|Courtesy of Grand 2 Grand Ultra|
I’m a little late in posting this news, but I haven’t seen it shared too many other places and I definitely thought it was worth a mention. Back in August, I shared the news that ultrarunner Jax Mariash was gearing up for three extremely difficult challenges over the course of the following month or so. Those tests of her endurance included the Leadville Trail 100 in Colorado, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in Europe, and finally the Grand 2 Grand Ultra, which was held in Arizona and Utah at the end of September. After surviving that demanding gauntlet of difficult races over such a short period of time, she also managed to write her name in the history books as well, taking first place in that final event.
The Grand 2 Grand Ultra is a 170 mile (273 km) race that begins at the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and ends at the summit of the Grand Staircase in Utah. The event is broken up into six stages over seven days, with competitors remaining self-supported for the entire race. It is not only a test of any runner’s strength, speed, and agility, but also their mental toughness and determination too. Of the eight ultra events that Jax has participated in, she says that this one was the most difficult.
Mariash completed the race back on Saturday, September 29, in seventh place overall and becoming not only the first female to cross the finish line, but the first American as well. She dominated the women’s division, completing the course 3 hours and 20 minutes ahead of her next closest competitor.
This year’s Grand 2 Grand saw 135 runners take to the starting line with 111 eventually finishing. The demanding course includes more than 18,000 feet (5480 meters) of vertical gain with the temperatures ranging from 80-95ºF (26-35ºC). Altitude plays a major part as well, as the entire route runs between 5200 and 8100 feet (1584-2468 meters). To get a sense of what this ultra is all about, check out the video below. You’ll find the scenery is remote and spectacular, but very demanding too.
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