Its on almost every ultrarunners to-do list the ever- challenging rim-to-rim-to-rim run across the Grand Canyon.
Spanning almost 50 miles round trip with 11,000 feet of elevation gain, it is a leg-pounding, lung-busting endurance event that draws hundreds of runners to this natural wonder each year.
After two experiences running down to the river and back, area runners Jamie Kouse and Robin Halloran decided this year they would attempt the rim-to-rim-to- rim adventure.
My first rim-to-rim experience was absolutely incredible and far and above one of the most challenging runs I have ever done, Kouse said.
Halloran echoed that sentiment:.
Not having a support system as you would in an organized run or race made me nervous and a little anxious; we were totally responsible for ourselves and each other.
My sister Dot Helling, who was visiting me from Vermont, is a veteran ultrarunner who has done four rim-to-rim runs, her first in 1989.
She came back this year after a four-year hiatus to run down and back after a knee injury and partial knee replacement laid her up for a few years.
I wasnt sure how it would go especially the downhills so I was very cautious, Helling said.
We chose to run down the Bright Angel Trail as it is a more gradual descent and come back up via South Kaibab.
Also joining us for the weekend were Durangoans Karen Rudolph and Connie Wian on what turned out to be perfect fall weather for a run in the Grand Canyon.
Wian, who has backpacked and camped in the canyon many times, really enjoyed running it for the second time this year, her favorite section being from Indian Springs down to the river.
Id really like to come back and do rim to rim to rim, so maybe I will have to run all winter instead of letting the weather stop me, Wian said.
Rudolph has run the canyon three times and also has spent time backpacking and camping there over the years.
One of the things that is neat about running the canyon is the people you meet. Everyone is friendly, and you stop to take pictures of people you dont even know, Rudolph said.
This was my fifth running of the canyon and fourth time from rim to river having done rim to rim back in 2007.
Although I love the South Rim, my favorite section is on the North Rim where there are sheer cliffs alongside you and the trail winds down gradually through a very smooth and runable section.
Asked if they would attempt this feat again, both Halloran and Kouse said it was too soon to say.
Although, Robin said, If Jamie really wanted to ... I probably would.
As for Wian, Ill have to check back with her regularly this winter to see how her training is going or join her and possibly do it again myself.
For runners, there is always the next challenge waiting on the horizon to keep us motivated especially during those long cold winter months.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.