The Grand to Grand Ultra - Page 3
Driving a van behind her as she ran in Florida, and again later that year when he crewed for her at the Javelina Jundred, Colin began imagining the potential for a world-class, week-long ultra somewhere in the U.S. or Canada. “I figured it was time for North America to have an event like this because there’s a real interest in staged races around the world,” he says.
Tess’s friend and fellow ultrarunner Terry Madl joined the Geddes to co-found Ultra Challenge America LLC, and the three spent much of 2011 developing a plan and scouting locations, particularly deserts.
Terry, who has run the Marathon des Sables three times along with the Badwater Ultramarathon, mentioned the Grand Staircase formation, and they began to focus on the swath of open land north of the Grand Canyon. The end result is a course whose exact route is secret—participants will find out the day before the start—but a small-scale map and description on the website reveal the general area through deserts and some forests.
The Grand to Grand Ultra is partnering with the charity impossible2Possible (i2P), which takes youth on international adventure expeditions to teach leadership and inspire positive change. i2P’s founder, ultrarunner Ray Zahab, whose accomplishments include running across the Sahara for 111 days, joined the event's founders in late April to run parts of the course and see the Grand Canyon for the first time.