Grand to Grand Ultra

Volunteer Briefing

When volunteers come crowding into the volunteer briefing you know the countdown is on to 8 am Sunday September 18, 2022, and the start of the 2022 edition of the Grand to Grand Ultra, a 171 mile odyssey from the north rim of the Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase, traversing 171 miles of some of the most awe inspiring terrain on Planet Earth! Tess and Colin Geddes, race directors for the Grand to Grand, welcomed an excited group of volunteers and thanked them for giving their valuable time, dedication, and energies to assist 70 runners accomplish their dreams of reaching the finish line more than a week from now. Some volunteers are first timers, others have been here every year since the start of the event in 2012 (as either a runner or volunteer), but one and all are integral to the well oiled machinery of the Grand to Grand Ultra. Our fantastic volunteers have travelled from all over the world to Kanab to be a part of the Grand to Grand Ultra. This year, we have volunteers from places like New Zealand, Canada, and the UK! During the volunteer brief, we were visited by a special guest- SGT Alan Alldredge, Kane County Sheriff's Office Emergency Manager & Kane County Search & Rescue! SGT Alldredge spoke about safety and logistics out on the course and how to navigate the possible elements we will encounter in the desert. Safety is our number one priority at the Grand to Grand Ultra so we are grateful for SGT Alldredge and his team!  Every year brings new challenges, but over its 8 year lifespan, Grand to Grand has become recognized as one the the premier stage races in the world. As such, today RDs Tess and Colin emphasized that the volunteers are the oil that keeps the motor running over the course of race week and gave numerous examples of how, in the past editions, volunteers have kept runners motivated to keep on moving even when they thought they were done. Colin reminded the group of how the international field at G2G is one of a kind in the United States and that such diversity is what makes the G2G experience so unique. RD Tess Geddes stated that once you are "a part of the G2G family you never leave." In fact, the volunteer group is populated in large part by veteran G2G family members who come back to either run or volunteer and to partake again in the G2G family spirit. It's almost GAME TIME! Stay tuned!

Pre-Race/ Welcome Dinner

Last day in Kanab!  Tomorrow we all make the journey out to the North Rim of the GRAND CANYON (AKA The Big Ditch for those who haven't been to this unique corner of the planet). We have some eager competitors and volunteers who are counting down the seconds until go time! In the meantime, the sun was shining after a few days of heavy rain in Kanab, just in time for check in and pack check! Runners doing pack checks and finishing last minute gear choices. Any nerves our runners were experiencing were put to ease as big smiles greeted them to help them and eliminated their worries! After pack check was a success,  our amazing  runners, volunteers, and local supporters joined us in town at the welcome dinner where everyone got a chance to relax, enjoy the incredible scenery, and indulge in some tasty cuisine by the talented Executive Chef Shon Foster, a native of Kanab Utah! Chef Shon’s dishes highlight ingredients and culinary traditions native to Utah & the Southwest. We got to experience traditional navajo fried bread and a delightful dish that Chef Shon created.  The Welcome Dinner was a night to remember as new friends were made, stories from our race alumni were shared and worried minds got a chance to wind down! RDs Tess and Colin kept the message simple allowing everyone to get to know each other and get home for a good sleep. Everyone knows that time continues to tick down, but the participants are super positive and we volunteers will do all we can do to get them over the finish line. Check in each day for more updates - not long now!       

Pre-Race/Welcome Dinner Gallery                        

Camp 1

The day has finally arrived! All of the long training days, planning, decisions and sacrifices were all for this moment. To go to one of the planet’s most remote places - the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and experience the desert on foot, one foot after another for 170 miles!!!

This morning, the runners met at the Visitor’s Center in Kanab and were eager to load into their minivans and start the bumpy journey to the Grand Canyon. There were a ton of emotions- excitement, nerves, even some self doubt about gear choices runners had made. 

The runners said their goodbyes to family and friends and headed out to Camp 1 on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The ride was smooth sailing and some rain from a few days prior had made for some muddy sections for our driver to navigate!  Everyone arrived safely and were greeted warmly by our amazing camp crew who did a fantastic job getting Camp 1 ready for us! The runners enjoyed the incredible views of the Grand Canyon and got settled into their tents! We were also visited by the Kane County Sheriff who we work very closely with to ensure that our runners are safe

Tonight the runners and staff shared ‘The Last Supper’- a wonderful feast on the edge of the GC which will be the runners' last real food for a week. Dehydrated meals is on the menu from now until next Saturday! As soon as the dinner finished, the competitors’ self- sufficiency began and they were officially on their own! As the sun set over the Grand Canyon and painted the sky purple and pink, the runners retreated to their tents to get a good night’s rest before the big day! 

Up next: 170/miles of sand, red rock, mountains, scree, prairie, sweat, and the adventure of a lifetime in a landscape that has no equal.  Stay tuned for post updates and results every day, assuming we can get somewhere with cellular service or WiFi. If that proves impossible on any given day please be patient. We are taking the best care of your loved ones and will bring you all the news at the very earliest moment we can. Let the journey begin!

Camp 1 Gallery

Stage 1

Stage 1 of G2G started with a 6 am wake up call with a beautiful sunrise over the GC, throwback tunes blasting to wake the runners up (thanks to RD Tess and her great taste in music!) and lots of high energy from our eager competitors and excited crew! 

It was extremely mild at Camp 1 on the North Rim, in fact, it was so mild that several runners, volunteers, and staff slept outside on the edge of the Grand Canyon under the Big Dipper. The sky was so clear that the stars felt close and you could see the Milky Way. 

Although it was nice sleeping temperature for the runners, the 6 am wake up call came quickly and the realities of the race set in. Excitement mixed with some nervous jitters were felt throughout camp and the runners were eager to get to the start line and kick of G2G 2022! 

The competitors got their game faces on and got ready for the sound of the bullhorn. Before they took off, RD Colin briefed the runners of what to expect on the course that day and how to best prepare for a day out in the blistering heat. In that moment, the runners knew all of their hard work and preparation was officially behind them and it was game time!

After group photos were taken, RD Colin blew the bullhorn and the runners took off under the G2G start banner which was hung between flags of all of the nations represented. Racers seemed to be self seeding based on anticipated pace and goals for the day and the week. The pack receded from camp to tackle a stage of 30.8.miles/49.6K to Camp 2 in the shadow of the Vermillion Cliffs.

In the men's field, Merile Robert from France finished in 4 hours 57 minutes with the second place finisher, Joseph Taylor, USA, coming in close behind at 5 hours and 16 minutes. 16 minutes later, Matthew Aymard, UK, came across the finish to Camp 2 which brought his total time to 5 hours and 32 minutes.

It was neck and neck between Laurence Klein (France) and Catherine Tosi (France) in the women's race. Laurence Klein and Catherine Tosi both finished in 6 hours 21 minutes, landing them both in first place. Sharon Gayter (UK) came in for the second place finish at 7 hours and 29 minutes and Erica Terblanche (South Africa) close behind at 7 hours and 29 minutes) 

Our competitor who enjoyed the race the longest, Lee Heath (UK) came in at 12 hours and 22 minutes and arrived to the whole camp cheering him on and dancing! 

The heat was relentless and the runners all felt the desert sun hard as they navigated through cactus fields, gravel paths, and dodging rattle snakes and creepy crawlies! (A few tarantulas were spotted on the course). 

60/68 racers remain and have a 26.9M/43.3K Stage 2 to look forward to as they prepare their evening meals and crawl into their sleeping bags, attempting to recover enough to tackle what lies ahead. While comparable weather is forecast for tomorrow, Stage 2 will challenge the runners with much more vertical gain than Stage 1.

Stories will be swapped around the camp bonfire tonight and concerns and advice shared to help one and all to the finish line. Although anxiety is inevitable, spirits are high and runner camaraderie is always a comfort at the end of a long day.

Game on! 

Stage 1 Results

Stage 1 Photo Gallery

Stage 2

On the morning of Stage 2 the runners woke to the Vermillion Cliffs lit up so red, it almost looked like they were on fire. The runners swapped stories and experiences from Stage 1 as they prepared their breakfasts and got their packs sorted. Tired eyes and sore feet were a common site this morning, but high spirits, positive energy, and smiles were even more abundant. Although our competitors were put to the test during Stage 1, they certainly were not deterred from taking on Stage 2, a 26.9M/43.3KM stretch with A LOT more climbing than Stage 1. 

The course took the runners out of Camp 2 and through some troublesome cacti but only for less than 3 miles to Checkpoint 1 from where they would ascend the Navajo Trail from the top of which the Vermillion Cliffs can be seen in the distance as well as the rest of the Grand Staircase as it spans to the northern horizon, 

The weather was in the high 90’s and the runners received no break from the sun. Shade was limited in the afternoon and the runners were really feeling the heat by CP2.

At the finish line Merile Robert clocked in at 4 hours 33 minutes followed by Joseph Taylor at 5 hours 22 minutes. Matthew Aymard came in just 8 minutes later with a time of 5 hours 30 minutes.  For the women’s, Catherine Tosi took the lead with a time of 6 hours 29 minutes, putting her in 1st place for women’s and 6th place overall.  Laurence Klein came in nearly 10 minutes later, for a time of 6 hour 38 minutes. Erica Terblanche was third in 7 hours 28 minutes.

Overall after Stage 2, Merile Robert leads the men with a total time of 9 hours 31 minutes. Joseph Taylor is second with 10 hours 39 minutes and Mathew Aymard third in 11 hours 03 minutes. Catherine Tosi leads the women overall with a total time of 12 hours 51 minutes. Laurence Klein is second for a total of 13 hours.

8 runners DNF'd from the G2G Ultra after Stage 1 and another 9 runners dropped after Stage 2. All are safe and, while surely disappointed, all are in good spirits.

As the runners wound down for the night, they talked about the long Stage 3 (52.6 Mi/84.7KM) ahead crossing their fingers for the forecast cooler weather and, perhaps, even rain.

As experienced Stage racers know, small time gains in the first 2 days can fast disappear on a long day with lots of terrain and elevation challenges.

Stay tuned!

Stage 2 Results

Stage 2 Photo Gallery

Stage 3

Grand to Grand’s infamous "Long Stage" is often the day of reckoning when time advantages gained in the first two days can fast be eaten up by the cumulative fatigue of the race and the challenges of a long distance which, is an ultramarathon in itself.

For Stage 3, the G2G Ultra participants are facing 52.6Mi/84.7KM over varied terrain, but consisting on almost 75% sand. Similarly to Stage 1 and 2, Stage 3 brought the heat first thing in the morning right up until dusk. There was rain and thunderstorms in the forecast but luckily the weather managed to work in our favour! 51 starters were sent off in two waves. The 8 AM group was constituted by most of the field and the 10 AM group by the 7 front runners. The day started with a nice, relatively flat 6 miles/10 kms on hard packed sand and gravel road to Checkpoint 1. The racers were then challenged with a steep ascent up the Mansard Trail but enjoyed the beautiful view that came along with it.

For the 10 AM wave,Fergal O’Connor, Sascha Gramm, and Richard Hayes were neck and neck and all came in to CP1 at the 9:18 am.  Laurence Klein was in the lead for the women with Catherine Tosi not far behind. Laurence then unexpectedly dropped at Checkpoint 3 (18.7M/30KM). By Checkpoint 4 (18.7M/30KM), Fergal O’Connor was in the lead, with Merile Robert only three minutes behind. By checkpoint 5, Merile Robert took the lead once again and gained 20 minutes on Fergal O’Connor. 

From the 8 AM wave, by Checkpoint 3 in the women's race, Erica Terblanche had roughly 30 minutes over Emily Wivell. There were 4 DNFs at Checkpoint 1 and 2 DNFs at Checkpoint 2. Later in the afternoon, runners passed by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary where they were welcomed by the cheers of local Kanab residents as they passed by Best Friends' pet cemetery, a tranquil, hillside setting where the runners will hear the sweet sound of wind chimes. 

Some competitors chose to nap for a few hours at Checkpoint 6 before taking on the daunting Coral Pink Sand Dunes, an approximately 3 miles section of sand dunes that were traversed by most runners in the dark.

After the dunes, the runners experienced a difficult cross-country section with lots of underbrush gave the runners another challenge before they headed through the deep sandy road to the finish line and finally, camp. Exhaustion from the sun, and mental challenges, blisters and other injuries compounded from the previous days were cause for 15 people total to withdraw from the race during Stage 3. 

For Stage 3, Merile Robert crossed the finish line first with a record time of 11 hours and 5 minutes. In second place was Joseph Taylor with a time of 13 hours and 27 minutes.  Finally, Matthew Aymard took third place with a time of 14 hours and 6 minutes 

For the women, the first person to cross the Stage 3 finish line was Catherine Tosi with a time of 15 hours and 27 minutes. Erica Terblanche close behind with a time of 16 hours and 49 minutes. Emily Wivell came in third with a time of 19 hours and 34 minutes.

Currently, Merile Robert is leading the race with a total time of 20 hours and 37 minutes. Joseph Taylor follows in second place with a time of 24 hours and 6 minutes. Matthew Aymard is not far behind with a total time of 25 hours and 10 minutes. 

For the women, Catherine Tosi currently sits in first place with a total time of 28 hours and 18 minutes. Erica Terblanche follows behind with a total time of 32 hours and 4 minutes. Emily Wivell comes in third with a total time of 37 hours and 22 minutes.  

After the long stage, the competitors took time to relax, re-group and enjoy some ice cold Coca-Colas delivered by Grand to Grand’s cowgirls, Tess and Sonia! The runners also enjoyed some local music and chatted amongst each other about the experience they had all just been through.

Stage 4 awaits!

Stage 3 Race Results

Stage 3 Gallery

Stage 4

After a day (or evening) of extra rest, the competitors awoke on Thursday morning to a beautiful sunrise over Zion National Park. Hot temperatures were forecasted once again but that didn’t deter our eager runners from jumping out of their tents and gearing up for Stage 4. Feeling accomplished after completing the long stage, the competitors got ready for the start line and got their game faces on. 

RD Colin counted down from 10 and blew the bullhorn and the runners were on their way.The day started along several miles of sandy track, where the racers first climbed to Checkpoint one and then descended into Checkpoint 2, which is exposed in the heat of the day. Shortly after reaching Checkpoint 3, the runners retrieved their headlamps from their packs in order to make their way through a 400 meter tunnel. Then they were greeted with another challenge a rope climb out of the steep canyon. 

Upon arriving at camp, runners seemed happy and relaxed. Despite the heat, it had been a good day! The runners even got a popsicle treat to cool off!

For Stage 4, Merile Robert crossed the finish line first with a time of 4 hours and 10 minutes. In second place was Joseph Taylor, with a time of 5 hours 9 minutes. Matthew Aymard was right on his heels, in 3rd place for this stage with a time of 5 hours and 16 minutes. 

For the women, the first person to cross the Stage 4 finish line was Catherin Tosi with a time of 6 hours and 3 minutes. Erica Terblanche followed closely behind with a time of 6 hours and 40 minutes. Next to come through was Emily Wivell for a time of 7 hours and 15 minutes.

Overall, after Stage 4, Merile Robert sits in first place with a total time of 24 hours, 47 minutes. A 5 hour lead over second place Joseph Taylor with a time of 29 hours, 15 minutes. Matthew Aymard is holding on to third place with a time of 30 hours, 27 minutes.

For the women, Catherine Tosi sits in first place with a total time of 34 hours 21 minutes. Erica Terblanche, in second place, has a total time of 38 hours, 44 minutes. Emily Wivell remains in 3rd place with a total time of 44 hours 37 minutes.

The final long stage will take the competitors through beautiful slot canyons and dry riverbeds. Stay tuned!

Stage 4 Results

Stage 4 Gallery

Stage 5 Results

Another beautiful morning greeted the runners at the start, as they prepared to run through Peek-a-Boo slot canyon, one of the highlights of the course. Conditions were perfect and all runners passed through the slot canyon without mishap. Only a few needed help to navigate their way down the steeper drops. This was the last long day on the course for all the runners and the excitement was in the air as the runners got ready to hit the long awaited canyon portion of the course.

Merile Robert crossed the finish line first in a time of 4 hours and 19 minutes with Joseph Taylor coming in just 39 minutes later at a time 4 hours and 58 minutes. Catherine Tosi was first for the ladies in a time of 6 hours and 42 minutes with Erica Terblanche coming in behind at 7 hours and 23 minutes. 

All of the runners got into Camp by 7:00 pm, just in time to be greeted by local ranchers and their horses! There was a lot of relief circling around camp that the hardest parts were over and it was evident that weight was lifted off of the competitors shoulders (literally and metaphorically).

Tomorrow is the big day where the hard work is recognized and competitors can celebrate their massive accomplishment at the finish line. Competitors have certainly tested their limits and pushed past their comfort zones! Now just 7 miles to the finish!

Stage 5 Results

Stage 6

Given the short distance of 7.7 mi in the final stage, runners’ starts were staggered between 7am, 8am and 9am. So while the fast runners got to enjoy some more sleep, the slowest runners departed a little earlier than usual to give them more time to reach the summit and Finish Line! It was a beautiful sunny morning and with clear skies, this meant it would be a little chilly at the Finish Line near the summit of the Pink Cliffs at 2,651m (8,698 ft)!

Merile Robert set a blistering pace of only 1 hour, 16 minutes for the final stage as he came in first, almost 8 minutes ahead of Joseph Taylor. Merile Robert was crowned the Grand to Grand Ultra 2022 Champion in a total overall time of 30 hours, 24 minutes with Joseph Taylor finishing in second place for a total of 35 hours and 43 minutes. 

Catherine Tosi came in first for the ladies in an excellent time of 1 hour, 52 minutes. Erica Terblanche close behind with a total of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Catherine Tosi was crowned the Grand to Grand Ultra 2022 Ladies Champion in a total overall time of 42 hours, 56  minutes.

Competitors cheered each other on at the finish line and enjoyed well deserved pizza and soft drinks! Congratulations to all of the runners that participated in this year’s Grand to Grand Ultra!

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