16.25 in 2:04 around Liberty Park.
This whole run was a struggle. I might have to re-think my plans to run a marathon in a couple weeks and go for the 10k or the half.
I strongly object to a letter to the editor in my new issue of Outside magazine that arrived yesterday. The letter is from a woman named Marjorie Woodruff from Grand Canyon Village, AZ. Based on the hometown and the info she references, I assume she works for the National Park Service. Her letter concerns the recent crackdown by the NPS on R2R and R2R2R runners in the Grand Canyon. Here's what she writes...
On May 18, a thousand such runners came through. These people do not yield to mules or uphill hikers. They force elderly hikers and children off the trail. They leave their trash along the trail and in the bathrooms. This is the kind of nonsense I go hiking to avoid.
What a load of BS!
First of all, I am a veteran of two R2R2R runs in the Grand Canyon. I did it in 2010 with Jon and Cody and in 2011 with Steve Anderson. I'm skeptical of her claim that a thousand runners attempted this in a single day. Unless it was a one-time thing and some sort of semi-organized activity. I think I met a combined total of maybe 15 total fellow R2R2R runners in my two efforts. How would they even know this to begin with? You don't check in with anyone before setting out. The first time I did it I don't think I even encountered a ranger along the way.
Secondly, I object to her gross generalizations and her frequent use of "they". For every one person who is attempting a R2R2R run, I bet there are several hundred hikers in the Grand Canyon. Hikers and runners often carry the same sort of stuff. How can she tell whether trash was left by a hiker or a runner? Clearly, hiking is an activity she engages in and approves of, and running is not. I know there are exceptions, but I never left a shred of garbage along the trail and I've never met a trail runner who was in to trashing our national parks. Of the thousands of hikers and backpackers who use the trails, how many of them need to leave some trash behind before I can lump them all together into one group and ban their activity?
I know that in my two crossings I spent a considerable amount of time yielding to mules and long lines of Japanese tourists. When it comes to yielding to "uphill hikers", sometimes I yielded to them, sometimes they yielded to me. But there was never a problem, we worked it out without any conflict. I'm not even sure why this is an issue as most of the time the trails are plenty wide enough to accommodate both of us.
Finally, these are public lands and it is the responsibility for the National Park Service to manage them effectively. I get that. What I don't get is why this one particular activity is a problem. From a safety standpoint, I bet there are many more injuries and rescues of hikers than there are of R2R2R runners. I can't even begin to list all the stupid, damaging, and destructive things I've seen people do in national parks over the years that rangers don't seem to have a problem with.
They need to either keep it legal to run in the Grand Canyon or make it illegal (although I don't know how you outlaw running in a national park). But they need to stop all this passive aggressive crap.