Running around in Death Valley's 129-degree heat is peculiar in its own right, but doing it dressed up as Darth Vader is sheer lunacy. Jonathan Rice doesn't doubt this assumption, but can't get enough of people's reactions when they see this bizarre spectacle.
Originally from Colorado, Rice has been heat running in California's Death Valley since 1996 when a trip through the sweltering desert-like landscape with a friend turned into an endurance test, Longmont Times-Call reported. A few years later, he decided to add the heat-attracting black Star Wars costume to heighten the challenge and the chance of danger.
"This is a ludicrously dangerous endeavor. I don't support you doing it. I don't even really support me doing it," Rice warned on his website.
On June 30, 2013, Rice finished his fourth annual "Darth Valley Challenge," where he was joined by fellow heat-running and fantasy enthusiasts dressed in wild costumes, such as Princess Leia, R2-D2, and even a furry Chewbacca.
Rice's time of 6:36 was only 23 seconds off his personal best of 6:13; however, his hopes are that this year's challenge thrusts him into the Guinness World Record Book for the hottest verified run.
Heat running, also known as hot weather running, can result in a bevy of health concerns including dehydration, heatstroke, and cardiovascular risks like a heart attack.
To protect yourself from the dangers of heat exhaustion and dehydration, remember to drink plenty of fluids before and after physical exertion in extreme heat — preferably sports drinks high in electrolyte content.