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Lady Of The Canyon


Teesside’s Sharon Gayter takes on the toughest challenge of her ultra marathon career when she attempts the torturious 166 miles of a Grand Canyon 7 day ultra ...


Day 1


The first stage was 31 miles, hard because the pack was at its heaviest with seven days worth of dehydrated food and all the other essentials that go along with a self supported ultra. The camp was amazing, on the edge of the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Water was provided roughly every 10km. The first part was fast going along gravel tracks, can't say it was a highlight but a taranchula plod- ded across the path in front of me, hope to never see one again!


Then across some rough country - bushes and VERY sharp cactii. Had to stop a couple of times to take shoes off and remove nee- dles from toes! More cross country of rough stones and undulations to finish. My shoul- ders were killing me by the time after seven


Long sunny days are sure to get runners thinking outside the box and ditching their ‘close to home’ runs for something more adventurous.


NORTHERN RUNNING EGUIDE 22


hours later (only had time for three weeks training with the pack) and had taken asthma pumps a few times as it was quite high in altitude and very dusty.


Day 2


28 miles logged, starting with a long steep climb, then following tags in trees to the next checkpoint which was more undulating now. Had two heavy falls on the same right knee that needed some patching up. The scenery was


much better today and after the trees came some gravel tracks, then some more undula- tions and steep ravines to cross, finishing with some soft sand tracks. Over seven hours running again.


Day 3


A long stage, 47 miles and the most spectac- ular day so far. There was always something superb to look at in this constantly moving event. The faster runners started an hour later than the rest of the field and I was in the top 11 to start after 9am. The terrain con- stantly changed. Initially some hard climbing, then constant sharp undulations which was energy zapping, but the views were worth it. Then almost rock climbing where I needed a helping hand when the foot holds ran out! A nice downhill sandy track to checkpoint 4 and then Cave Canyon and snakes! Scenic but scary and only one snake encountered by me.


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