ooking at the finish pictures of the few people who have managed to run from one rim of the Gran Canyon to the other and back, make you realize how hard this challenge is.
They all look dehydrated and depleted of all their energies. The 42 miles of rocky terrain, the hot temperatures and the 24,800 feet (7600 meters) of steep ascent and descent take a toll on your body and spirit.

But they all share one thing: the smile of having completed an extraordinary feat. This is the kind of smile I seek.
But have I bitten off more that I can chew?

I believe that what we call “coincidences” are ways of the “Universe” or “fate” or “ourselves” to show us a path or an opportunity. Saying that in another way, or Richard Bach’s way, “Everyone, every moment in your life, is there because you attracted to yourself”. So far, all the choices I made following true “coincidences” and long-lasting “gut feelings” have changed my life, made me a better person and gave me an immense satisfaction, sometimes even money and love.

This is a long-winded way to say that when in September 2011 I picked up Runner’s World magazine, on my way to holiday in the US – which included a trip to the Grand Canyon – and I read an article about an accomplished runner completing the Rim to Rim to Rim on his third attempt, a bell started to ring in my brain.

Five days later I was at the Grand Canyon, admiring its immensity and looking out to the other side thinking how great and how hard it must be to run to the other side. And then run back??? That’s madness! How cool is that!

I parked the thought for a while, in my list of top 5 running adventures to do.
Grand Canyon elevation chart

Then, at the end of my 20 marathons in Italy I was discussing with my dear friend Terence the idea of, one day, run the Copper Canyon Ultra. He asked me if I would ever considered and, without even thinking about it, almost automatically, I replied “Yes! If you agree to do the Grand Canyon RIM to RIM to RIM with me during the same trip!”

We shook hands and laughed about it.

“Coincidences” got my friend Terence moving to San Francisco, Lidia and I thinking to have another holiday in the US. The Copper Canyon Ultra was brought up in the conversation so we registered and the Grand Canyon RIM to RIM to RIM is now back on the table!

We have not yet started the planning of the run but for what I read and see from different videos (see above) and articles of people that have done it before, all going well it should take us between around 10 hours and we may need to start early in the morning to ensure we avoid the heat of the day.

Nutrition and hydration would be particularly tricky as there are no many opportunities for water and to get additional food if you run out of juice during the run. There are some trails defined but I do not expect them to be sign posted all the time so we will need to use our best navigational skills (something I am known for.. not!) .

Running with a dear friend, in a spectacular place, with a big element of adventure is the perfect combination for building a memory that will certainly last forever. I can’t wait for it!