Don’t bother Old Town resident William Gane on Monday.
His phone is off.
He’ll be sleeping, and he needs the rest.
Tonight he starts a 135-mile ultramarathon in Death Valley, California, which is known for being terribly hot. Comically so.
The “Heatstroke Open” is a regular event a nearby golf course.
The town of Furnace Creek is along the route. Tourists pose by a digital thermometer outside the town’s visiting center.
It will be about 95 degrees when Gane takes the starting line at 11:30 p.m. (PST) Monday night. By noon Tuesday, it’s supposed to be sunny and about 110 degrees.
Gane, 40, didn’t run in all black in the midday heat — a common training tactic for the race, known as the Badwater 135.
Nor did he practice digesting meals in a sauna.
“Mostly I ran along the lakefront,” said Gane, who works at Bureau van Dijk, a Loop firm that specializes in business research.
On Monday afternoon, he planned to watch “The Martian” with Matt Damon to help him doze off.
The landscape on Mars reminds him of the terrain he’ll soon be crossing.
Tonight he’ll eat a chicken, kale, avocado and quinoa wrap.
“Just clean and simple,” he said.
He anticipates listening to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen several dozen times during the race, which could require more than 48 hours of nonstop running to finish.
Only three other Chicagoans have finished the Badwater 135, considered the toughest footrace in the world. Only 97 people are running this year.
Gane is originally from Birmingham, England, where he was raised by a single mother.
Gane saw her suffer gender inequality. So he is running to show everyone that anyone can do anything — especially the girls at Girls on the Run, a group that promotes running as a way to empower girls.
Ganes started running seven years ago. He has run a 100-mile race through the Rocky Mountains — but he has no experience in the Badwater other than a few days training in the Death Valley heat a few weeks ago.
“It’s a very brutal and epic environment,” Gane said. “I keep thinking about how I’m going to do and how it’s all going to go.”
He will not be alone. He has a support team that will be in a car that’s never far from him.
On Monday morning, he was not exactly nervous.
“But there’s a calmness that touches a nerve,” he said.