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Southern Utah News Front Page: September 21, 2017
Grand 2 Grand Ultra - a Kanab welcome!
G2G runner Dirk Diemont is enjoying a “highlight” of his visit to Kanab so far – a hike to the top of the K Hill, as he waves to Dave Baird flying by in his plane. Photo by Susana Young.
By Susana Young
The organizers of Grand 2 Grand Ultra and their team are deep into preparation for the 6th annual event based out of Kanab. They ensure the course is mapped and marked; prepare the course booklet for the runners which includes details about the route (elevation, points of interests, terrain, check point locations); prepare the volunteer handbook for the camp crews, check point teams, and so many others who help make the race happen; prepare goodie bags for runners and volunteers; make sure communications processes are in place for friends and family to be able to keep up on Facebook with how the race is progressing. These are just a few of the tasks necessary for a meaningful, memorable, rigorous, high-quality event.
The first gathering for the runners is G2G check-in. Organizers Colin and Tess Geddes invite the community to come to the Kane County Visitor Center to welcome the G2G entrants as they go through the rigorous backpack and medical check this Friday, September 22, starting around 12 Noon and ending by 4 p.m. Dixie Brunner will emcee the event!
G2G runners started arriving in Kanab last Friday. Give them a friendly wave when you see them, as you certainly will. They’ll be those not-so-incognito slim people running about town. Dirk Diemont arrived from South Africa, and was caught on top of the K-Hill waving to Dave Baird as he flew by in his Cessna 182. “This is such a small town, and there are so many things to do!” Diemont exclaimed. He is an experienced runner who should do well in G2G.
Diemont is one of 120 runners this year who hail from 26 countries. Ages range from 20 to 76. They descend on Kanab by car, shuttle, plane and motorcycle. They are facing a seven-day stage race that is self-supported – or as Brian Bartaby from the UK says: “That means not only will I be running (or running, walking and crawling), but I will be carrying everything I need to support myself – all my kit, food for seven days, sleeping gear and emergency equipment.”
This year, 14 G2G alumni are returning, including Paul Grimm, who was one of Kanab’s scholarship recipients last year. He trained a bit with Tara Timpson, this year’s local contestant and he says, “She’s ready!”
The oldest competitors are a USA husband and wife team – James Wright, 76, and Laurel Wright, 65. Impressive! The Maylins (New Zealand) and the Hulls (Austrailia) are two other couples who’ll be going the distance together.
There will be a large contingent from France. Marjorie Casse (G2G participant from Belgium in 2014 who now lives in Kanab and is the co-owner of the Kanab Creek Bakery) is looking forward to welcoming G2G participants to enjoy fabulous French baguettes, croissants and many other authentic tasty foods.
Many local businesses are gearing up for the event, providing lodging, selling supplies and feeding hungry runners before and after the race. The G2G “goodie bag” for the runners includes discount coupons for several local businesses.
If you would like to see the race in action, be at the pet cemetery at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary next Tuesday, September 26 in the afternoon. The leaders will likely go by around 2 or 3 p.m. Some may be as late as 8 or 9 p.m. They will have already run the length of a marathon (26 miles), and will have that much again to go before the “long stage” is finished. It is an inspiration to see their stamina and determination as they pass by.
So give a Kanab “howdy” and a hug or two to our fabulous G2G guests this week!