Guy dressed as Darth Vader runs Death Valley in 129-degree heat

Jonathan Rice on his 2012 run.

(Credit: Jonathan Rice)

Say it five times fast: “Darth Vader-dressed dude dashes in Death Valley.” It sounds like a comic convention fever dream, but it’s very real. Jonathan Rice is a fan of heat running. It’s pretty much what it sounds like. It involves running in stifling hot temperatures.

Rice is the originator of the Darth Valley Challenge, a personal challenge he sets himself to run a mile through Death Valley at the height of its heat, all the while dressed as everyone’s favorite “Star Wars” villain, mask and all.

The most recent Darth Valley Challenge took place on June 30 when the National Weather Service recorded a temperature of 129 degrees. Rice made the mile run in 6 minutes and 36 seconds. He describes the run as pointless, but completely fun. Now, in its fourth year, the challenge this year also had the goal of setting a new Guinness World Record for hottest verified run.

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