Race Review: 2015 UA Grand Canyon 58K Ultramarathon

The Ultra-Adventures Ultramarathons are tough. Even amongst ultra-runners, Ultra Adventures races are known to be difficult.

In 2015, mother nature decided she wanted to join the fun and dumped a bunch of snow on the race course just to make things more interesting, since in the previous year the temperatures exceeded 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The heavy amounts of snow, ice, and rain caused a last-minute change in plans, as the shuttle busses were unable to get runners to the start points. So, at the last minute, courses were changed to out and backs.

There were consequences, however, as the course markings at a critical juncture for the 50km runners went missing…  and nearly all (if not all) of the 50km runners ran the wrong course – turning our 50km ultra into a 58km ultra. Although 5 miles might not seem like much, it is when you’ve trained for 31 miles, and those last 5 miles can be a killer. Nearly 12 runners DNF’d, and  although it may not have been the distance alone, I wouldn’t be surprised if the distance didn’t contribute.

The snow also caused an Aid station truck to get stuck in the mud causing one aid station to be unmanned on the course. It was a tough day for everyone, but Ultra Adventures races are about toughness. You don’t finish unless you’re tough. It’s not just a right of passage; It’s a point of pride.

Of course, I made the mistake of using an older, heavier pair of shoes for the race because of the snow, but this turned into a huge problem with my shins. The long, steady downward course caused me the worst shin-splints of my slow running career, and the walk to the finish was miserable for me (but the scenery was great).

My sub-8 hour journey turned into a 10+ hour slog in mud which caused me to dig deeper into my kit bag than I have in a long, long time. I’ll be recovering for a few weeks!

For on-the-course commentary, check out the video below.

 Things go wrong in trail races. It’s the nature of the beast and what makes racing that much more fun.




Overall: 42/59 (12 DNF)

AG (40-49): 6/15