A few weeks ago, I completed the 7 day, 6 stage, 273 km Grand to Grand Ultra, North America’s only unsupported stage race. I’d left the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, along with an international field of 116 other runners, with 91 of us arriving at the Grand Staircase in Utah a week later after running through sand dunes, slot canyons, river beds, and cactus fields. We carried all of our own food and supplies for the week, aside from water provided on course, and shelter and hot water at camp each night.
I managed to finish in 4th place overall and 1st in my age group, in a cumulative time of 34 hrs 45 mins, just 1 hr 34 mins behind Yukon Ultra champion Tommy Chen in first, 1 hr behind 5-times Marathons Des Sables winner Mohamad Ahansal in second, and 32 mins behind Swiss machine Peter Osterwalder in third. I couldn’t be happier with my performance in what was my first stage race, but I definitely learned a few things both in my research before hand and during the race itself.
Here are the 7 things I learned in my first stage race.