SUU team takes first in Grand to Grand Race

Published: October 17, 2018 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 3 minutes

Wyatt, Heyborne, and Oh placed first in Grand to Grand team divisionPlacing first in the team division, Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt and professors William Heyborne and Johnny Oh are back from running the Grand to Grand Ultra Marathon. Over the course of six stages, the SUU for Hope team traveled a total of 170 miles and more than 400,000 steps, with runners from 22 countries.

Starting at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the ultramarathon included seven days of traveling through the high desert, slot canyons, national forests and some of the most remote country in the United States. Stages varied in distance from 8 miles to 53 miles and overnight camps were built along the way. The Grand to Grand Ultra race is the adventure of a lifetime and the first self-supported stage footrace ever to take place in the U.S., meaning that each racer was responsible to carry all equipment, clothing, and food necessary for the seven days.

“I hope I get the chance to do another race like this again,” said Wyatt. “I experienced everything from very humbling moments to exhilarating personal victories. I learned a great deal over the course of 170 miles with my teammates and our new friends from around the world. Mostly, I was reminded that we can do more than we think possible.”

Running for the future Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Hope, the SUU for Hope team aimed to raise awareness and support for the project. As a commitment to the retention and graduation of SUU students, the center will provide a high-quality facility offering on-campus child care and parent and family support. To date, SUU has raised about $1.3 million for the center.

“I want to let students with children, who need to get an education, find the internal strength (and help from us) to finish school and get good jobs,” said Wyatt. “Running 170 miles, mostly in sand, carrying everything we need to survive on our backs was difficult. But it doesn’t compare with the day-to-day effort it takes for a mother, with small children, to take care of them while pushing forward to complete a degree.”

“While it was among the most difficult things I have ever done physically, it was also one of the most rewarding,”  recounted Heyborne, associate professor of biology at SUU. “I'm so grateful to my colleagues Scott and Johnny, for their sense of adventure, great attitudes, and grit. And we are so grateful to the sponsors for their commitment to the soon to be developed child care center on our campus. This will be a great resource for young parents seeking an education here at SUU.”

SUU students, under the direction of Professor of Communication Jon Smith, followed the team throughout the week-long adventure and are producing a documentary highlighting the journey. “Running for Hope” will premiere December 3 at 7 p.m. in SUU’s Great Hall. The event will include question and answer sessions with the runners, SUU’s production crew, and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Child and Family Development Center steering committee.

Learn more about the Child and Family Development Center or donate to the project.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Communication President Child Care Center

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