Gazelles Run the Grand Canyon

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[Updated May 14, 2018. See end of post.]

A group of Gazelles will be heading to the Grand Canyon to do a friendly run from rim to rim. There are two groups, R2R2R (rim to rim to rim) and R2R (rim to rim). Lisa Sutherland, one of the Gazelles participating, talks about the group's big adventure below.


 Shirt and slogan designed by Murphy Reed

Shirt and slogan designed by Murphy Reed

Who's running R2R vs R2R2R?
Running R2River + Waterfall out & back (approx 30 miles) are:
Brenda George
Kelsey Lee
Kim Louie
Ashley Pax
Dana Stanley
Kim Williams 

R2R2R (41-45 miles, depending on the route, which we are are still deciding upon):
Jen Dale
Craig Durr (wants to make it 50 to celebrate his big bday this month, jury is out about if he has any takers)
Amy Farley
Anne Hughes
Jimmy McWilliams
Murphy Reed
Lisa Sutherland

Where will you start and what's the general route?
This is not an organized event/race, it is self supported. We will have to carry all our own food and water. Temps can vary from freezing on the rims to 90 degrees in the bottom of the canyon. We plan on doing a combination of running and hiking. Cell phone and GPS coverage is not generally available.

NPS_grand-canyon-hiking-map.jpg

We are starting on the South Rim and will either go down South Kaibab (2 miles shorter, but steeper and more treacherous) or Bright Angel. Once in the canyon, we will run about 7 miles then head up the higher North Rim via North Kaibab. After we summit, we’ll stop for a few minutes to eat then turn around, run down the North Rim, back through the canyon and then hike up Bright Angel.

What's the schedule like? What time are you starting, expecting to finish, backup day, etc?
Most of us are flying into Phoenix and driving the 3+ hours to the canyon. We are all staying on the South Rim and plan on having a Gazelle dinner together that same night. We are starting at 3:00-3:30 a.m. the next morning. If the weather is bad, we'll postpone by one day. We’re thinking we may finish R2R2R in about around 16 hrs, but we plan on taking time to stop and eat, snap pictures and enjoy the view, so if it takes longer, so be it. This run is not about holding a pace or setting a PR. The goal is simply to spend the day with good friends running through this amazing landscape and hopefully getting back before the South Rim pizza joint closes.

Anything else that would be interesting to share about this run?
The round trip has 20,000 feet of elevation gain and loss.

Good luck, Gazelles! We can't wait to hear more about your adventure.


[UPDATED MAY 14, 2018]

Craig Durr made this great video of the event and in his personal journal wrote:

"The 50 mile run was spectacular, delivering both breathtaking views and humbling challenges. At times I felt as if the canyon was calling to us. At other times, I realized that in a very primal way, the canyon did not care. The space we ran through shared with me its colors, sounds, smells and sense of being. But, like any other living creature in its folds, the canyon was not cheering for me, or helping me with the challenges I faced. The canyon simply existed and allowed my friends and I to also exist in its arms. The voice, the drive, the energy to move forward – the common thread shared by my adopted tribe - came only from within.

Make no mistake that the run was only the apex of the experience. The TRUE joy that I found was in the months of training, planning, and dreaming about the trip with my adopted family of runners.

There are few things better than hearing nature call to you, one of them is answering the call with like-minded friends."

Amy Farley captured the following stats of the event quite well:

Grand Canyon R2R2R - May 4, 2018
Bright Angel – North Kaibab – Bright Angel
Start at 3:40 am
Descend 4380 feet
Ascend 5761 feet
Descend 5761 feet
Ascend 4380 feet
Finish at 10:07pm
47 miles – 18 hours and 27 minutes