Grand to Grand Ultra directors Colin and Tess Geddes have thrilled two local people – Deena Farmer and Pete Daw – winners of the G2G 2019 scholarships for Kane County residents.

Deena Farmer’s strength and love is power hiking,  “…fastpacking long distances (20-30 miles a day) every opportunity I get and in all seasons,” she says.  Farmer is used to carrying a 40-pound backpack. She says, “I’m a passionate desert backpacker who runs little. I’ll need to work on running with a pack. The bouncing bugs me.”

Pete Daw has fallen in love with distance running. He started running 10 years ago, progressed to the marathon level, and thought he’d be done by then – that a marathon was the ultimate. But he continued to seek challenges. “I got sucked into ultrarunning five years ago.”

Today, he particularly likes 24-hour races and has exceeded traversing 100 miles in such events. He’s looking for the next challenge – like standing at the starting line of a seven-day, self-supported stage race and not knowing what will happen. He likes the draw of the unknown.

Both Farmer and Daw are determined to work hard to improve their skills so they can proudly finish G2G. They both feel lucky to have been chosen, and say they wouldn’t be in a position to compete in G2G any time soon on their own dime. Farmer says she dreamed of running in G2G since first learning about it a few years ago, but felt it was out of her reach financially. “It seemed like it could only ever be just a dream. And now, I’m going to do it! I’m so lucky!” 

Farmer has always liked a challenge. She joined the Army Reserve right after high school. “When I was in basic training, I had so much fun! I loved the obstacle course.” (How many people do you know who say that?) She started hiking in the Wasatch Mountains when she and her husband Chuck lived in Salt Lake City and raised their two daughters. She wanted to hike longer and faster and began to hike weekends in Moab.  

When their youngest child had finished high school and they no longer had to worry about disrupting her schooling, Chuck took a job with Shamrock as the Kanab area’s sales rep. “This is our ‘last’ move,” Farmer says. “We have lived many places, but now that our daughters are on their own, we chose the best place for us. We love southern Utah!”

Farmer has hiked the rim-to-rim-to-rim at the Grand Canyon several times. She likes to keep challenging herself. She is pleased that she hiked 345 miles of the 788-mile Arizona Trail. “I learned so much about myself and my skills,” she said. She hopes one day to be able to through-hike the entire 788-mile trail… to prove to herself that she can do it.

Daw is from Cleveland, Ohio. He had been working as a vocational guidance counselor for people with disabilities. After 10 years, he decided to pursue his passion of working with animals, and took a job at a veterinary hospital. Last summer, he accepted a job offer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a dream come true. He feels so fortunate.

Daw wants to know what he’s capable of. “The worst time of my life was 60 miles into a 100-mile, 24-hour race. I was emotionally, physically and psychologically spent – yet I was still able to pick myself up and finish. That is a lesson that I carry to other areas of my life.” 

Daw says, “That I’ve been given this opportunity is pretty awesome. I’m really looking forward to it. I want to finish, and finish strong.”

You can bet both Farmer and Daw will cross that G2G finish line next September. Luck seems to follow hard work, dedication and passion.