Grand to Grand Ultra

grant me the serenity

Self Care

ONE WEEK TO GO!!! You have put in the miles. Your gear and shoes are broken in. You have chosen your meals/snacks and everything fits in your pack. And, of course, you have thoroughly reviewed the G2G Medical Corner and all the medical posts on the Checkpoint Blog! At this point you have time to sit back and reflect on your training and your upcoming time at G2G.

grant me the serenity


There are a few critters you should be aware of during your time in the AZ/UT desert… scorpions and spiders

grant me the serenity

Foot care

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

The above quote aptly summarizes my experience in the G2G medical tent over the past six years. Despite my best efforts, most of you will get blisters. Even those runners who insist they “never get blisters” will inevitably hobble into the medical tent at some point. But blisters are entirely preventable.

florian vieux sand dunes

An evidence-based review of hydration and electrolytes for runners.

Back in 2010 I was deployed to California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range for cold weather and mountain warfare training with the US Marines. They would line us up before a run and have us drink water until one of us vomited to fully hydrate us. This is obviously no longer recommended, as overhydration is the major cause of hyponatremia (low sodium) which can be deadly.

florian vieux sand dunes

An evidence-based review of heat illness for runners.

The average core body temperature is 37C (98.6F) with an optimum range around 35C to ~ 40C. If your body gets too hot (~ > 41C or 106F) then the biochemical pathways that keep your body running start shutting down resulting in seizures, coma or even death.

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The rationale behind medical clearance and some advice for both you and your medical provider

I understand your frustration. You are three months from one of the greatest and most exciting challenges you have ever faced when you get the email from Tess about the mandatory medical certificate that must be signed by a licensed medical provider 1-2 months before the race. But why?!?

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How to fit in preparation for a 273km stage race when you have a busy lifestyle?

Hey Folks,

JAX MARIASH here. I am thrilled to take part over the next year to supply tips and tricks to preparing and succeeding through your self-supported stage races with G2G or M2M.

The first topic on the docket is one of the most important in my opinion. It is 9 months from G2G and that is an intimidating look at a 273km race across magical but brutal terrain. As a previous world champion and the “Queen of Stage Racing,” even I get intimidated at this phase. And if that wasn’t enough, we are all choosing to haul everything we need to survive.

Written by Garth Reader

2017 09 26 11 54 37 tsAny well-dressed individual will unequivocally say that a proper wardrobe is paramount.  Having the correct clothing for the occasion is a mark of sophistication.  This applies equally to stage racing.  The appropriately attired stage racer will have a wide range of selections to draw upon.  Not only will he or she be fashionable, their garments will excel in function under extremely adverse conditions.

No matter what the stage racer will be putting on, it should fit well.  Bespoke is not out of the question however solid off-the-peg will usually work.  Not only will you look great, it will minimize discomfort.  Your threads should also be in good condition from the start.  Don’t step out with the ratty, derelique look.  You will be there at the end of five or six days, trust me. 

While there may be specialized ensembles for one-off occasions, every stage racer should have the “classics” in their racing closet.  These are what you will be using at almost every race.  Choose well and update to the latest colors when fashion dictates.

Written by Garth Reader

grand to grand ultra 2017 usa  erik sampers 139

The Grand to Grand Ultra takes place in the high desert of the Colorado Plateau in the USA. The course, therefore, takes place in the altitude range of approximately 5000’ (1524m) to almost 8,700’ (2652m). Competitors can, therefore, expect to experience a large temperature range each day from a high of 30C (86F) during the day to lows overnight of 8C (46F) or lower. In fact, at the final camp at an altitude of around 7,000’ (2,134m), the temperature can drop overnight to below 0C (32F).

Given the unfamiliarity by most people with sleeping bag temperature limits, the following is a detailed explanation relating to the acceptability of sleeping bags (or quilts) for G2G.  We do not wish to dictate specific brands of equipment for your use and we have found that many people have personal preferences. Accordingly, it is your responsibility to obtain appropriate equipment for a successful race. 

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Back-to-back-to-back long runs plus camping make for an unforgettable ultra experience

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.

thumb jar of hopeJim 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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

thumb eliminating single use plastic bottles

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...

thumb ten success secrets for stage racing

Preparing for a self-supported, multi-stage ultra-marathon can be overwhelming.

How many miles should I run each week during my training?
Should I walk during training?
When should I...

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