My good friend of many years Keevin Blue organized this trip. When he mentioned this run through the canyon I didn't hesitate to say yes. I had planned on a bike packing race event the weekend before the R2R2R but scratched that off of the schedule as this seemed like a lifetime chance to do this run with my buddy Keevin.
So with this run on the schedule I started training with serious miles early on in the summer. The biking took a back seat to a degree as this run is a serious run if you want to make it out of the canyon in one day. It was as hard as I expected and some.
The morning came for the run and laura dropped all of us off at the South Kaibab TH. It was myself, Keevin, Dan, Jeff, Brian and Brian, Wayne, Ryan and Amber, Barry and two others I can't recall their names. They opted for a shorter run. Smart move. Lol.
We started our run at 5:08 am. I was nervous to say the least running along with some true ultra trail runners. We made quick work of the descent down the South Kaibab trail crossing the first bridge well under two hours and with 7 miles covered. The trail was muddy and slick from the rain on Friday.
The views were amazing and I was realizing the enormity of the canyon. Once we all arrived at Phantom Ranch the group started to splinter. I ran with Keevin along the next section until we arrived at Cottonwood campground where there was water. I filled up and quickly got back on the trail. I was only 13 ish miles into the run. From hereon I was pretty much by myself to the top of the North Kaibab trail. I arrived at the North rim a little after 11am. Pretty good time in my eyes. I was fortunate enough to get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a sag support crew for some other runners. Very awesome. I hustled oo down the trail seeing some others from our group. I saw Keevin coming up and told him I would wait at the pumphouse 2 miles down the trail for him. The trail conditions up on the north side were a bit muddy but not as bad as I thought they would be with all of the rain from Friday. Lots of donkey crap mixed in the mud.
Keevin and I teamed up for the run down and Bsrry caught up as well. With some of the crew in front of us and some behind us I was feeling good. The descent down the North rim was steep. The legs were taking a beating. After another 7 miles of a good tempo we arrived back at Cottonwood campground at 1.20 pm. I was able to run with a guy out of Boulder for a few miles as well going back down. I watered up and headed back out quickly while Barry, Keevin, Amber and Ryan were still refueling etc. I was alone until I caught two more runners from our group and I came into Phantom Ranch somewhere around 3pm. The rain had been coming down fairly hard and I was soaked. I didn't bother putting my rain jacket on either. It was warm enough. I found the other front runners in our group taking shelter and drinking some beverages. I stopped for a minute and ran out wanting to get to the south rim before dark. Some of the others caught up and we crossed the bridge over the mighty Colorado river. It was raging.
Only 9ish miles to the top of Bright Angel TH. I was thinking 3 hours would be good to cover this section. I was with Brian Blair for the first few miles going up but his pace was crushing me even though we were mostly fast hiking but his stride is longer than mine. Dan Lehnberg caught back up and him and Brian pushed on. I was by myself again for a few more miles coming into Indian Gardens with roughly 4 miles to go. I caught sight of Dan and Brian and this kept me motivated to keep on the gas. I caught up to Brian as he and some others helped a hiker that was in bad shape. He actually helped carry the guy the last two miles to the top. I pushed on topping out at 6.04 pm at the Bright Angel TH. Outstanding! What a fucking day that was!
Gear used: Altra Olympus running shoes. Osprey Rev pack.