Back-to-back-to-back long runs plus camping make for an unforgettable ultra experience
Written by Sarah Lavender Smith
Sarah originally wrote this article for Trail Runner Magazine, where it appeared in March 2017 Trail Runner Magazine Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Imagine this: Yesterday, you ran a marathon-length trail route that beat up your quads and blistered three toes. Today, you’re up for another 25 to 30 miles on an unfamiliar stretch of treacherous trail. Tomorrow, the real fun begins. Running with a loaded pack, in high altitude and extreme temperature, you’ll go another 50-some miles.
Jim Raffone. Age 47. Weight 102kg (down from 115kg and hoping to be 88kg by Grand to Grand Ultra 2018). Torn meniscus. Partially torn ACL. A-fib heart condition. Two herniated discs. What in the world is he thinking, doing G2G? It will be his 3rd attempt to successfully complete the race. He has every reason to have a go at it again. He is not doing this for himself. He could not even consider it. He is doing it to save his son, and the lives of others affected by the rare, 100% fatal, genetic disease – Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Digital Detox - (noun informal - a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world).
Do you sleep with your smartphone or tablet by your bedside? Do you check your email, Facebook page or Instagram the moment you wake up? Do your family members implore you to look up from your phone? You might need a digital detox.
One magical aspect of the Grand to Grand Ultra is the camp. Each morning, the camp is erected in a unique location in readiness for the arrival of our competitors. The camp comprises large stand up tents, each of which accommodates eight competitors, as well as the medical tent, cyber-tent, hot and cold water supplies and clean, comfortable portable toilets.
Running 170 miles across the high desert of Arizona and Utah during the Grand to Grand Ultra is tough. Whilst this is a self-supported race and competitors are responsible for carrying everything they need to survive in the desert for a whole week, including their food, we also want competitors to experience the unique culinary delights of American Southwestern cuisine during their visit. This local food sustains people living in the harsh desert conditions, yet it is incredibly tasty with a wide range of flavors.
Alongside pacing and foot care, hydration is one of the most important factors behind the success at the Grand to Grand Ultra and Mauna to Mauna Ultra.
Luckily, it’s something you can get ahead of before you arrive in the desert, simply by gaining a better understanding of the issues you’re likely to face and by having a plan for how you’ll manage them. Now’s the time to get this right so you’re confident in your strategy come September.
We know that crossing 273 km on foot over desert terrain is tough and requires our competitors to be physically and mentally prepared. G2G takes place in remote terrain where there is very little mobile phone signal and where unprepared people do get lost. We want you to focus on the race and not to worry about other things that are the responsibility of the organisers.
G2G and M2M will provide you with two valuable lessons to do with water.
The first is that water should not be treated as a free, unlimited resource. At G2G and M2M you will learn...