2016 is the fifth year for Grand to Grand Ultra (G2G). G2G is a six stage, self-supported race (that means runners need to carry all their belongings and food on their backs) over seven days, covering varied terrain around the Kanab area. It has been described as the “finest stage footrace on the American continent,” “world class” and “one of the most beautiful and difficult ultra marathons in the world.”

This year, we’ll see over 140 contestants from 22 countries, ranging in age from 27 to 63.

Kanab residents Vince Vincent and Paul Grimm were selected by Colin and Tess Geddes, co-founders of G2G, to be the local recipients of scholarships to participate in this year’s competition. Vincent and Grimm have been working diligently, both individually and at times together, to get in condition for the grueling race that covers 170 miles in remote areas around Kanab.

Paul Grimm feels very lucky to be picked for G2G. “I see training and completion of this event as another opportunity to discover what I’m capable of doing in the outdoors.“ He describes himself as “an outdoor explorer and adventure seeker, in love with nature and on a personal mission to constantly see what is over the next mountain range, inside the next canyon, or around the next turn in the trail.”

He was in his early 40s when he realized what he wanted to be when he grew up. Grimm values more in life than making money and paying bills. “I quit a high-stress job to seek out a simpler, more fulfilling existence.” He says with a twinkle in his eye that he now works for “Smokey Bear at the U.S. Forest Service in the Center of the Universe, just over the UT/AZ border in Fredonia. I am very lucky to be a part of that family, working in an amazing place, sharing my knowledge of the outdoors with tourists and adventure seekers that enjoy getting off the beaten path.”

With a name like Grimm, he has fun playing with his name as he writes of his adventures using the pen name “Exploring Grimm Reaper.” And indeed, he has had some challenges…like running the Badwater 135. Twice!

Vince Vincent ran his first marathon in 1991, but says, “It has only been in the last few years that I found myself truly enjoying running, not merely running for health. Running gives me an opportunity to start or end the day feeling like I did something good for me. “ 

Vincent says that because he likes to eat like a pig, he runs like an animal. He wants to encourage others to get more active. His advice is to, “Just do what you can and feel good for it. It’s not a contest. You will not be able to run a mile if you don’t walk a mile first.”

Vincent and his wife Sara are empty nesters with seven children. He’s very clear that “Sara is the most wonderful woman in the world.” He admits he was hesitant to tell Sara that he’d applied for the G2G scholarship. When he was selected, he waited a few days before telling her. “She didn’t turn cartwheels, but she is fully on board. She puts up with all the time and effort it takes for me to train for runs. She tolerates stinky clothes on the floor, and does a fantastic job taking care of my feet. She is at the finish line of most all my races, cheering me on.”

One of Vincent’s running highlights was his completion of the Great Wall of China Marathon in 2014. It is rated one of the five most difficult marathons. Sara was right there with him.

Will Vincent and Grimm be ready? You’ve probably seen them around town riding their bikes or running with their backpacks on. They both intend to be ready, and make us proud. Give them a thumbs up if you see them.