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Sarah Lavender Smith Wednesday, 09 May 2012 18:54 TWEET COMMENTS 16

The Grand to Grand Ultra - Page 2

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“We’ve got huge fixed costs, and that’s the type of fee we need to charge,” says Colin Geddes, noting it’s less than the registration for other international multi-day desert races. “We want to build a quality event in Southern Utah that becomes one of the world’s great footraces so that anybody who aspires to do a staged race will want to do it.”

Aside from the unique course in the heart of the American Southwest, the Geddes hope to distinguish the Grand to Grand with a high quality of service, emergency medical response and sanitation.

Tess says she participated in staged ultras in other countries where runners got lost due to poor course markings, or, they became seriously injured and did not receive timely treatment (and the whole camp became ill from a lack of hygiene). For the Grand to Grand, Tess says, they’re taking extra precautions for reliable course marking, medical care and search and rescue. They’re also providing toilets, hot water and custom-designed 10-person tents—relative luxuries when it comes to multi-day ultras in remote locations.

The 160 miles are divided into six stages over seven days with the following mileage: 28, 22, 50, 27, 24 and, on the last day, nine. “It’s a tough one, but it won’t be the toughest,” Colin says of the course difficulty.

The region’s temps in late September should be fairly hot (80s and 90s) during the day and cool at night. The terrain will vary from hard-packed sand to soft dunes to forested trails, and shallow river crossings to rocky climbs in and out of canyons.

Colin, an investment banker originally from Scotland (not a serious runner himself), got the idea for the Grand to Grand while crewing for Tess at a 50-miler in the Florida Keys in May of 2010. He had never been to her international ultras because their destinations were so far flung and he couldn’t get the time off from work. Tess, an ultrarunner from the Philippines, has run the Marathon des Sables, the Sahara Race in Egypt, the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Libyan Challenge, the Desafio al Desierto in Argentina and other staged ultras around the globe.



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