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My Running Bucket List: Round 3

I am going to consider this my European tour. I’ve never been to Europe, so many destinations sound appealing for one reason or another. I’d love the opportunity to live overseas for some length of time as well, which would allow me to really do some exploring. However, right now that isn’t so much an option. I can certainly aspire to several significant races in Europe, however. I know there are many amazing European marathons and ultramarathons that I’ve never even heard of, but that is true of destinations all around the world, right? My bucket list is obviously growing much faster than I can cross races and destinations off of it, but that’s what it’s there for, so here are my big European three!

Dublin Marathon– I’ve wanted to travel to Ireland since I was very young, and tour the countryside, perhaps even tracking down some distant relatives. Clearly this race simply needs to be run. I can think of no better way to kick off a trip to Europe and tour Dublin by foot at the same time. You can bet I’ll be taking note of each and every interesting pub for future post-race hydration, Guinness-style!


Athens Marathon– I’ve always been a huge history nerd, so the significance of this race is very appealing to me. I have no doubt that I will end up touring every square meter of Athens when I finally make my way there, so tracing the historic first marathon route seems like an obvious choice!


London Marathon-  As one of the world marathon majors, I hope to be able to enter this race at some point in my life. Once I decide to invest the money in a ticket to the UK, I’ll have to start entering the lottery and keeping my fingers crossed, but I have a feeling the experience will make it well worth it!

Runners cross Tower Bridge during the 2008 Flora London Marathon.

These are clearly three very large and quite popular marathons, so in some ways, they may seem like obvious choices. In addition to the enjoyment that will no doubt come with running them, I’m also hopeful that they will help plug me into the local running communities in those countries, and open other running doors for me as well.

If you’ve run any races overseas that you are particularly fond of, I’d love to hear about them!

My Running Bucket List: Round 2

The Comrades Marathon has a lot of built-in organizational appeal, which seems important to me if I’m going to visit a country I’m not all that familiar with in the first place. The more I think about it, the more I realize that my running bucket list ambitions fall into two categories: 1) organized races, and 2) natural endurance running accomplishments. The desire to tackle the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (R2R2R) run would fall into the second category. As I’ve read more ultrarunning blogs, forums, webpages, and books, it has become increasingly clear that the R2R2R is a must-do for ultrarunners. Obviously I need to experience this run!

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

A brief description (to hook you, of course!):

“The Grand Canyon is almost perfectly set up for ultra runners. The classic rim-to-rim-to-rim double-crossing is between 41 and 48 miles long, depending on the route. It’s all trail, has fantastic scenery, and
only has two hills! Mid-pack runners can expect to be able to run almost the entire run in daylight during the long days of late spring.

The scenery on this run is like nowhere else. You’ll see vast vistas of the red-rock canyon from every turn in the trail. There are places where it almost doesn’t seem possible that the trail could have been cut into
the canyon wall. And on the final ascent on either side, the lip of the canyon’s rim seems interminably far away and doesn’t seem to get much closer very fast, despite how hard you are working. The rim-to-rim-
to-rim is a demanding but approachable run, and worth every bit of effort it takes to get to the Grand Canyon.”



A few points to highlight as I contemplate this experience:

Elevation: I’ve mentioned my difficulty with elevation training in Iowa before, and running R2R2R would involve the most intense elevation changes I’ve ever experienced. In the first 7 miles, you descend 4,400 feet, and there is 10,550 feet of total elevation change each way! Perhaps I should train with weights on my ankles?!

Should a route look like that?

Should a route look like that?

Hydration: The weather can change pretty quickly in the Grand Canyon, so deciding how much water to carry will be important. There do seem to be several places to refill water bottles, but I’ll still need enough to stay properly hydrated between stops. I am guessing that investing in a quality hydration pack built for ultrarunning will become crucial.

Company: Although I generally enjoy my solo training runs, I’m not sure I want to venture out on this 41.5 mile journey by myself. There will certainly be hikers along the way, and there are rest areas at each end, but it would be great to run with a friend or two and share the experience. Any takers?

Timing: I am going to need to schedule this run with weather and my work schedule in mind. Luckily, travel isn’t nearly as expensive as a ticket to South Africa, so I’m much more likely to be able to afford this adventure. Quite a few folks seem to indicate that Thanksgiving is a popular time to run R2R2R, which would actually work out rather well with my normal academic schedule.

This item on my bucket list seems much more within reach than many others I have floating around in the back of my head. This is either excellent news or very dangerous, depending on who you ask! Either way, I’ve never been the Grand Canyon, and I can’t think of a more amazing way to see it than to experience the R2R2R run. So, who’s with me? 🙂

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