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Then it was really soft sand dunes, nearly five miles of these as the light faded; running by moonlight was simply amazing. Some really rough cross country next with many scratches and falls and finally uphill on soft sand to camp. Finished very cold, just before midnight and first lady on this stage, this lead was enough to take me through to the end as the first female. Day three was over 14 hours of running for me and was fourth person overall today, a big leap from 14th on the first day.


Day 4


A rest day while the other runners were still finishing. The camp was stunning, on a high spot looking towards Zion Canyon where we were headed. Felt a bit groggy in the morning but perked up by the afternoon and spent most of the day trying to eat food, probably ate less than 500 calories on Day 2. Will figure out my total intake later.


Day 5


The route just continued to get more amazing by the day, just under 26 miles today. Into the bottom of the canyon and through a tunnel and up a ravine. Up yet more very soft sand to the finish.


Day 6


Almost 26 miles again today, but even more fantastic scenery. Slot canyons today, weaving between very narrow slabs of rock right at the base of the canyon, occasionally ladders were needed to scale the base of the canyon. Looking


up was amazing seeing the depth of the rocks. I felt very privileged to be here - a very special experience. After this was a rocky river bed and then a steep climb out to hit gravel roads to camp.


Day 7


This was a short 9 miles all uphill to finish with. An early start for the slower runners, morning call was 4:30am and normal 8am start for the faster runners so we could catch the bus back to Las Vegas at midday. The climb was hard with altitude finishing around 10,000ft now and about two hours of running for me. The finish emerged from the trees and crossing the line provided breathtaking views looking over rock formations and back towards the north rim of the canyon where we started.


Postscript


This event was amazing and the reason I signed up, it was a fantastic adventure of spi- ders, snakes, sand and super stunning scenery. Many people get to see the Grand Canyon, but how many will ever go into the canyon and run through it and get to see what we saw. An unforgettable experience. The freedom of camping for a week away from technology and phones. It was wonderful to get back to basics, simply water provided by the organisers along with tents and unbelievably portaloos! I switched my phone off at Manchester and never switched it on again until returning back to the UK. A week I will remember fondly for many years to come.


NORTHERN RUNNING EGUIDE 23


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