Tara Timpson, a busy veterinarian, is up at 4 a.m. to get some miles in before work. Sometimes she gets some miles in at work during lunch. Sometimes if she doesn’t have to work late (“I’m so sorry I missed our SUN interview this evening. Emergency surgery!”), she can get some miles in. She hopes to soon be able to start working on some longer runs. To Timpson, a short run is 12-15 miles. But she knows that with Grand to Grand (G2G) footrace, she’ll be doing twice that distance most days of the seven-day event.

Timpson said, “I spend all of my free time training and love it! I have been able to see so many new places around Kanab. One training destination is the Kaibab because it is higher and cooler. There are many old logging roads and trails to explore. Plus, I’m getting the extra conditioning at a higher elevation. I feel good and really enjoy the birds, deer and other things I see. Sometimes it feels transcendent.”

She is training with a 20-25 pound backpack. “I admit that mostly I am fast walking, especially on the uphill. But I run when on level ground or when going downhill,” says Timpson. Her goal is to keep an average four mph pace. Soon, she will start training around the sand dunes.

“The heat and humidity the last few months have been quite a challenge.” But Timpson sees the positive side. “I have the added benefit of being acclimatized to it. Many other contestants may not have that opportunity.”

Josh Baird, her husband, has been an invaluable training assistant. He goes with her on some of the shorter runs; and on the longer runs, he drives and waits, drives and waits. “We do it that way for safety because it is so remote around here with no cell service and rarely anyone around. Sometimes Josh does some art while waiting. He’s incredibly supportive.”

Raven Chiong, the first G2G contestant from Best Friends (Timpson will be the fourth), has been a great help, along with locals Mike McTeer and Vince Vincent, both G2G veterans. Lynne Hewett, two-time past G2G participant from Australia who now lives in Kanab, has also been a big help and mentor to Timpson.

Timpson is “still in the R&D mode” relative to food. She is a vegan, and is still doing research on high calorie balanced vegan meals. She feels strong and continues to refine what works best for her nutritionally. Of more concern is the mental stamina she knows it takes to keep going if things get challenging.

She’s looked online at the G2G line-up so far. Noting the oldest contestants – a husband/wife team (76 and 63) – Timpson mused, “If they can do it, I can!” With less than two months to go, Timpson is pumped.

You can see the international roster of this year’s participants by looking at www.g2gultra. You can see some of them as they pass through Best Friends Animal Sanctuary beginning the afternoon of Tuesday, September 26.

If you want to have fun helping prepare goodie bags and trail markers or sanitizing water containers (to mention just a few small tasks), contact the Kane County Events and Volunteer Center at 435-644-3696.