An individual dressed up as Darth Vader participated in the eccentric yearly tradition, known as the “Darth Valley Challenge,” by sprinting a mile at top speed in the scorching temperatures of Death Valley, California.

Jon Rice, a resident of New Mexico, has been undertaking this challenge for the past 13 years. Rice completed his run on July 16. Despite the extreme high temperature of 128 degrees Fahrenheit, Rice mentioned that it wasn’t as hot as some of his previous attempts. Nevertheless, Rice’s plastic mask had poorly-drilled airholes, which caused breathing difficulties during his run.

According to NBC News, the high of 128 on July 16 set a new daily record for Death Valley. The Death Valley weather was part of an intense mid-July heatwave that swept the American Southwest. The heat wave caused 18 confirmed deaths and 69 suspected deaths in Maricopa County, Arizona (home to Phoenix). Experts have linked the mid-July heatwave to climate change.

Despite advisories to avoid strenuous activities in such weather conditions, Rice prepared himself thoroughly for the challenge by training in saunas to acclimatize to the extreme heat.

Rice emphasized that while the run is intended to be fun, he wouldn’t take part in it without proper training, an escape plan, and knowledge of how to identify and address heatstroke symptoms. Rice maintains a website that discusses safety tips in detail.

For Rice, the run serves as a means to bring a sense of wonder to onlookers, despite the potential dangers involved. He experienced coughing for several hours after finishing his sprint.

When asked for advice to those considering doing one of the Darth Vader runs, Rice simply advised them not to run.

Image Source: ABC15 Arizona,