoned runner that strangely enough, is a fan of running in extreme heat.

After Rice noticed that temperatures in Death Valley were on the verge of setting records for the hottest temperature to ever be recorded on Earth, he and some friends took to the highway to break the record for running a mile in insane temperatures dressed as a character from Star Wars. That’s got to be a first.

“Yes, it’s utterly, insanely tough to sprint for a mile in that heat, but funnily enough it’s the breathing that’s hardest – even with new air holes it’s still almost impossible to get any air inside the mask. Especially with the balaclava on underneath,” Rice blogged about on his website.

“As for the heat itself, I estimate that inside the mask it’s probably 180 degrees… and you’re mostly breathing your own CO2 for the last half-mile,” he wrote. “Some people collect porcelain kittens. I run in the heat. I do it partly because I love the look on people’s faces as they pass by in their air-conditioned cars — the bewilderment, the innocent, wide-eyed expression of pure disbelief. It’s great.”

Still, Rice is quick to warn people tempted to try something this crazy to leave it to the professionals. “In all seriousness, I train all year round for this run – I spend dozens of hours in the sauna, and dozens more running in high temperatures without the costume,” he writes. “I’ve crewed Badwater three times, run marathons, and run in Death Valley for seventeen years. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS KIND OF THING UNLESS YOU ARE SERIOUSLY WELL TRAINED.”

Rice ran the mile in 129 degree temperatures in six minutes and 36 seconds.

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