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Man in Vader suit runs 129-degree mile

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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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Record heat has been smothering much of the western United States in recent days, but the suffocating temperatures are actually a good thing for a Colorado man named Jonathan Rice, the originator of the Darth Valley Challenge.

According to the Longmont (Colo.) Times-Call, Rice is a 17-year veteran in heat-running (which is exactly what it sounds like) and has been doing this particular run — a mile-long sprint through Death Valley, in the heat of summer, dressed as Darth Vader — for three years.

On Saturday, Rice threw caution to what I can only assume was a complete lack of wind and took to the road in Furnace Creek, Calif., where he endured 129-degree temperatures verified by the National Weather Service and finished in a time of 6:36.

Here’s the entire run, if you care to see it, as well as video of Rice and his support driver, Randy Kern, who dressed as Chewbacca, but wisely spent the run in an air-conditioned car:

On his website, Rice notes how unwise his annual run is, telling fans who wish to join him, "This is a ludicrously dangerous endeavor. I don't support you doing it. I don't even really support me doing it." At least he makes it clear that no one is trying to Force him to do it.

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