Grand-to-Grand Ultra Debut a Success - Page 2
Photo courtesy of the Grand to Grand Ultra - The author runs through a slot canyon.
Event co-director Terry Madl, an ultrarunner who’s completed the Marathon des Sables three times as well as the Badwater Ultramarathon, was largely responsible for the course design. The course skirts the Grand Canyon, Zion and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument but does not enter those National Parks due to permitting issues. Instead, it runs through national and state forests, state parks and wide swaths of open space managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
“Every bit of feedback I got is that it’s a high degree of difficulty, along the lines of a Marathon des Sables or possibly even harder, which is kind of what we expected,” Madl said after the race. “We were shooting for something that was pretty challenging, and it was pretty unanimous that folks liked the variety.”
Personally speaking, I more than liked the variety and challenge—I savored it, and I feel tremendously fortunate to have participated in the inaugural year of an event that I predict will grow in size and popularity. It is grand, indeed.
Sarah Lavender Smith is a runner based in the San Francisco Bay Area who blogs about trails and travel at TheRunnersTrip.com. She will write more about the Grand to Grand experience for an upcoming issue of Trail Runner.