Grand Canyon Marathon Run
A friend of a friend did a rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon and sent this report..
I ran RIM to RIM – 24 miles on Friday & still recovering. Elevations: South Rim 6,860’Indian Garden – 3,800’ Colorado River – 2,400’ North Rim – 8,250’4 of us started at 6:15 a.m. running down the Bright Angel Trail on the South RIM. The temp was 30 degrees. The sun was rising & it all seemed very surreal. The trail down was well defined & consisted mainly of rocks & steps & cross backs about every 100 yards. It was more technical running as you negotiated your footing & watched for the edge of the ledge the entire distance. I felt great & was keeping pace w/group. After about 5 miles, we arrived in Indian Gardens then headed towards the canyon floor crossing the Colorado River by way of a foot bridge. Next stop was Phantom Ranch which was 9.8 miles from start. We took a break here for nourishment & to shed some gear. I am estimating that on some stretches we were running at a pace a little better than my marathon pace (10 min miles); however, it was mainly a lot of technical running, crossing small streams, sand bars & steep ascents/decents. It was difficult to even walk through some of the terrain let alone try & jog. I read a sign for the North RIM – 13.1 miles & I felt real good.It was at the “North RIM 7 miles” sign that I started to slow. Temp was in the 70s now & I was losing/taking in a lot of water. At this point, 2 of the guys wanted to keep running & 2 of us took a short break. About a mile later, I hit the trail face 1st when my right calf locked up. I was given 2 electrolyte pills & kept moving. Several miles later, on a very narrow part of the trail on the side of a cliff both my calf muscles locked & I went down again. My biggest fear now was muscles cramping & going over the edge of the trail where the drop ranged from 10’ to 1,000’. At this point, I did not think that I could finish this run/hike today. “North RIM 2 miles”: I told my running partner to go ahead without me as I needed to rest. The last 2 miles were a straight climb up to the North RIM. I was spent & didn’t see how I could possibly finish. My legs felt ok but I had to stop about every ¼ mile to catch my breath as I could feel my heart pounding through my chest. I was the last 1 out at 9 hours, the first to finish completed it in 8.5 hours.The next day we took a helicopter ride over the canyon. If I would have seen the trails we covered before the run, I would not have attempted it!
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