“Get outside” is the advice from Tara Timpson, the local 2017 Grand to Grand Ultra scholarship recipient. “Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air, clean water, and landscape that will blow you away – every time,” Timpson says.

Recent research compiled in a book titled, Nature Fix, tells us that even small amounts of outside time and exposure to the natural world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. Timpson has enjoyed being outdoors since childhood and sees the Grand to Grand Ultra as a chance to test the limits of her physical endurance.

Timpson was only 12 when she saw an article in a National Geographic about the Appalachian Trail, a 2200-mile trail from Georgia to Maine.  She told her mom, “Someday I’m going to hike that trail!”  Her mom’s response was sort of  “Ok, whatever.”  At age 20, Timpson did it! It took five and a half months. Much of the distance she covered with her sister by her side.

Timpson met her husband, Josh Baird, at Utah State University in an Outdoor Recreation Department Desert Backpacking class. She planned to become a veterinarian; he planned to be an artist. After marriage and a stint in Oregon finishing their schooling and beginning their careers, they longed for Utah…the clear blue skies, bright sun, and “a little less green.”

They relocated to Kanab 11 years ago. “We love it here. Where else can you go out your front door and within 10 minutes be hiking in such a spectacular backdrop!” The outdoors continues to inspire them.

Timpson is fairly new to running. It was 2010 when she ran her first half marathon. In 2011 she volunteered to help at an aid station for the Wasatch 100, an ultra marathon. She got hooked! Since then, she’s wanted to run. Her first marathon (the Huff to Bluff – from Blanding to Bluff) was in 2012. She has run the North Rim 25K and the Capitol Reef 50K. Recently, she and Josh ran the Monument Valley Half-marathon together.

Timpson smiles as she reflects on her active life. She says that her friends have noted every 10 years she does something drastic.  First, the Appalachian Trail at age 20.  At 30, she and Josh hiked the John Muir Trail, a 211-mile trek from the Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mt. Whitney.

And this year, having just turned 40, Timpson is thrilled that she was chosen for the challenge of a lifetime – the 170-mile self-supported stage race, Grand to Grand Ultra  “… right here in my own back yard.”

Is Timpson ready to do it?  She is unquestioning about that. “If I can hike 2,200 miles carrying a backpack, I can do 170 miles. Yes, it will be tough, it is not easy to find the time to train, but I plan to finish, uninjured.”